Clay Pit-- new owners?
Claypit has been just horrendous during my last visit. I went during lunch. The buffet did not interest me at all, so I asked for a menu.
I ordered chicken korma. Chicken quality was just horrendous. It came in a little pan and the sauce was totally congealed, forming a small thick layer of curd on top. It looked like they get the chicken + sauce frozen in shipments and simply heat it up during lunch time to serve - disgusting.
I have been here for dinner one time before and I had the lambchops. The lambchops had the consistency of super tough super overdone chicken breast. However, the chicken korma prepared during this time (dinner) was far superior to the chicken korma dish I received during lunch.
It seems perhaps that they take shortcuts during lunch to get food out quickly - perhaps preparing the dishes far in advance and simply heating them up when someone wants to order.
I love Clay Pit, but I wouldn't order off the menu during lunch! I go for the buffet at lunch (the buffet quality always seems good to me) and wait to order off the menu when I happen to be there for dinner.
I think they are very, very buffet-focused during lunch, and they're just trying to get all the people who work downtown in and out and on with their day. (Since I used to work downtown I usually appreciated that.) The flipside is that if you order off the menu at lunch, it'll take forever! (And, as you pointed out, may not be top-quality.)
All I know about the Austin Clay Pit is that their lunch buffet resembles something that a guy nicknamed "Cookie" made for a regiment of soldiers in the waning days of the Civil War when supplies were short. I want to write some really nasty things, but I will restrain. If you want a quality Indian buffet for only a couple dollars more try India Kitchen on E Riverside.