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New Place to Eat in North Austin-DiMassi's

amykragan Jan 10, 2008 11:27 AM

Saw a coming soon banner for DiMassi's Mediteranean Buffett in the shopping center near 183 & Oak Knoll.

A couple doors down from Mongolian Grill.

I think it's a chain, but I'm not sure and it didn't say when it was opening.

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  1. amysuehere RE: amykragan Jan 10, 2008 12:06 PM

    Sounds very interesting. Keep us informed

    1 Reply
    1. re: amysuehere
      rudeboy RE: amysuehere Jan 10, 2008 01:21 PM

      Looks like a Houston "chain" that is starting a location here:

      http://www.dimassisbuffet.com/Menu.htm

    2. v
      verily RE: amykragan Jan 10, 2008 02:49 PM

      I'm looking forward to it. It will give me a new option for lunch at work. Tino's is a bit far.

      I have eaten at the one in The Woodlands, but it was a few years ago, so I wouldn't be able to give a decent review of the quality. I recall a nice assortment of Greek and Lebanese foods and an interesting Lebanese drink being offered amongst the fountain drinks and iced tea. Jalab I think.

      1. j
        judiftx1 RE: amykragan Jan 11, 2008 11:12 AM

        I did a search on the Texas board and it has gotten good reviews. I can't wait to try it !

        1. j
          jwynne2000 RE: amykragan Jan 11, 2008 11:35 AM

          It's in the old location of the short-lived "La Fiesta" restaurant, which I think was a Serrano's before that. Seems like one of those doomed locations (a la Don Luis's location). Hopefully this place will buck the trend. I'm looking forward to trying it!

          1. b
            brucesw RE: amykragan Jan 11, 2008 01:58 PM

            Here's a report a couple of months ago by a Houston blogger which pretty well sums it up.

            http://foodinhouston.blogspot.com/200...

            I am a big fan of DiMassi's but we have lots of options and I haven't been in months. I, too, have only gone to the Richmond Ave. location. I love the tabouli - all the salads, really. The fish is tilapia, clearly identified everytime I've been there. Dessert cookies are good - smallish, though. The biggest downer has been the baked spinach which can turn black on the bottom and get very bitter from extended exposure to the heat.

            1. angthefoodie RE: amykragan Mar 29, 2008 05:29 PM

              I saw that they are open, but didn't have a chance to go on Friday. Has anyone been yet??

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                ccaustin RE: amykragan Mar 31, 2008 07:55 AM

                I went to Dimassi's on Friday for dinner. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet, which surprised me because the versions in Houston were cafeteria style. I believe it was $12 for dinner (they didn't charge for my 2-year-old). The price included drinks (tea/soda/etc.)

                There were basically two long buffet tables, one focused on salads and one focused on main dishes. Overall, I thought the food was good, comparable to Tino's but with more variety.

                There were two cucumber salads which I didn't try, and one cabbage salad (similar to the stuff you get with pupusas at a Salvadoran restaurant) that I really liked. Hummus and baba gannouj were pretty standard stuff.

                My favorite veggie at the Dimassis in Houston was their roasted eggplant, and it didn't disappoint here. Big chunks of eggplant were really soft and flavorful. I also tried a rice with chicken and eggplant in it, which was quite good.

                Not surprisingly for a buffet, the meats were a mixed bag. Although I went back several times, there was never any falafel. The roasted chicken parts were really tasty, and had two drumsticks that were fresh and hot, they tasted almost like tandoori chicken. I also had a lamb shank, which was pretty tasty, but dry and overcooked. I ate it along with the aforementioned eggplant.

                They had a brick oven where they were making fresh pita, but they just dumped them all into a big plastic serving tray. I grabbed a few with the tongs, but always seemed to get older, cold ones. I need to figure out how to get hot pita next time.

                There were a few standard deserts, including a good almond cookie, and a mushy, sweet baklava.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ccaustin
                  angthefoodie RE: ccaustin Apr 2, 2008 08:48 PM

                  Thanks for the report. I think I will try them out for lunch sometime soon.

                  1. re: ccaustin
                    k
                    kegsandkitchen RE: ccaustin Apr 3, 2008 07:03 AM

                    I went last night, because of this thread. I'll have to disagree with the "comparable to Tino's" statement. While Dimassi's wasn't bad, it was VERY mediocre.

                    With Tino's as close as it is, I will not be going back to Dimassi's. The selection was bigger than Tino's, but none of it was prepared anywhere near as well as Tino's, so the bigger selection is a non-issue for me.

                    The only thing that I would say was actually pretty good was a spinach/lentil soup. Most of the food was pretty bland. The falafel was lacking in flavor and overcooked. The hummus was just OK, compared to Tino's it was disappointing.

                    Of course YMMV, but I'm afraid the "curse" of this location will continue. I give this place 6-8 months.

                    1. re: ccaustin
                      n
                      nk. RE: ccaustin Apr 6, 2008 09:03 AM

                      When was the last time that you went to Dimassi's in Houston? They are all now and as far as I can remember have always been all you can eat style buffets. Just in case you go back, the one in the Village is no longer.

                      Dimassi's (in Houston) would never be my first choice for food. It's not terrible, but it's not spectacular and in Houston there are many many better places. While Dimassi's may be a welcome change for Austin since there aren't too many places with Lebanese food, it is pale in comparisons to what you can find at some of gems in Houston and some of the places in Austin. I'll stick with Sarah's and Byblos (even though it's started to go downhill).

                      1. re: nk.
                        abidonfood RE: nk. Apr 12, 2008 09:57 AM

                        yup, yup, totally agree with you here on everything you said, except I still haven't been to Sarah's yet...

                        ended up checking this place out after one of my Lebanese coworkers went RAVING about it. i still came to the same mediocre conclusion that most others here are reporting, although there WERE a couple of dishes that were above average. i really did like the roasted eggplant dish, as ccaustin mentioned above. and although the tabouli kinda threw me initially because of the use of curly parsley instead of flat-leaf parsley, it was still above average I thought... everything else was just alright...

                      2. re: ccaustin
                        Proz RE: ccaustin Apr 6, 2008 11:05 AM

                        I'm going to have to report about the mediocre-ness of this place too. I'm still going around town trying different Mediterranean establishments. I stopped by Saturday afternoon and while the place was busy, I wasn't impressed at all. Many of them meat selections were too salty, hot veggie selections was par and so was the salad selection. Decent variety on fruits & desserts along with drink being included was about the only saving grace.

                      3. p
                        Paul Silver RE: amykragan Apr 7, 2008 10:45 AM

                        This place fits well with my preference for a relatively wide variety of vegetable dishes at a modest price. I have added it to my regular circuit of Buffets: Whole Foods, Golden Corral, Ryan's, Bombay Grill, Alborz, Buffet Palace, Thomas Buffet, Furr's, and Cannolli Joe's.

                        Are there any others that should be on my list?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Paul Silver
                          d
                          daddymac2 RE: Paul Silver Apr 7, 2008 11:49 AM

                          You may want to add CiCi's. I totally agree with your list, except for Whole Foods. The quality is just not on par with the rest of your circuit.

                          When I'm feeling particularly manorexic, I go to Mr. Natural.

                          1. re: daddymac2
                            p
                            Paul Silver RE: daddymac2 Apr 7, 2008 01:21 PM

                            daddy,
                            I can't tell if your response was in jest. To me the quality of the Whole Foods buffet is perhaps the best, and most reliable provenance. In general isn't it the widest assortment of fresh and organic vegetables on any buffet in town?

                            My routine at CiCi's and Gatti's buffet is the create a salad and then scrape the toppings on a few slices of pizza onto the top of the salad. That is the only way to get cooked vegies into the meal without abusing starches.

                            1. re: Paul Silver
                              d
                              daddymac2 RE: Paul Silver Apr 7, 2008 01:41 PM

                              OMG! We will just have to agree to disagree on WFM. LOL!!!

                              However, I am totally with you on top-scraping the pizza. The only problem with this approach is that if you aren't careful you may find yourself with a meat or cheese product along with the delectable cooked veggie. Yuk!

                              Now, do you know anywhere in town that offers soy cheese pizza?

                              1. re: daddymac2
                                n
                                NirvRush RE: daddymac2 Apr 7, 2008 05:01 PM

                                Austin's Pizza will do soy cheese.

                                http://www.austinspizza.com/

                                1. re: daddymac2
                                  p
                                  Paul Silver RE: daddymac2 Apr 8, 2008 07:54 AM

                                  Davine Foods on Oltorf says they have vegan cheese available for their Pizza, which may be Soy. And they use sprouted grain for their dough.

                                  1. re: daddymac2
                                    t
                                    TheSprinkler RE: daddymac2 Feb 23, 2009 10:11 AM

                                    The Parlor offers vegan cheese - don't know if it's soy.

                            2. a
                              angelfoodmaker RE: amykragan Apr 13, 2008 05:07 PM

                              I went there about three weeks ago and found the atmosphere stark and bland. One person was servicing the dining area. The hot homemade pita bread was the best part of the experience the ground kabob was not hot but warm the vegetables were good. But there needs to be more decorations and also the buffets not the food look like they should have been better quality for that restaurant. Frankly half of a dining experience is food and the other half is atmosphere and DiMassi did not have much atmosphere.

                              1. d
                                DanielNTX RE: amykragan Apr 15, 2008 10:49 PM

                                I went last week during lunch and the food was very bland... even the desserts. They tasted all the same. I prefer the Alborz Persian lunch buffet compare to this place.

                                1. n
                                  ny2austin RE: amykragan Oct 16, 2008 06:37 PM

                                  Tried the new Dimassi in South Austin and was hugely disappointed. The food was unappetizing at best, nauseating at worst, and the flavorless items were much better than the ones you could taste. The rice pudding, with rose water, tasted extremely soapy. The chicken dishes had unrecognizable sharp, tiny bones. Save a few dollars and go to Tinos for really great food.... there's one in north austin (Anderson Mill) & south (Brodie & Slaughter).

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: ny2austin
                                    p
                                    Paul Silver RE: ny2austin Oct 22, 2008 04:11 PM

                                    I tried the new South Dimassi and thought it was a wonderful meal for the price ($10 incl drink). My favorities: Roasted Egg plant, Babganoush, Hummus, Lamb Shanks, Grilled Talapia, garlic dip, baklava, and many others. I was able to fill up on an entertaining variety of perhaps 2 dozen vegetable dishes. Plus a clean new spacious shopping center.

                                    1. re: Paul Silver
                                      n
                                      NirvRush RE: Paul Silver Oct 22, 2008 06:02 PM

                                      did you do lunch or dinner for that price?

                                      1. re: NirvRush
                                        p
                                        Paul Silver RE: NirvRush Oct 26, 2008 02:44 PM

                                        Lunch

                                      2. re: Paul Silver
                                        TroyTempest RE: Paul Silver Oct 27, 2008 10:15 AM

                                        I went to the South location, and thought it was just ok. Nothing really bad, though nothing really outstanding. The Lamb shanks and babaganoush being the best. Tied for worst was the rice pudding flavored with rose water (tasted like hand lotion) and the fact that they hadn't re-decorated at all since that place used to be the village inn.
                                        I think it is $2 higher at night.

                                        1. re: TroyTempest
                                          rudeboy RE: TroyTempest Apr 22, 2009 09:12 PM

                                          For $10, getting lamb sanks that are good is worth the price alone! I had to go to Whataburger recently, and spent something like $7.

                                    2. s
                                      Sophie27 RE: amykragan Feb 24, 2009 12:12 PM

                                      DiMassi's was good (not as good as the one in Houston), not to be confused with GREAT. It's better than the Mongolian Grill though--I don't like everything all cooked up in one bowl with everything tasting the same.

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