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Hudson *Super* Buffet lives up to its name

MrsCheese Feb 20, 2008 04:02 PM

Major thanks to hargau for mentioning HSB in a number of threads. I've been meaning to write this for a while. We've been to HSB probably 6 times or so on a Saturday night and have been very happy with it. For those that don't know, it's quite a large buffet with lots of Americanized Chinese food and *lots* of seafood, namely steamed snow crab legs, but also all kinds of mussels, oysters, shrimp, fish, deviled crab, etc. They charge $11.95 at dinner, which is just amazing to me, considering the quality of the seafood. And they don't even charge the chowpup (20 months) and she can put it back with the best of them (totally hooked on crab legs). I am a huge fan of crab legs but I hate to cook them at home because it stinks up my house. I couldn't even buy them and cook them myself at this price anyway! I've never had subpar seafood there, and we think the rest of the pupu stuff is totally decent too. I can endulge my guilty pleasure for crab rangoon. ;-) The servers are very sweet and the buffet is always well-stocked. Notably, we went there this Monday, which seemed like a gamble because a buffet on a Monday night could be a ghost town, which is never a good thing for a buffet. But I thought the food was just as fresh as the Sat nights we had been there, and the crab legs just kept coming and coming. I felt like I needed to keep eating them to keep up! I'm sure they hate to see me coming because I'm surely a loss with all the seafood I eat there, but this place is one heck of a deal for satisfying food.

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  1. MrsCheese RE: MrsCheese Feb 20, 2008 04:03 PM

    Oh, I also meant to add that we tried Marlborough Super Buffet one time since it's closer to us, and there was absolutely no comparison. I would not recommend MSB.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MrsCheese
      trufflehound RE: MrsCheese Feb 20, 2008 04:42 PM

      Thanks for the heads up. I love HSB and MSB is equidistant.Imperial Buffet, Milford seems to get the same seafood, a little more americanized(or Brazilized), but they do have someone making sushi/grilling and opening oysters/clams, which are often in short supply at HSB.

    2. Luther RE: MrsCheese Feb 23, 2008 03:55 PM

      I was out in the middle of nowhere this afternoon (i.e. west of 128) and decided to hit up HSB. I'd say the $12 price is reasonable if you're in the mood to stuff yourself silly with generally low-quality food, and you're within a 10 minute trip. We stuck strictly to the highest-value items (all-protein stuff, no fillers) and found most of the seafood dishes to be either dried out and chewy (fried fish, squid rings) or pretty flavorless (the giant pile of oily shrimp and scallops). The breaded fried shrimp were pretty good but also kind of dry. The fish quality in the sushi is actually pretty good (as good as any cheap sushi place), and the tuna/avocado rolls were good. The rice:fish ratio in the nigiri is out of control, and not worth it at all.

      The desserts, while nice looking, are awful. They all contain the lowest grade of fake whipped cream, and it sticks to your mouth and tongue and forms this gross film. The flan tasted like scrambled eggs doused in imitation maple syrup... weird.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Luther
        h
        hargau RE: Luther Feb 23, 2008 04:06 PM

        Sounds like you hit it at a bad time or something or went to the lower quality lunch buffet. I go only for the dinner buffet, never the lunch. Highlights of that include very good snow crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, oysters, shrimp dumplings, salt & pepper shrimp, the breaded shrimp (just ok), dungeness crab 1/2s , and a couple other hot shrimp dishes. Although the $12 you paid is the dinner price so dunno. Agree the squid rings are horrible, i stay away from them and i love calamari, just not theirs.

        Agree the desserts are the typical ones that most chinese places seem to get. I dont go for the flan thats for sure. Typically i eat a couple of the chocolate chip cookies and some ice cream. The coconut and the ginger ice creams are both excellent.

        1. re: Luther
          MrsCheese RE: Luther Feb 23, 2008 04:14 PM

          Luther, I'm really surprised. Was it busy when you were there? Because I'm just wondering if it was an off time where they wouldn't be stocking the buffet as regularly. I've never had anything there that was dried out and chewy. I've never tried the sushi, because buffet sushi kind of grosses me out. And I guess I'm not surprised about the desserts - I fill up on crab legs so I never have room for that kind of stuff, but generally would not have high expectations for it. The only sweet thing I eat are those addictive sugary donut things.

          1. re: MrsCheese
            Luther RE: MrsCheese Feb 24, 2008 04:20 AM

            I was at dinner and it was maybe 50% occupied. The donuts were pretty cool, especially as they were nestled among some savory foods, so it was amusing to see them there.

            I had what I believed to be S&P shrimp (there were slivers of jalapeno in there) but there was really no flavor on the shrimp themselves, just a thin, sticky coating. Come to think of it, I dipped almost every piece of food in either the sushi soy-based sauce or the sweet and sour sauce from one of the hot stations. That combination of dry and underseasoned seemed to haunt almost everything.

            My favorite AYCE Chinese-American experience is still Tin Tin Buffet (especially at lunch), for the fried chicken and the soft serve. Yeah, there was a hell of a lot of shrimp at HSB, but it just wasn't exciting.

            1. re: Luther
              h
              hargau RE: Luther Feb 24, 2008 05:49 AM

              Rin Tin Tin does make good fried chicken but i like HSB better for the crab legs. Usually what i eat most of there.

              I dip the shimp and stuff in the wasabi/soy from the sushi station too!

        2. galleygirl RE: MrsCheese Feb 24, 2008 07:16 AM

          Anyone care to opine on what we can expect on a Sunday night? TC and I may head out there tomight....

          9 Replies
          1. re: galleygirl
            h
            hargau RE: galleygirl Feb 24, 2008 08:36 AM

            Sunday i think is usually the best day to go. They do dinner buffet all day. But i would try to go during the peak hours. Again, dont go with the expectations to have good or even decent "chinese food".. go with the expectations to eat alot of shrimp, oysters, crab legs, sushi for $12. I rarely eat any/many of the traditional american"chinese" dishes they have. I usually eat a few of the 2-3 types of dumplings and then basically all seafood. Also i really dont like any of the desserts. My gf loves the homemade peanut brittle, try that. And i really like the ginger and coconut icecreams they serve, not sure what brand it is.

            They have some sort of dried ginger/scallion fish with bones that seems to be a hit with the asian families. Same with the dungeness? Crab 1/2's .... I watch asian families getting huge plates of these 2 items. To me they are both too much work though! You will also witness families balancing 2 dozen oysters on a plate and carrying them back for the table. We once watched one group do that about 6 times! Not to mention the trays of crab legs they were getting as well

            1. re: hargau
              galleygirl RE: hargau Feb 24, 2008 10:31 AM

              Oh yeah; the BF has a picture of me as the screensaver on his cellphone, taken at the old International Buffet, with a big plate of crab legs in front of me! What's peak for Sunday dinner, 6-7 or 8?

              1. re: galleygirl
                h
                hargau RE: galleygirl Feb 24, 2008 11:32 AM

                they advertise dinner as 4-9:30 usually, (all day sunday).. I would say 6-7 should be a fine time to go.

              2. re: hargau
                galleygirl RE: hargau Feb 25, 2008 05:58 AM

                Okay, we went with the expectation of "dont go with the expectations to have good or even decent "chinese food".. go with the expectations to eat alot of shrimp, oysters, crab legs, sushi for $12. "

                Hargau was sure correct!
                TC is not a very picky eater when it comes to American-style Chinese, or any Chinese, so I figured he'd be happy...Hard to believe, but there was nothing he'd sample twice....Anything that wasn't steamed fish, or raw fish,, including the chicken, beef and pork was COVERED with goopey sauce...Nothing was hot.

                There was no grilling station (he would have happily eaten a carnivore's delight if there was...) anbd the sushi was in short supply, and variety; a rice-overloaded fluke nigiri, teeny tuna, California, and fried crabstick rolls...Not a very promising sushi meal.

                The good; I could have happily spent another few hours sucking on King Crab legs, steamed whole crabs (full of crab schmoo, almost worth all the work!), and raw clams...If you're *sure* this is what everyone in your party really wants, it's worth the $12...But there's really nothing else, imho...I tried a cooked octopus, it was rubbery, I tried some cooked calamari; rubbery as reported...

                The dissappointing part was the atmosphere, which I'm usually not that picky about...Brusque service, "Go; eat!", check came when I was still eating (we had been there an hour...), staff was cleaning up and emptying the bars with a huge clatter of pans just after 8....We had come at 7; which I guess is too late for Sunday dinner...There were still 4 tables or so eating when we left, but they were clearly happy with the Chinese, Italian (eek!) and other mongrel cuisines they were finding...

                For twice the price ($24 at dinner), we would stay with Asia Buffet, in Framingham, which I've been remiss, and not added my voice to...Good sushi, tho probably not Minado quality, sashimi, very good cooked seafood dishes, in large variety. You could definitely pick and choose, and craft a high-quality meal wihtout stuffing yourself; which is what I want from a buffet, choices that are good enough to experience and enjoy, not just gorge on...But that's probably another thread...

                On the way home, we passed the Marlboro Super Buffet, which others here have said isn't as good as Hudson...It ceratinly looked much bigger and glitzier, anymore copmments on their quality?

                1. re: galleygirl
                  MrsCheese RE: galleygirl Feb 25, 2008 08:37 AM

                  I only went to MSB once, but I'd say it wasn't even worth the $12, and that's saying something I guess. It was a Saturday night and they were not busy at all. They were also not good about restocking any of the seafood, which is what I went for. I had to ask them to make more crab legs twice. They clearly weren't going to bring out more unless someone asked. If you thought the service was brusque at HSB, it's even worse at MSB. I couldn't even get anyone to pick up our dirty plates or fill my water.

                  Usually up by the sushi station at HSB they have the grilling station. I had some really good pork there once. Usually just stick to the crab legs so I haven't noticed it in a while. Maybe they've done away with it?

                  Thanks for the Asia Buffet rec - I had only read negative comments about it prior to yours - maybe we should try it. I'm not usually into buffets in general, but it sure is easier to keep the toddler happy...
                  Would you choose Asia Buffet over Minado?

                  1. re: galleygirl
                    h
                    hargau RE: galleygirl Feb 25, 2008 08:47 AM

                    MSB has a grilling station but HSB does not. I have only been to MSB once and wasnt impressed by it. LIked HSB much better. Did they not have the peel and eat shrimp? I find them to be always good too. I also eat 2 of the fried shrimp dishes.

                    Not right that they started to tear down around 8, as they advertise dinner till 9:30 on Sunday.

                    Im suprised by the "nothing was hot" part. Everytime i have been there the temps have been fine. In contrast, the 1 time i went to Asia Buffet everything was cold. Not even room temp, just cold! I think the ceramic trays they use there dont work as well as the deeper stainless bins.

                    My fav for chinese buffet is still the Sunday Dinner Buffet at Bamboo in Westford. I mostly eat the ginger/scallion lobster and the S&P fried shrimp but they have a large variety of sushi, somevarious steamed dumplings plus the goopy stuff you would expect. Plus their pupu type apps are decent there as well. More expensive then HSB and smaller but all decent quality

                    1. re: hargau
                      b
                      buffet king RE: hargau Feb 25, 2008 09:16 AM

                      My favorite Chinese lunch buffet is at Bamboo in Bedford MA. I have been there 2 times and both times the food was fresh and delicious. My 2nd favorite Chinese lunch buffet is at Mandarin Reading in Reading MA. Both restaurants are owned by the same family but I prefer Bamboo over Mandarin Reading.

                      1. re: hargau
                        raf945 RE: hargau Feb 25, 2008 07:24 PM

                        Nice post.Can't wait to try Bamboo.

                        1. re: raf945
                          f
                          foodperv RE: raf945 Feb 25, 2008 07:49 PM

                          we have one of the buffet places in lowell too
                          they serve all that plus duck,and some real diff stuff like chicken feet,tripe and more
                          they also serve buttered shrimp (all peeled cooked and just sitting in tub of butter sauce, the calamari there too is served 2-3 ways. i think they buy it at office max or staples (at those two places they call them rubber bands) lol
                          the only odd thing is the shrmp w/lobster sauce they make it 2 ways and it is a shot in the dark as to which way you get it on any given night i way is good(not great) the other way is junk

                2. t
                  trizydlux RE: MrsCheese Jun 1, 2008 06:13 PM

                  The boyfriend and I went to HSB tonight for the first time (after extensive research here) and I though I'd add my $0.02 to the mix. I had pretty low expectations going in, but coming out, I thought HSB offered great value for the price. On individual dishes, there were some hits and some misses. The crab legs were tasty and abundant. The fried shrimp and the peel & eat shrimp were also very good. I didn't love the S&P shrimp.b The raw oysters & clams were merely ok, with the clams being the superior of the two. The sushi was good but not great. If they had only served some decent wasabi, it would have seemed better! I also had some kind of steamed seafood dumpling (I believe it was labeled "din sum"!) that was very good, and a potsticker that was not quite so good, but not bad.

                  OTOH my boyfriend ate quite a strange assortment of dishes OTHER than seafood, including the general gau's chicken, stuffed clams, crab rangoon(?), and filler-type stuff like potato wedges, and lo mein. Aside from the lo mein (bland, greasy), he deemed it all tasty. I commented that he's is like their dream diner - filling up on platefuls of cheap stuff like potatoes and noodles!

                  The desserts I tried were also pretty good, but very possibly I'm too easy to please. I had a tiny wedge of homemade cheesecake (that I was actually hoping was lemon pie of some kind, but nope), canned lychees, pineapple. In addition, I would have liked to try the coconut and ginger ice creams, but it was hard to tell what was what in the ice cream case. I made do with chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. I also really enjoyed the home made sesame-peanut brittle.

                  So all-in-all I agree with quite a lot of what I read here, including "worth it to go once, a second trip depends on how far away you live"; and "fill up on crab legs and seafood". I don't imagine we'll become regulars there, but I am glad we went, I did enjoy it, and I thought the value was good.

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