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Universal Studios Hilton Buffet; THE HORROR!

We were invited guests to the universal studios hilton buffet...next time, save the money and go to Hometown Buffet; thier "food" is much better.

The only half decent thing was the overcooked sea bass.

I could write five hundred words, easy, to describe in detail the horror, but why waste time.

In short, though the service was really accomodating, it doesn't make up for lousy food.

We should have had a alot more quality for the $75 they charge.

Is there anywhere with a decent buffet now a days??

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  1. Details please? What did you not like about it? I thought it was rather fabulous and cannot fathom how you could have such a distaste for the place? Crowded as hell that Saturday evening we went but the selection and quality of food was phenomenal IMO.

    2 Replies
    1. re: macnut

      Hey Macnut!

      I spoke to one of the "chefs" stocking the sushi area and he said that evening buffet was much "better" than the lunch one... prolly costs double too!

      Details....geez...where do I start...

      1) the crab legs have no flavor...none... you bite in and it feels like a drenched sponge. My son, who is turning into quite tbe foodie piled up on them and only ate one bite...dissapointedly so.

      2) Shrimp peel only a tad bit "better" (like it can get worse???)... i don't mind peeling 'em...its fun... but at least make it worth the effort.

      3) Salmon (next to the crab legs) Looks beautiful...tasted...well...again, no taste...how do you ruin a salmon?

      4) The "sushi" was, well I don't know what it was...couldn't tell they had four or five different colored "things" in one roll... NONE of the inagi's had wasabi, the rice tasted like regular rice... very poor

      5) the sashimi....well...warm...maybe my cat woulda liked it.

      6) the beef and broccoli....I dunno...what breed horse did they use?

      I didn't DARE getting oysters on a shell, though our lovely friend ate them and lived to tell me the next day.

      The desserts, though they looked great, tasted like sugared flour....I picked out about five different ones, they all tasted similar. the creme brule... shouda been called creme spackling. the chocolate mousse, was more like chocolate paste... and I finally thought, maybe a bit of cheese cake would mask all and fix my confused palate.... NOT!

      I don't expect much at all you can eat joints... but for $75... c'mon... for real, hometown buffet was better.

      1. re: AteTooMuch

        Seafood and sushi at any buffet runs the risk of complete and utter badness...and I believe that's why Hometown Buffet avoids it except for a very few items. Med-rare salmon and stuff like Lobster Newburg can hold up okay but it's still a stretch. The price you quote however is simply obscene.

    2. If you are looking for a quality Sunday buffet brunch then you'll find your holy grail at the Four Seasons on Doheny in Beverly Hills. Also, if you are ever out towards Palos Verdes then the Trump Ocean Trails Restaurant has an excellent Sunday buffet.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        We have a GC from this place -- my husband and I are not fans of buffets (I don't get quantity over quality), but one upcoming Sunday thought we would try to go since it was free. I called on a Friday and they were already booked for Sunday brunch. Huh!? I couldn't believe it. I'm from LA and frankly, I've never heard of this being a big thing. The hostess seemed real clueless and there was a problem booking a future date so I have this $150 GC for a restaurant that we don't want to go to. Sigh.

        1. re: Silverlaker

          Hey Silverlaker,

          Yah, I'm not sure when it got popular, but when I last went (about 3 years ago), it was hopping mad with customers (packed and many people waiting). They used to serve things like Shark Fin Soup (so that was one draw amongst Asian customers) (but it's been removed since the protests by many customers), as well as all-you-can-eat Lobster. During my last visit 3 years ago, it was ~Ok, but it also wasn't $75 per person! (Yikes.)

          To the OP, if you're looking for a Sunday *Brunch* Buffet, I've always enjoyed the Brunch Buffet at the Langham Hotel in San Marino (formerly Ritz Carlton). Nice variety of dishes from Roasted Beef / Prime Rib, to King Crab Legs, nice Shrimp Cocktail, and fresh-made Omelettes, all served with a beautiful view of their private outdoor courtyard.

          1. re: exilekiss

            I second the recommendation for the Langham brunch. I had been a few times when it was the Ritz Carlton Huntington, and the quality was great. I've heard there were no changes made since Langham took it over.

            Also, the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey has a great buffet brunch. Really top-quality food.

            1. re: exilekiss

              What?! No more shark fin soup?!

              1. re: J.L.

                Hi J.L.,

                Not sure how it is nowadays, but during my last visit they had stopped serving it and even had a little sign saying that due to protests, they removed Shark Fin Soup from the buffet. They might've put it back on since then if you've been there more recently than I have and still remember it.

        2. Try the Smokehouse in Toluca Lake. It IS NOT GREAT but it is good. It possibly i the only general buffet I know that offers Menudo. Fresh cooked omlettes. It is good quality and it is reasonable. Plus, you are sitting in the middle of history.

          1. These high-end buffets that (mostly) cater to the Asian community are a joke. I was recently subjected to the Trinity Buffet at the San Gabriel Hilton (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/71854... ), and the only good thing I can say in response to your post is that it only costs 50 bucks!

            1. Shame, It's been years since I've been to the universal hilton, but the sunday buffet used to be really good, for a buffet.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rednyellow

                I'm getting the picture now, my step-mother is Asian --she mentioned the Shark Fin soup so I guess that was the draw. But man, a GC to AOC would've been swell. Any takers? I'll sell it for $50 (hee, hee).

                1. re: Silverlaker

                  i'll be nice and buy it. =) lols.

              2. Clearly the OP did not pay $75 pp. Sounds like that was the total for 2. And obviously the dinner buffet is the thing to do at the Universal Hilton. And even more obviously, what you must eat at the dinner buffet are the abalone and shark's fin soup (still there as of last December). I personally don't do raw fish at such buffets.
                IIRC, the dinner buffet is around low $40's, and a bit higher during the Christmas season and Mother's day, when they put out the abalone.

                1. I went to the Hilton buffet for Father's Day dinner, and I'd have to disagree. The buffet is still the best in L.A. However, there are a few caveats. One, it is very crowded (maybe it is because it's Father's Day). People were everywhere, and the tables were packed pretty closely to each other. Two, you have to be somewhat into Asian food to appreciate this place (it is about 70% Asian).

                  STANDOUTS:
                  Abalone (small whole abalones) with mushrooms
                  Ginger crab
                  Crab Legs
                  Seafood station (crab, lobster claws, oysters, mussels)
                  BBQ lamb chops
                  Shark's fin soup (yum!)
                  Lobster thermidor
                  Chocolate fountain with fruit

                  THINGS TO SKIP:
                  Sashimi & sushi (very mediocre)
                  Dim sum

                  At $45, it is still a great deal. Get a few bowls of shark's fin soups, a lobster or two, a few scoops of abalone, seafood. It would have cost you more than $45 at a restaurant.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: WHills

                    Shark fin soup is back in the lineup?! Yay!!

                    1. re: WHills

                      Thanks for the report back, WHills! :) Looks like they added the Shark's Fin Soup back on the menu.

                      Good to know that there are still some items that are good, and that it was only $45 per person instead of the $75 that was mentioned.

                      1. re: exilekiss

                        I believe it is closer to $40 on a non-holiday.