Asia Buffet in Framingham?
So we were in the area and tried this for lunch yesterday. Saturday lunch buffet was $16.
Hot and sour soup was extremely thick and gloppy as if someone slipped with the corn starch. It was like paste!
Apps included tempura veggies which were good. Peking ravioli were doughy and bad, seemed like the packaged variety. Crab rangoon i didnt like either. They had Salt and Pepper shrimp with the heads/shells- they were ok but impossible to eat. Same for the shrimp on skewers which were 1 head on shrimp on a skewer, very hard to eat. I dont like eating the shells. Also had typical americanized apps boneless spare ribs, chicken fingers, egg roll, chicken wings.
Main courses were mostly various battered items in gloppy sauce. Crispy beef with some sort of sticky sauce, general gaus, lemon chicken, szechuan fish was the best of these it was basically general gaus fish... Also were a few grilled meat dishes. One was what they called house special short ribs and another was just sliced steak. Both were basically just grilled meat with not much of any flavor. One shrimp dish which was very plain small boiled shrimp with peas and carrots, green-giant shrimp?
They had some sort of shrimp/scallop quiche things which just tasted like egg. Shrimp balls with fish eggs on top were good. Pad thai and Lo mein, didnt try. 3 types of rice. Some sort of crab clusters that were very small and deep fried, and impossible to get any meat out of. Salt and pepper pork chops, i like these even though they were cold.
Sushi bar had about 6 cold salads, lots of various rolls but not much for fish. Various veggie rolls and california type rolls, 2-3 eel rolls, ebi, egg and tofu rolls. Couple special maki's.
They had another section with deviled eggs, ham and roast beef deli slices rolled up.
Food in general was not hot. I think its the style of platters they use on the buffet. They sit high and are not the deep metal type your used to seeing. While there is plenty of steam up at the buffet, its all cold before you reach your table.
Desserts were the typical blah packaged pastries that every asian buffet must buy from the same supplier. Asst melons/fruits. About 6 types of ice cream.
$16 is alot for a lunch buffet and nothing was exceptional. Mostly very average or below average americanized food trying to look fancy. Couple times we went up to find many empty platters.
I have just returned from Asia Buffet. We went at about 6:00, Sunday night. After reading JimTreeFrog's report, I was very nervous, so I asked to look at the buffet before we were seated so that we could go to a different place if the food looked bad.
The food looked okay, and the food trays were full, so we gave it a shot.
There is no lobster, but they had king crab legs, fried crab, crayfish (or crawfish?), oysters, mussels, clams, and a lot of shrimp (cold, fried, walnut mayo, salt and pepper, in dumplings, mixed with vegetables...)
My favorite was the fried crab, and my biggest disappointment was with the king crab legs. I LOVE king crab legs, and usually eat about 4 or 5 at buffets that have them. Tonight I had two, and I couldn't even finish the last one. They were way too salty, as if they'd been steamed instead of boiled, and the crab legs at Minado and Hudson Super Buffet are far superior.
The soups were hot and sour (no one tried that one), West Lake Beef soup (good broth, but I found the bamboo in the soup to be ...unusual), miso (no one tried), and something called Dragon Seafood soup which mostly looked like egg white, but my mom finished it so I guess it wasn't bad.
They have sushi and sashimi and the quality tonight was not bad, according to the sushi eaters among us. My husband did say that the sushi wasn't as cold as it is at Minado, but that it tasted pretty good for sushi buffet. I only had the unagi, tempura sweet potato sushi, and a futo maki kind of thing, and they were fine.
There were about 3 or 4 men working behind the sushi counter, and I didn't see any empty sushi spots when I walked by.
The standouts for the rest of the family were the New Zealand baby lamb chops, and some kind of beef tartare.
The closest comparison to this place would be to Minado, but they do different things successfully. For example, if you want sushi, Minado has more variety and better quality. If you want a hot entree, Asia Buffet is better. There isn't much fish at all, and there are a lot of fried foods which I usually do not eat, but I had enough other things to eat that I was full.
For cold salads, they had fewer than Minado, and the ones they did have were mostly seaweed-based. I only had some edamame from this section, as the other salads didn't look interesting to me.
Asia Buffet also has some fresh mixed fruit (melon, honeydew), and some whole fruit in a dish that looked like it was meant to be for decorative, not edible, purposes, but my dad took an Asian pear from the pile anyway. He was laboriously peeling it with a butter knife when one of the waiters noticed, and came over with a sharper knife for him. Decoration or not, the Asian pear was really good.
They also have those weird miscellaneous pastry desserts which never taste good, and pretty good ice cream -- much better than Minado's. They had green tea, ginger, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio ice cream.
Asia Buffet is not for vegetarians -- there were maybe two vegetable-only dishes, and the other dishes had very few vegetables.
Dumplings were definitely dry, JimTreeFrog.
Service was very good --better than a lot of non-buffet restaurants I've been to. We didn't even have to ask for one of those crab crackers (to eat the crab legs), but a waiter brought it over with napkins pretty much as soon as we noticed we would need one, without us asking him for it.
The food trays were filled up pretty quickly and by the time we left at 7:30, the food still looked like it was being replaced as it ran out.
Tonight they had paper flyers at the hostess desk that listed the hours and prices upfront, so we weren't surprised by the price ($27 for a Sunday night).
Diners seemed to be evenly mixed between asian and white, with surprisingly a lot of small children (who were unfortunately yelling out the score of the Patriots game, which made my husband batty because he was taping the rest of the game at home).
So while I probably wouldn't come here that often due to price, I would definitely give it some thought if I wanted a $25+ buffet. I think that while the food is not up to Minado's standard, Asia Buffet does have an advantage in that there were fewer people dining so the service was great and you didn't have to fight through the crowds to get at the food or wait a long time in line to get to the dish you wanted. If it gets busier, though, then I would not bother with Asia Buffet, and would just go to Minado given how close the prices are to each other.
None of us left unhappy or hungry, but none of us felt like we needed to go back any time soon, either. If the price were $10 cheaper, it would be worth visiting more frequently.
Thanks for the great review. I think i will stick with Hudson super buffet for $10+ less and for great crab legs. I got a chuckle out of how you say you "usually eat 4 or 5"... I usually eat 4 or 5 plates of 10 or so!
For a more expensive buffet i love Bamboo in Westford on sunday night. The ginger scallion lobster is my favorite!
Just went there for dinner. Friday night at 8:30. Admittedly a bit after the normal dinner hour but the place was pretty empty and the food was average chinese buffet.
Several plates were empty. I polished off the "General Gau" chicken, which was mediocre. Decent sweet flavor but no spicyness, tough texture and virtually no sauce and the broccoli was 100% dry unflavorful and undercooked.
Hot and sour soup was too hot, with no 'sour'. Dumplings were dried out. There was a big plate of "Pad Thai". A bit weird for chinese/japanese cuisine but I love pad thai so I tried it. It was decent, but it wasn't pad thai. It was a strange thin spaghetti like noodle with low greasiness, but no flavors other than the noodle itself and a mild saltiness. No fish sauce flavor, no peanuts or peanut flavor. No shrimp, chicken, scallions or anything. Very weird.
Some of the sushi was scary. The rolls looked like they had been left out since lunch. The avocado was turning brown and mushi, and the tuna in the tuna rolls was a yucky grayish brown. Needless to say I didn't try any.
We were there for over an hour and I didn't see either of the sushi chefs make any food, so I'm guessing the food was indeed sitting out all day.
The fried rice was ok but greasier than I like. The only "vegetarian" option was a mix of many vegatables including some mushrooms I didn't like and very greasy. Not to my liking. I'm not a vegetarian but I love good vegetables as part of my chinese cuisine: sauteed broccoli or eggplant for example, and there was none of this to be found. Just meat meat meat. Chicken wings. Bone-in beef ribs (not great -- again, pretty dry with no sauce).
Dessert was some dry-looking yellow cake with white icing. Or jello.
That said, it wasn't too bad as there was a lot to choose from. I was hungry so the "pad thai" was strangely satisfying if badly named.
Service was good and I got three refills on my Diet Coke all for the price of one drink.
But that brings me to the big surprise. The buffet was $30!!! This is downright false advertising. No where in the restaurant or on the menus (which you can download at http://www.asiabuffetframingham.com/) do they list the buffet. We figured it would be reasonable, and didn't want to make a scene. At $12, this would be a mediocre buffet (as it was before they renovated). But now it's just highway robbery.
Conveniently it's right on the highway (rt 9).
We're Asian, and my parents will only go to Asian places to eat. They went last week and reported that it was actually not bad (which is high praise for them). They felt the price was worth it and that it was comparable to Minado. (My father likes to pay as little as possible for food, so being willing to pay around $25 for a lunch buffet must mean it's good.) They're taking me Sunday, so I'll try to report back on it.
Ooh, I have indeed been to Hudson Super Buffet as have my parents (they wouldn't come visit me when I lived a half-hour drive away, but they'll drive to other states just on the rumor of a good, cheap place to eat.)
Do you know if they've raised the prices? I think the last time I went (admittedly a while ago), it cost around $13 for dinner. Cheapest and best crab legs around.
I have only been to the Marlboro location once. I didnt think it was nearly as good as the hudson location but then again it was still sorta new and didnt have a big crowds=low turnover. Since they are relatively close to each other (hudson being closer to me) i figured no reason to go back.
I've been to the Asia Buffet few times already; it's totally different from the previous buffet in that location. This new buffet interior decoration looks very nice and better than the Rainbow buffet, I think they have renovated the whole place. There is a lot of gourmet Chinese food, seafood etc. The sushi is very good, just the same as I have it in an upscale Japanese restaurant. If you are looking for a good quality buffet, this is the place you want to go. It's way better than Minado, especially the sushi, maki and sashimi, taste bettter and more fresh.
This place has been about 5 different buffet places and it seems to keep getting worse. I have not been to the latest rendition, other changes have just been name/management changes and the food has stayed the same or got worse. I gave up after the first 3 name changes. Id be curious to hear about it too.