Jin, aka New Weylu's?
Ever since JIN became New Weylu's (or whatever it's calling itself now), I've seen posts from Chow members vowing to try the place and its new buffet... but there's been no word since.
A friend of mine is planning a birthday dinner there, and I'd love to hear anyone's recent dinner experiences at the place, if any.
I've been to Jin a few times, none recently however. The first time I went the buffet was amazing. There was a wide assortment of high quality food such as fresh sushi and crab legs. But the next 2 times I went the food wasn't as fresh and the service was horrible. This was about 8 months ago.
I do not believe there have been recent changes, but haven't been in about 6 weeks.
They were offering weekday lunch dim sum and weekend lunch dim sum, the weekend having more carts and more selection. After 5pm they have the hot pot buffet. And they have a full a la carte menu, the whole time. In general the Dim Sum is an improvement over when they were offering the full buffet. Right when they opened they had a la carte dim sum (which you can still order), which was almost as good as in town, but now its a bit variable. It helps to strike a friendship with one of the ladies with the carts, to get the freshest items and to bring the things you want. Unfortunately they seem to have other duties to do, so when I haven't been able to slip them an extra tip which I have wanted to do. They also have a bar which has various noodles (hong kong, chow foon), beef with broccoli, and seafood items (mahogany clams with black bean sauce, salt/pepper squid, small fried silver fish) where you take one of your tickets to get punched. The noodles you should only get when a new batch comes out and even so, they tend to be greasy and the seasoning is good. The mahogany are pretty good, although a large portion, and really really avoid ones with broken shells as they don't take the dead ones out. The fried seafood has always been sub-par, both oily and too much time on a heat lamp. Weekends there are more options. On the weekend dim sum you can also order sushi at a separate bar. This is pretty awful -- poorly seasoned rice, sometimes pre-sliced fish which doesn't have much taste... their specialty is multi-hued rolls with sweet sauces. Overall the prices seem a bit better than Chinatown and its convenient to have a weekday option (and not a bad place to have a lunch meeting), but its far from perfect. I haven't been to the hot pot buffet since it started, but have been meaning to go back.
I went to Jin with a group of friends this week and had their signature hot pot dinner; it was an interesting, if mixed, experience.
First off, the place is amazingly lush; walking into Jin is like entering the China pavillion at Epcot Center. It's a palace.
The service as we were seated, and throughout our meal, was very spotty. None of us had had hot pot before, so it was a little baffling when our server said, "Soup? Spicy or no spicy?"... was he offering hot & sour soup? Through hand-gestures we finally figured out that he meant the cooking broth for hot pot, and were happy with the 'half-and-half' option. We had to specially flag down and request a drink menu from a separate server, and it was difficult to get someone to take our dirty plates away.
The buffet of food was impressive: five or six leafy veggies, taro root, mushrooms, radish, four kinds of tofu, thinly-sliced meats (beef, pork, and lamb), tripe, chicken feet, various 'balls' (fish, curried fish, and beef), and a huge selection of seafood (fish, shrimp, baby octopus, clam, steamers, oysters, squid, dried squid, crab, and oysters on the halfshell, freshly shucked). Unfortunately, nearly all the seafood was packed in ice and still mostly frozen, and a lot of it was of mediocre-to-terrible quality; the crab tasted like powder. My dining companions who ate the thinly-sliced meat reported that it was the best thing on the buffet, and it looked fresh and of high quality.
They offer a huge range of sauces for your food after you cook it -- soy, garlic oil, sweet & sour, hoisin, sesame, tabasco, sriracha, and "bbq" sauce that smelled like fish. An incredibly strong sauce called "soy cheese" tasted like fermented tofu.
All in all, we had lots of fun, but the quality of the frozen seafood, questionable sauces, and crummy service was offputting. I'd definitely take people there again if they wanted a unique, adventurous meal in an amazing building, but it wouldn't be my first choice for quality food.