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Aug 14, 2008 11:08 AM

East Buffet

Looking for some place cheap and interesting to have lunch tomorrow and I saw a couple posts about this Chinese buffet in Flushing. Anyone have any recommendations or warnings? I can't read Chinese so I'm not even sure what to expect based on the website.

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  1. Food and selection pretty good, signs in English, would not call it cheap.
    More interesting look at thread for Chengdu Heaven. Download and print menu translations. Have an adventure.

    6 Replies
    1. re: phantomdoc

      I LOVE Sichuanese food, but I was hoping for a little variety. $12 ayce is suspicious, but enticing at the same time.

      1. re: JungMann

        i think that East Buffett is a waste of time and you should def not waste your trip to flushing on that

        as phantomdoc said Chengdu Heaven would be one place to eat at and the thing is there you've got a ton of stalls you can pick and choose from if you want variety (Xi'an stall and many others)

        another place that is super cheap and good is Gu Xiang, here's my post:

        another option which i haven't tried, but looks great is Nan Xiang Xiao Lon Bao:

        white bear on prince bet roosevelt and 40th might work too, its super cheap and you could get a beef noodle soup and some wontons in hot oil

        All of these places will prob be slightly cheaper or same price as East Buffett

        1. re: JungMann

          I wasn't aware of the lunch price at East Buffet. I don't know if they will be shucking fresh oysters and clams at the lunch price. They may be carving Peking Duck. I have not had lunch there. Dinner was around $30 last time I was there.

          1. re: phantomdoc

            What is the lunch price? There are so many coupons and bright, neon Chinese characters I can make neither hide nor hair of what discounts they're offering. It looks to be either 12.99 or 7.99 depending on what the Chinese says.

          2. re: JungMann

            If you like Todai or Minado, you'll probably like East. They're on par with each other. Personally, not my thing. But I'm not a huge fan of buffets to begin with, especially with Chinese food.

            My friend says that the one in Huntington is far superior to the one in Flushing. She says there's less salt and MSG, which you know many of the cheaper places use to mask inferior ingredients. As I haven't been to the one in Huntington, I have nothing to say about it.

            Try to stop by the Xian stall at 41-28 Main and try the lamb burger. Only $2.50 and very delicious! I would say the lamb burger is destination worthy. Juicy, spicy and savory. And that's something that's hard to find in Manhattan -- not sure if it even exists.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              I have been to East in Huntington for both lunch and dinner. While I usually abhor buffets, I must say this one is very good.

        2. Bumping this as it was the only East Buffet thread I could find, and figured it didn't make sense to start another.

          I would say that this is a downhill alert post, but I think that the car is already in the ravine. We went today with some friends for lunch. We were basically told that they would not be putting out new food and that they were closing at 3:30pm. We arrived around 2:15. The selection was pretty underwhelming, with most items not labeled, but the 2 things that stood out to their detriment, was that my DW went to the duck station and asked for the drumstick (in both Cantonese and Mandarin - just to make sure that it was understood) - she didn't want to fill up on the bun, and she loves the bone. Well, they would give it to her. She approached the manager, who didn't seem to care at all. This was never a problem in the past. Then after she gets back to the table, one of our friends comes back with that piece. She was fit to be tied, especially after she heard that our friend didn't even request it. Thankfully, he is a VERY good friend and offered it up to my DW.

          The second issue, was that I believe that they were dumping leftover dim sum from the dining room across from the buffet onto the buffet. There was one tray of assorted dim sum items (e.g. Char Siu So, Spring Rolls, and a lone Bacon wrapped shrimp). I was on the duck line when I noticed the tray and while I was there I saw an attendant walking away with a couple of empty dim sum plates. In hind sight I should have stayed away from the Bacon wrapped shrimp, but it is my favorite dim sum item, so I put it on my plate. When I got back to the table and took a bite it was cold. Very disappointing.

          If it was just my DW and I we wouldn't have stayed after the warning, but we were with friends and there were others that were going to meet us there, so we stayed. But I think that, if you are going to shut down for a party and you are going to limit the food that will be served, it is in the best interest of preserving your brand name to know when it is the smart thing to turn customers away, rather than serving them less than your best. When it first opened, the lines used to go out the door. Now they are doing half priced sales. But, I think East's glory days are long behind them. I doubt that we will be going there again.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ltlevy

            "We were basically told that they would not be putting out new food and that they were closing at 3:30pm"
            This was the BIG red flag and they even pointed it out to you. At that point you should have walked away. Mgmt that doesn't care about it's patrons should always be avoided.

            1. re: Tay


              No arguments from me.... My DW and I would have dashed out of there, but there were others involved, so we went with the majority. *sigh*

            2. re: ltlevy

              closing so early on a sunday night? maybe it was for a wedding?

              regardless, I think most people have moved on from this place, since its heyday about 8-9 years ago when a buffet (a buffet!) with peking duck! lobster! mayonnaise covered scallops! and all the other crap that it wowed everyone with.

              1. re: bigjeff


                Yes, they said that they were going to be setting up for a party. As far as moving on, I was ready to before this but figured I'd give it one more chance at 50% off and that we would be there with friends who wanted to go, but now it is on my list of places to avoid.

                1. re: ltlevy

                  50 off? dammmn they must be hurtin!

                  oh, and I said "crap" with the greatest affection; they really did have some crazy stations like the seafood grill station, custom noodle station, sushi station, etc.

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    Oh, definitely... When they first opened they were amazing. I remember going during Chinese New Year one year (of course there were "special" new year's prices in effect), and the shrimp on the cold bar were almost the size of a roll of quarters.

                    But even the last few weddings that we've been to there, have been disappointing.

                  2. re: ltlevy

                    me my wife and 4 year old figured how bad can it be at %50 off, hey they used to be pretty good like 5-8 years ago...

                    big disappointment... not even worth the little we paid, shame

                2. re: ltlevy

                  same view... overrated, i dont get the hype around it...

                3. If you have access to a car, opt for Harvest Buffet, on Northern Blvd., in Great Neck, just inside the Nassau border. Better service, less of a "zoo-like" atmosphere. Essentially the same food. I used to go to East, but have stayed away in recent years. Didn't like their service and/or atmosphere. A friend told me they're trying to cut their price to draw the crowds back. HB has less square footage, but overall, I find a lot more pleasant eating experience. Have been there twice recently after a friend took me there. Distance-wise, HB is about 30 minutes east (toward L.I.) of East (no pun intended). You can take Northern all the way into Great Neck. Or, on the LIE, exit at Little Neck Parkway, turn north toward Northern Blvd., and make a right on Northern.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nooyawka


                    We've been there and enjoyed it. We went with a friend who is a bubble tea fiend and she was in seventh heaven. But we're coming from Westchester, so with that extra 30, we'll go if we happen to be in the area for something else.

                    Thanks for reminding of that place.

                  2. My family and I go to the East in Elmhurst for convenience. But we usually don't go for buffet, we just go for dinner, a la carte. Food is decent.

                    For buffet, we went to the Minado in Long Island a few weeks ago. I was quite impressed. Great selection of sushi (for a buffet), and other food was good, too. They have a crepes station (which my husband tried), a noodles station, a skewers station, etc. Dinner was $30+.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: sohjyu

                      I haven't tried Minado's yet. But another friend also suggested that for all-you-can-eat sushi.

                      1. re: nooyawka

                        I like it better for lunch. The extra charges for lobster is not worth it. The Rock Lobsters are small and are consummed quickly but replaced infrequently.
                        Be prepared to bring home an aroma which sticks to your cloths and hair. Its the smell of the food and poor ventilation.

                        1. re: jfmirabella

                          i've always had a weakness for the buffet east in elmhurst - ridiculous selection, fresh oysters & clams shucked to order, peking duck & lobster...actually thinking about this makes me realize it's been many months since i last went and now must go.

                          1. re: selenster

                            Working in Elmhurst tomorrow. Where is this one?

                            1. re: phantomdoc

                              Neighborhood: Elmhurst
                              79-19 Albion Ave
                              Elmhurst, NY 11373
                              (718) 803-1111

                              1. re: phantomdoc

                                it is across the street from the Pan-American Hotel

                                    1. re: phantomdoc

                                      Yes, but it's probably close to 10 years since it was Sea World.
                                      I've only been here for lunch but it's gone way downhill over the years.

                      2. I found myself in Huntington and as East Buffet (now known as Best Buffet) was the only restaurant I knew of off the top of my head, we ended up there for lunch. Based on the reviews, I was surprised to see that a lot of the families were Asian, but there were quite a few Chinese surprises to attract families, though I can't say that the presence of oddly-placed Italian dishes on the hot food bar attracted a similar number of Italian-American patrons.

                        I have not been to this kind of a buffet in many years, but many of what I recall being the standards, black bean scallops, sweet and sour pork and shrimp in lobster sauce, were generally poor -- overcooked proteins in disappointing sauces, though beef and fish dishes generally fared better. The more uncommon buffet items, however, such as baked shellfish, shrimp-stuffed peppers and braised baby octopus with five spice were pretty good. Jellyfish salad may have been the only dish I thought was just plain bad. Skewers were very tender and tasty, though my dining partner thought they were too fatty (I thoroughly disagreed). The Peking duck was not very flavorful, though the unexpected suckling pig next to it would've been great with a bit more crisp skin.

                        Desserts were generally disappointing. I appreciated the option of sugar-free cookies and cakes, though that didn't stop me from trying the red bean cake (bad), wintermelon cake (okay) and sesame balls (unfilled and gummy). I saw tang yuan on someone else's table but never could find it on the buffet.

                        Obviously when there is such a wide selection of items from which to choose, there is going to be a lot that is less than good. There was, however, a lot that was ok-to-pretty good and were I in Huntington at lunch time, I could do a lot worse for my meal.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JungMann

                          asian families love a buffet! they are the ones bringing entire plates full of a single item like crab legs back to the table; no surprise there.