Cafe Sierra -Seafood Buffet
Recently, my cousin and I were jonesing for a Chinese banquet but unfortunately, we got tired of waiting for somebody in the family to get married or have a baby actually, I think were next in line but I think its going to be awhile
Fortunately, we had heard tidbits of information through this board and other friends about the Café Sierra at the Hilton Universal so we called a few other pals and a trip ensued.
Ohmigod, this place rocks!
Prime Rib. Thats what I started with which was pretty yummy and much better than Las Vegas $9.99. But the very best part was the white rice cooker staring at us next to the cutter. Taking generous portions of rice, pouring au jous and nestling it comfortably by the prime rib is heaven for us and in retrospect, we were better off holding back but our genetic predisposition must have took over.
Lobster Thermador. This was at the same station and although my cousin avoided it, Im a fan so I ate and even went back for seconds. I dont know this dish very well but it tasted good. The meat wasnt overcooked, tough or soggy and the mushroom sauce thingie wasnt too overpowering. It was decent size too!
Crab with ginger and green onion Theres never any comparison to the way mom always made it (when is it ever) but just as good as getting leftovers and I mean that in a good way. I sucked a lot and my only mistake was not leaving enough room for a generous second helping. What other buffet offers this dish?
Short Ribs with Shzewan Sauce not usually big into the sticky sauces ie: sweet and sour, lemon, but the pungent red glaze wasnt too spicy and complimented the soft meat rather well. And you didnt have to fight and gnaw at it. Stick a rib in the mouth, tear the meat off and dispose of the bone in a few seconds.
Raw Ahi Tuna Im always a little scared of eating sashimi at buffets but geeze, it looked so tempting and I had some rice to finish. It was orange, fresh and much better than Todais .
Mango Pudding I ended my evening with it but it was only ok, just needed more of that white syrup on it.
There were tons of other dishes I didnt get a chance to check out, including clams with spicy sauce, crab legs, spicy salty shrimp and a sushi station made to order but my cousin and friends tried it and seemed to be pretty happy with the buffet and evening.
Yea, the price is about $35.00 a person (plus a beverage of coffee, tea or ice tea) and I guess reservations is kind of needed - when I called to increase our seating amount, the host didnt ask for my name and when I asked him if he needed it, he said it wasnt necessary.
As someone that has been to both Cafe Sierra and Khourys, I must say that the spread at the Hilton runs cirlces around Khoury's as well as the Rio Seafood Buffet in Vegas, and most recently, the highly touted Queen Mary Champagne Brunch.
Although I went to Khoury's last year on Mother's Day, I must say that I was not impressed. The selection was fine, but the prime rib was tasteless, and most of the "hot" selections were lukewarm at best. I realize Mother's Day is a very busy day, and am willing to give Khoury's another shot, but I must say a Huge Thumbs Down to the Queen Mary Champagne Brunch (which I attended yesterday for Father's Day). Again, a fine selection, but it just didn't do it for me. Everything was bland. When the only things I can rave about are the chocolate covered strawberries and haagen daaz ice cream, there's a problem especially at $32.95 per person. I know, I know, if Cafe Sierra is all that, why didn't you go there for Father's Day? Simple explanation, grasshopper. Different menu, and $5 more per person.
Getting back to Yumyumcha's review of Sierra, he fails to mention one of my favorites, the creamed corn, which tastes identical to the corn at Lawry's.
A fresh pasta bar with the ingredients of your choosing, paella loaded with seafood, garlic mashed potatoes, and kalbi (korean short ribs) are also offered.
I also had loads of deep fried squid in spicy salt, which was very tasty, although a little on the soggy side, not crunchy, complimented with a ton of pan fried shrimp in spicy salt, which can butt heads with any Chinese Seafood restaurant, as well as the Chinese Fried Chicken sans shrimp chips, which was moist and tasty. The spicy eggplant was just like mom makes, but I would have preferred more spicy.
I keep hearing about Shark Fin Soup, which I was really looking forward to, but none was to be had this evening. Guess we caught the wrong night.
Some frown at the $31.95 price, but the selections definately make it worthwhile. However, I would think at 32 bucks a head, they could spring for soft drinks to be included.
About the shark fin's soup... The last time I was there (in December, for a holiday party) it was being served and believe me, the line was LONG! People were gettings 3 bowls at a time. :) The soup itself was quite rich and flavorful, but there aren't enough chunks of shark fin to really call itself shark fin soup. It was funny--my aunt would crow like she won a prize when she came across a strand.