Schizophrenic buffet now open in the old My Thanh
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For Those Who Live to Eat
chucklesmcfalrand is right.
This place is not open yet. I went there on Nov 17th and saw the "Grand Opening Soon" sign.
No matter when it opens, I'm going to go try it at least once or twice. But honestly - if they're trying to start a 24/7 buffet, and no one is there working on the place Saturday at 1pm - they're deluding themselves.
Anyways, I'll be there when they open. The place sounds like it could be a nightmare. But I want to eat hot & sour soup, lentil curry, beef enchiladas, a real caesar salad, baked ziti, pepperoni pizza, and some chicken fingers all at the same meal. I will collect coins at drive-thru places to save money for this.
Just got back from Kim Phung (Tofu in onions and lemon grass was terrible; "Chinese" eggroll was also terrible; hot and sour soup was fine) and walked past A+ Buffet.
The automatic doors opened for me, but I didn't go in. A woman walked by and said she thinks they're opening tomorrow and that it is going to be a "really nice place."
Thankfully, they won't attempt to keep the buffet open 24 hours. They have the buffet schedule written on the sliding glass door, but I don't remember anything except that on Fridays, the buffet is open from 10am to 4am.
I think I'll check it out.
We checked out the A+ buffet last night, and really took one for the team here. They're in a shopping center between a laundramat and a nightclub and they do indeed have an assortment of Italian (pizza, calzones), Chinese (lo mein, fried rice, meat and veggies in brown sauce), Mexican (cheese enchiladas), Indian (byranis, stewed meats, honeyed dough balls) and American (dried out tater tots and hushpuppies) food. Also a salad bar with a random assortment of stuff (lettuce, cabbage, jalepenos, cottage cheese and salad dressings).
None of it was particularly good and much of it was honestly pretty bad. The stuff that was "ok" included the byrani and the dough balls in honey (there's probably a better name for these, but you see them at a lot of Indian places). But even those weren't what I'd describe as "good."
It seems to be run by an Indian family, and the night we went most of the customers were Indian, so maybe that explains why some of the Indian dishes weren't quite as bad as the rest. Still, we're not planning on going back, even for the novelty factor.
Sounds like they make the indian stuff and probably sysco in all the other stuff.
From their location I can only guess they are hoping for 2am spillover from tejano ranch patrons looking for cheap eats to soak up cerveza.
I admire their kitchen sink attitude, though they seem to have lowered the original 200 items to 'over 100 items to eat', according to their bandit signs.
Why they had to specify 'to eat' I'll never know.
I took the plunge for lunch on Sunday. I'll echo many of stgrove's statement's except that I actually thought that most of the Indian food was actually pretty good. Now, as a disclaimer, I have to point out that I think it's only fair to judge buffets by a somewhat more lenient scale than most restaurants. At least buffets that are under $10 as this one is. It has to be nearly impossible to crank out the quantity of dishes that this place does for over 12 hours a day at $7 per person and still keep the quality high.
That being said, yes the Indian food was certainly the only food that was not from sysco (or its analog). And there is definitely better Indian food to be had in this town, even in a buffet. But all in all, it's quite passable. The chicken biryani I had was tender and fluffy. All of the stewed meats were spicy yet not overpowering and very fresh with tasty bits of marrow and cartilage still clinging on. Of course, Indian food actually lends itself well to buffets. Dishes can simmer all day and just get better. The most disappointing thing was the nan. Rather than being soft and chewy, it was pretty crispy as if it had been pressed too thin before baking. It also had garlic powder on it and tasted more like a cheap garlic roll than nan.
I think the biggest downfall of this joint is that they're spreading themselves way too thin. The chinese was no better than the cheapest of chinese buffets and the mexican food (a couple of dried out enchilada-like dishes) was terrible. The pizza and calzones were fine, but certainly not special. Plus, there's way too much stuff on the buffet. I appreciate the selection, but eventually food gets stale and dry and unappetizing. In my opinion, they should stick to what they know and focus on making that really good.
The tragedy of it is that I really like what they're trying to accomplish. I like the idea of providing a big range of culinary options for a very diverse neighborhood that is open all the time and easy to access all for under $10. The staff was super-friendly and attentive and I believe that the owner sincerely wants to make everyone happy. He stopped by every table to ask how people were doing. At each stop he would try to find out what people liked, what they didn't like and how he could make it better. I didn't have the heart to tell him that half of the dishes were bad. The table next to me complained that there were bones in the "chicken and rice." They were referring to the chicken biryani. Rather than being indignant and saying that that's just how the dish is made, the owner suggested that next time they put out 2 dishes: one with bones and one without. I would never do that, but he is far more sincere than I am.
Perhaps the clientele of this joint will grow. And perhaps that will drive up the quality. I really do believe the owner want it to be good. But probably it will be gone in 6 months. I know it's important for restaurants to serve good food, even if they are a cheap buffet. But sometimes good company and good intentions can be enough to make you want to support a place, can't they? It's a shame, really.
I appreciate you pointing out "it's only fair to judge buffets by a somewhat more lenient scale than most restaurants."
Do you have an opinions on the other Buffets in town?
Hill Country Dining Room Sun Buffet 1130-2 $30
Cannolli Joe Sun Buffet 11-3 $15
Fonda San Miguel Sun Buffet 11-2 $40
Stubbs Sun Buffet 11-1
Lambert Sun Buffet 11 $25
Green Pastures Sun buffet 11 $33
Nutty Brown Café Sun Buffet 11
Moonshine Sun Buffet 10-230 $15
Trio Sun Buffet 10-2 $50
Threadgills Sun Buffet 10-1 $11
Walburg Restaurant Sun Buffet
888 Vietnamese Buffet
re: Paul Silver
Sure, I'll give it a try. Remember, of course, my disclaimer that "it's only fair to judge buffets..." So, take everything with a grain of salt. These are buffets, after all. That being said, I will try to refrain from qualifying everything as being "from a buffet" from here on in. Also, some of the recollections may be a bit hazy.
Cannolli Joe - I've actually been quite impressed with this place in the 2 or 3 times I've been. The selection is fantastic and most of the items are prepared in small enough batches to preserve their flavor. It seems as if they actually do strive for at least modest authenticity and freshness. The pasta dishes have never been dry and the veggies never soggy. I wish they featured more meat dishes (especially pork), but the roast chicken moist and the mussels quite tasty. The dessert is also decent. I have always opted for vanilla gelato over warm bread pudding. I went for brunch once and won't return for that. The limited menu and breakfast options were poorly prepared and rubbery.
Stubbs - Had the Gospel Brunch once about 3 or 4 years ago. I might go back someday just for the experience, but not the food. I avoid eating at Stubbs as a habit. I think their barbecue is mediocre at best and what little bit of flavor they may inject into their sides is not worth the price. The brunch buffet did include some decent grits and biscuits, as I recall, but nothing much worth getting excited over.
Walburg - I haven't been on a Sunday, so I don't know how it compares to the Saturday and Friday buffets. That being said, I have a soft place in my heart for Walburg Restaurant. It's such a fantastic place to visit and hang out that the scenery and atmosphere tend to smooth over any flaws in the food. Ordering off the menu tends to provide a much better result than the buffet, but the buffet has its merits. For one, German food is fairly rare in these parts so it's always nice to get it. And when I do, it's nice to have a variety. I enjoy the tartness of both the sauerkraut and the red cabbage, and the potato salad is just vinegary enough. The spoetzel can get quite dry and the pork schnitzel is fairly middle of the road, but the jaeger sauce makes up for it.
Golden Corral - I'll admit, it's a guilty pleasure. Sometimes quantity really can replace quality and Golden Corral is a shining example of that. The food is not very good, but it's just good enough to overlook in favor of variety and quantity. It's the kind of food that, in a strange way, is actually quite flavorful if you don't keep it your mouth too long. Metaphorically.
Buffet Palace - I've only been to the sadly now immolated Anderson Lane establishment. It was kind of a buffet stand-by for me as it was for many. I always preferred the "right half" to the "left half." In other words, I ate the bolgoki and kim chi more than the General Tso's. You could always count on them to be fresh and I really loved that there seemed to be no real concession made to which particular type of Asian Cuisine would be included. Just throw it all in.
India Palace - I know you didn't ask, but I'm throwing this in and it's my new favorite buffet. Everything here is good. There's not much else to say. It's small, but the dishes are spot on and really powerful. My only wish is that they would put larger chunks of cheese in the saag paneer.
Obviously there's a lot of places on your list I haven't tried. Many of them because I tend to not dine out on Sunday afternoons. I know I'm missing out on a lot of great places. I have yet to try Fonda San Miguel, but need to. Someday, maybe.
I'll second the Cannoli Joe's recommendation. We've been a couple of times and been very favorably impressed by the food. Last time we were there, I had a service suggestion that I forwarded to them via their web contact form; I got back an email from the owner asking me for my address to send me a drink coupon. I thought that was a nice and personalized touch.
Yikes! I tried A+.
My culinary standards may be among the lowest on Chowhound (because I like buffets for the variety of vegetables) but this place was pretty terrible. I went at lunchtime and there were maybe 6 people there. Selection was perhaps 30 items. Almost no vegetables or Dessert. Most dishes seemed either gloppy or dry. At $8 plus tax but without a drink it was a very poor deal.
On the good side I now can appreciate the relatively high standards of Golden Corral, Ryan's, Cannoli Joe's, Buffet Palace, Alborz, Thomas, Hickory Street and even China Star.
re: Paul Silver
re: Paul Silver
I tried it this past Sunday after not remembering that Fuego's was closed. I knew it would be bad, but it was worse than I imagined.
1) Smaller buffet than you'd think
2) No labels on food
3) They were half out of stuff for the 40 minutes I was there
4) Incredibly messy buffet (dirty plates some kid left on the buffet sat there the entire time we were at A+)
5) Nothing tasted good; I tried some dark curry, their basmati rice, pizza, white and red pastas, salad bar, naan, and I can't remember what else.
And the poor manager/owner. He was lamenting that the place has never been as busy as when they first opened.