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Thankgiving Buffet in North Bay (Marin, Sonoma)

CyndiN Nov 23, 2010 02:31 PM

Looking for a buffet open on Thanksgiving. Good fresh food, local and organic a plus. Prefer a buffet because it's much easier with various food restrictions/allergies (I haven't yet found any fixed menu my daughter or I could eat). My husband and daughter would like turkey but other poultry is okay. I don't eat meat but would like seafood. But we wouldn't rule out a good vegetarian buffet and it doesn't have to be Thanksgiving themed.

Open to any cuisine. Traditionally we do sushi on holidays but anything's good. We normally go out on Christmas and birthdays but this year the Thanksgiving celebration we do with friends has been moved to Saturday.

We live in Petaluma and will be spending time with a sick friend in Novato. So anything in Marin or Southern Sonoma county is ideal but we're open to driving a bit further in any direction.

Really hoping to keep it under $30/adult (and not too much for the 5 year old). That's before taxes, tip, alcohol.

We used to go to Todai in Daly City (an hour+ away and quite a shlep) but they closed and the other locations are too far. We've been going to Gourmet Garden in Petaluma which used to be okay but recently seems to have gone downhill and they now refuse to make special order sushi, which is the only way my daughter gets to eat sushi since she's allergic to eggs and they insist on putting mayonnaise in them all (I know, ick...used to be a tiny bit with wasabi but now there's so much it makes you ill to eat more than a handful of pieces).

Thanks for your suggestions.

Todai Restaurant
10123 N Wolfe Rd Ste 2001, Cupertino, CA 95014

Gourmet Garden
200 S McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA 94954

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  1. Civil Bear Nov 23, 2010 04:47 PM

    Sorry that I cannot help you with Marin, but that Todai in Daly City is now a Kome. Same idea, but much, much better than Todai ever was. Bigger selection (they even have xlb) with a huge sushi section that will prepare to order.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Civil Bear
      CyndiN Nov 23, 2010 05:55 PM

      Yeah, I saw that when I was searching. It's got some bad reviews and some good, but pretty much everyone who compared it to Todai says it's better. I've had plenty of so-so food at Todai and some good food. It's not gourmet but at least they made the sushi in front of you and cooked the food, not just heated it. And they were pretty good with food allergies. So if this is better, it may be worth going down. We'll be part of the way since we have to go to Novato.

      I never had trouble getting a table at Todai and the waits for food were at most 3 minutes. The reviews I'm reading say it can be an hour or more to get inside then a long wait at each station. Is this true? I'm guessing TG will be packed. Any thoughts about timing? We can do a late lunch or an early dinner.

      I also want to hear about other options in case my other half decides Daly City is too far. Or if we just don't feel like making the drive.


      Todai Restaurant
      10123 N Wolfe Rd Ste 2001, Cupertino, CA 95014

      1. re: CyndiN
        Civil Bear Nov 23, 2010 10:42 PM

        By no means is Kome gourmet, just that if your family likes Todai they will not be disappointed. I work nearby, so I have gone a few time for lunch and have not had to wait for a table. The only long wait I have incurred is at the noodle soup station. I've driven by a few tames around 12:30 and noticed lines out the door though. I am sure if you go at a non-peak hour you should be okay.

        I did go one time for dinner and didn't feel the extra seafood was worth the higher price.

        Todai Restaurant
        2200 Eastridge Loop Ste 2074, San Jose, CA 95122

      2. re: Civil Bear
        CyndiN Nov 23, 2010 06:00 PM

        Forgot to mention...one year we went to Todai to find it had disappeared and become a Brazilian restaurant whose name I forget. Same price (though no more free birthday meal) and I think the same staff. Similar offerings with the addition of the classic Brazilian meats. So a lot less of the other stuff, especially sushi and seafood. Since I don't eat meat, this didn't really appeal to me, though it seemed fine for people who do. We didn't go back but now I assume this is a third restaurant. I am not sure because one user review mentioned Brazilian as part of Kome and I'm not sure if they were confused or what.

        Todai Restaurant
        2200 Eastridge Loop Ste 2074, San Jose, CA 95122

        1. re: CyndiN
          BillSF Nov 24, 2010 11:57 AM

          When Todai left , a restaurant named MC Skewer Sushi and Grill took over the spot. they did not stay very long. Biut yes they did have all-you-can eat Churrascaria (Brazilian grilled meats) on the menu.

          Kome's menu is more like what was at Todai and what you will find at places like Moonstar and other all you can eat Asian style buffets, mainly Chinese and Japanese fare.

          I would stick to the Japanese station at Kome. The Chinese food is nothing to write home about.

          Moonstar Restaurant
          383 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

          Todai Restaurant
          2200 Eastridge Loop Ste 2074, San Jose, CA 95122

      3. CyndiN Nov 24, 2010 12:06 PM

        Thanks, I appreciate the information. It may be too far for us but we'll keep it in mind. Depends how cranky the 5 year old is :)

        I just phoned Kome and confirmed that they will be open tomorrow. Holiday hours which are 10:30-3:30 for lunch and 4:30-9:30 for dinner.

        Kome Sushi Buffet
        1901 Junipero Serra Blvd, Daly City, CA 94014

        1. CyndiN Nov 25, 2010 08:57 PM

          We went to Kome. Boy am I glad I pushed for us to get there just as they were opening for dinner, at 4:30. There was no wait for tables and the hot food line was about a minute's wait. No wait for anything else.

          About an hour later, the hot food line was 15 minutes just to start getting food and the other stations were crowded with 1-3 mins wait. The lobby was full and they were using their take-a-number system.

          The food was all fine and very similar to Todai. My husband thought it was slightly better, I'm not sure there was much of a difference. Maybe it's the crowds but Todai was always very nice about allergies and the staff would go get someone who knew the food to tell me what had eggs or other things we needed to avoid. They even made me some special dishes. With Kome, they were outright rude when I asked. I think there were some language barriers so I don't want to blame it all on personality. I couldn't get any information about hot foods and only minimal about the sushi. I perservered with dessert because my daughter really wanted something and it took about 10 mins before we could get a manager to tell us, yes, every dessert except the fruit had eggs, including the ice cream which was the only one we were asking about (we already knew all the cakes would have eggs).

          I felt bad too because I spent about 15 minutes trying to get plain sushi rice and plain sushi shrimp for my daughter and the first two tries weren't okay. They started making me a roll even though I didn't ask for one and grabbed a handful of shrimp salad (I'd already said no eggs which means no mayo). Second try was plain shrimp which they contaminated with a roll made by the guy who touched the shrimp salad, so I didn't trust it at all even though they said it had no egg (there was visible wasabi paste stuck to the shrimp so I know it wasn't "plain" like he promised and who puts wasabi in a 5 year old's sushi anyway unless specifically requested?) 3rd time worked. I hated seeing them put that food in the trash but I couldn't risk it.

          The crowds really reduced the upkeep too. The counters for our plates as we got food from the line were all filthy. Not all stations had tongs/serving utensils. And a lot of food labels were missing. They did a decent job keeping the food refreshed and making sure there were plenty of clean plates and etc.

          If there was a Kome within half an hour of me I'd probably go several times a year. But it was a lot of hassle plus 2 hours of driving round trip (more if we're not careful about traffic or get unlucky).

          Todai Restaurant
          10123 N Wolfe Rd Ste 2001, Cupertino, CA 95014

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