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King Buffet in Salinas

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My parents were hot to try the new King Buffet in Valley Center which opened yesterday. It's owned by the same folks who opened Sakura on the north side of town earlier this year (link below). As a grand opening special, the lunch price for seniors is $5 vs. $6.59 as the usual adult price. And, that includes a fountain drink or hot tea, whereas there's a separate charge at Sakura.

Overall, I'd say that the selection may be larger (150 items) but far less interesting than the original. No hijiki salad, surimi instead of crab, few dim sum items, no Japanese octopus, etc. And, the cooking is less skilled and lacks attention to seasoning and texture.

Few items were marked, so my description/name of the dishes may vary. Here's a brief run-down of the things tried today:

BELOW AVERAGE -
Teriyaki chicken skewers
Chow mein
Fried rice
Mac and cheese
Meatballs in marinara
Macaroni salad
Surimi salad
Potstickers
Buffalo wings
Sweet and sour chicken
Mei fun
Fried fish fritters
Fried shrimp
French fries
Ham
Fried sesame balls
Almond cookies
Water melon

AVERAGE -
Napa cabbage kimchee
Various maki sushi
Roast chicken
Baby octopus stir-fry
Mongolian barbecue
Panko-crusted fried zucchini
Sweet and sour shrimp
Kung pao chicken
Mapo tofu
Chicken tenders
Cucumber and red pepper salad
Coconut macaroon
Bing cherries
Cantaloupe and honeydew melon

GOOD -
Seaweed and tofu soup
Mojarra
Spicy fried giant squid
Chicken and broccoli
Shrimp and cauliflower

EXCELLENT -
Green-lipped mussels in black bean sauce
Sauteed green beans with garlic

King Buffet
910 S. Main St.
Salinas
831-751-9888

Lunch at Sakura Seafood Buffet -
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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  1. Thanks Melanie for your detailed spot on review.

    Adding just a couple tidbits to her review - the place is huge! Definitely outranks its sister restaurant on the north side of town, but here size doesn't really make a difference.
    The small steady stream of customers that were there on my last two visits didn't even put a dent in its cavernous dining room.

    One more (imho) important bit, the place is clean--bus persons constantly picking up plates, cleaning tables and floors. The bathroom sparkled on every visit.

    "Average" bargain dining that fills your tummy, yet light on the budget. Good post-movie place to chow down (Maya Cinemas are about 5 min drive away).

    Not bad but for a bit more chump change go for Sakura.

    King Buffet Lunch 11:00am-3:30pm; Dinner 3:30pm-9:30pm.

    ** 1⁄2 out of 5

    1 Reply
    1. re: homeboy3

      Now I've heard some conflicting information saying that King and Sakura are not under common ownership. Any idea if that is true and they're competitors? Also noted that Sakura has dropped its price to the same level, and one can expect that the quality of its food will sink accordingly.