Pacific Seafood Buffet/Chandler
Just a couple of hundred yards north of Elliott Road, on the west edge of Az.Ave.
This is the next best thing for sushi and seafood since the now defunct Todai on Camelback. While the sushi variety is not near as extensive, it's every bit as good as I've had at ala-carte sushi venues. There's two chefs preparing it in small batches, fresh, as-needed. There's always a couple of tempura rolls, which are rare to find in a buffet setting.
There's all manner of Asian style seafood combos, plus the old tired stand-byes you find at most every Chinese buffet. Plus, prime-rib, short-ribs, spare-ribs, crab, baked fish and shrimp dishes, etc.
I've now been twice, during dinner, so I feel confident that it will not disappoint a HOUND, LOL. The last time I went, they had Peking Duck, and lightly battered frog-legs!
I'm actually in Pacific Seafood Buffet right now on a Sunday afternoon. First off, this place is an Asian buffet. The name of the place gives no indication of this. The dinner buffet is all day on Sunday at least and I just tried the sushi. There are about 10 different kinds of real sushi rolls (rolls with fish, not imitation stuff), and they're pretty good. The fish isn't as fresh as more upscale dedicated sushi places that I've been to, and it's a bit warmer than I'd like, but it's still good nonetheless. The tempura is also very good. I can't see a sushi connoisuer liking this place all that much though.
They also have: tripe salad, octopus salad, kimchi, jellyfish salad (could use more jellyfish and less lettuce), chunks of raw salmon with obvious fatty marbling, something like salty mackerel?
As for the hot plates:
Seafood: breaded and fried squid, steamed sole, baked salmon, giant broiled prawns that IMO were ruined because they are smothered in rich sweet mayonnaise-like sauce, mussels smothered in said sauce, shrimp smothered in said sauce, boiled littleneck clams (good), lightly breaded and fried frog legs, snow crab legs, blue crab claws (tiny), scallops with vermicelli,
Americanized Asian: they've got the normal stuff like pepper steak, crab rangoon, fried shrimp, americanized wonton soup, sweet and sour, egg drop, beef and broccoli
More authentic Asian: pork hocks, shu mai, roast ruck, grilled mackerel (salty!), chicken feet, spareribs, miso soup, fish ball soup, some kind of soup that I've tried but don't know the name of - it has what looks like dates in it.
There's also one of those grill things where you put raw ingredients onto a plate and they fry it up for you.
There are about 8 varieties of scoop ice cream, including chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, orange sorbet, and green tea.
Things I would have liked to see: oysters on the half shell, crayfish, less fried and more steamed stuff to taste natural flavors, more seaweed salad (currently only offered in the form of a roll). Definitely get rid of the mayonnaise sauce thing as it masks the flavor of the seafood and the intense flavor of the roe (the reddish mushy stuff in the heads of shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crabs, etc.)
This place is certainly quite, quite good by buffet standards, but average by made to order standards. It lacks purity of flavor and texture. For example, the steamed sole was average of flavor and a bit too soft and mushy of texture. At a made to order place you'd be getting something like a steamed snapper or cod with firmer flesh and a fresher taste of the sea. The littleneck clams and blue crabs here are also a bit soft and lack the taste of the sea (the Chinese word is "xian"). The miso soup lacks the intensity of flavor you'd get from a dedicated Japanese place.
I will compare this to Hong Kong Gourmet Buffet (in Mesa). The lunch price is about the same at both places, except Hong Kong Gourmet Buffet doesn't have sushi or seafood offerings at the lunch prices. I hear the other Hong Kong Gourmet is a bit more expensive, but has more selection.
Back to comparing lunch buffets.
Pacific Seafood Buffet has great service, and a much nicer facility. But like others have said, their food isn't that great. For $8, no drink, there is a pretty good sushi selection during lunch (which is quite decent). But the non-sushi items weren't anything impressive. I think the BBQ could have been good, but when I went, most of it had been sitting there for quite some time so it wasn't fresh. The non-seafood items (like chicken dishes) were not very good at all.
Hong Kong Gourment Buffet has your typical Chinese buffet during lunch. Even at dinner, their sushi selection pails in comparison to Pacific Seafood Buffet's lunch selection. Hong Kong Gourmet rarely has anything other than California rolls, and doesn't have "authentic" sushi.
So I'd say if you want to have a decent sushi buffet, go at lunch to Pacific. But if you're going for food other than sushi, you might want to try Hong Kong Gourmet. I would pass on dinner at Pacific because it costs more, and from my experience with lunch, I can't imagine their dishes will be very tasty (although the BBQ would probably be more fresh).
I've been to Hong Kong twice, and Pacific more times than I can count. IIRC, HK's price for dinner was $18 before drink, whereas PSB's is only $15 at dinner.
HK has HUGE roll menu, prepared to order with glaring tip jar. PSB has a smaller selection of rolls, done as-needed, included with your buffet.
IMO, PSB has a far larger variety of hot dishes. Plus, there's things you can't always count on. They had roasted quail there one evening. Yum! Thankfully, the frog legs and duck seem to be standards there now.
It is very much worth noting at this point that there are *two* Hong Kong Gourmet locations in town. As far as I know, the Mesa location does not have sushi and the selections aren't nearly as myriad as the ones at Pacific or the Phoenix HKG. I think both HKG locations are related; the one big clue I had was the Mongolian BBQ, where both ingredient lists were extremely similar.
Hong Kong Gourmet Buffet
4909 E Chandler Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85048
Hong Kong Gourmet
1744 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Finally hit Hong-Kong on Monday evening. The ambiance is far more up-scale, almost like you're not even IN a 'buffet' restaurant. The bar is right next to the food, so it's a short jaunt back to your stool, LOL.
As to seafood, they had a bit more sashimi out on the tables, and they had raw oysters. A minor step-up over Pacific in that respect. However, there's quite easily two or three TIMES the variety of hot-dish selection at Pacific, both seafood-based and 'standards' that you might expect.
HK has over FORTY roll-sushi items to choose from. You do have to wait for it to be made, with a gigantic tip-jar in full view for you to patronize. There were no tempura rolls in that selection that I could see. I much prefer having several items ready-to-grab at Pacific, while still tipping the sushi crew for anything you have made-to-order.
I will patronize it again, mostly for the ability to watch TV at the bar and have some chit-chat. However, my one trip was not enough to convince me to give up Pacific. With my iced-tea and tax, the ticket was a bit over $17..only $4 more than Pacific.
I agree HK is expensive for what you get. When HK first opened up they were less expensive and had much better food quality. I recently went in December after being gone for 5 years and the quality of food has gone down tremendously. The restaurant is no longer owned by Chinese it is currently owned by a Portuguese family. I don't think they can carry the same venue as a Chinese owned and operated restaurant. My family and most of my co-workers that have eaten there will not be going back.
A co-worker has told me repeatedly to go to Hong-Kong buffet. I guess now that I'll definitely have to give it a try.
You ARE right about the signage at Pacific, LOL. I had forgotten that.
As to the Crazy BUffet, I've only been there for lunch a few times. I would have to say that Pacific is far better.
I used to like Crazy Buffet but now I won't go there anymore. They are stingy with their crawfish. Last time I went there with my family, they wouldn't refill the crawfish after a couple trays. My brother went there about a year ago and was told by the manager he couldn't have anymore crawfish because he was eating too much of it. That took the "All you can eat" out of that restaurant. Well we found a better place with crawfish that has flavor and seasoning unlike Crazy buffet's cold crawfish. The place we go to a lot now is China Star on 42nd Avenue and Bell. We've been there many times and the service is excellent. The crawfish is definitely an All You Can Eat - too bad other Buffet restaurants don't practice the same thing.
I wasn't too impressed with Pacific. The food except the sushi wasn't much to write home about, and almost everything had no identifying sign or an obviously wrong sign. The hard-scoop green tea ice cream for dessert was a nice touch, though.
I vastly prefer Hong Kong Gourmet over on Chandler Blvd and 48th Street, in the same shopping center as Fogo e Brasa. All of their sushi items are prepared to order, and the items on the steam tables are surprisingly decent. As a bonus, it's one of the only buffets in town that has a full bar. I think dinner is around 16 dollars on weeknights.