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Cafe Sierra -Seafood Buffet

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Yumyumcha Jun 18, 2001 02:53 AM

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 we’re next in line but I think its going to be awhile…hehe.

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. That’s 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, I’m a fan so I ate and even went back for seconds. I don’t know this dish very well but it tasted good. The meat wasn’t overcooked, tough or soggy and the mushroom sauce thingie wasn’t too overpowering. It was decent size too!
Crab with ginger and green onion – There’s 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 wasn’t too spicy and complimented the soft meat rather well. And you didn’t 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 – I’m 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 Todai’s .
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 didn’t 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 didn’t ask for my name and when I asked him if he needed it, he said it wasn’t necessary.

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  1. k
    kvhan RE: Yumyumcha Jun 18, 2001 03:05 PM

    My friend just told me about this place at the beginning of this month. He raved, and I'm excited about trying it. One question: How does this place compare to Koury's in Long Beach? I realize they serve different things...

    5 Replies
    1. re: kvhan
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      Graphracker RE: kvhan Jun 18, 2001 07:14 PM

      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.

      1. re: Graphracker
        k
        kvhan RE: Graphracker Jun 18, 2001 07:57 PM

        I had no idea all of those items were offered! Most of my favorites, too! My friend only mentioned the lobster (I think he mentioned lobster) and the prime rib, both of which are high on my list of favs. That settles it - I'll be going soon. Thanks!

        1. re: kvhan
          n
          NS RE: kvhan Jun 19, 2001 02:00 AM

          I went yesterday for Father's day. The salt and pepper shrimp was my favorite. The banana/chocolate crepe was very very good too.

        2. re: Graphracker
          c
          Chandavkl RE: Graphracker Jun 18, 2001 08:21 PM

          I think they maybe got rid of the shark fin soup because it wasn't there when I went and it wasn't there a couple weeks ago when other family members went. However, just the thought of unlimited jellyfish and mango pudding still has me chortling.

          1. re: Chandavkl
            j
            Jennifer W. RE: Chandavkl Jun 18, 2001 08:48 PM

            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.

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