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Nov 15, 2011 01:43 PM

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet Opens In Westside Pavilion

So what am I doing posting about the latest branch of a mediocre Chinese buffet chain? Well primarily to show how desperate we are for edible Chinese food on the Westside, and if nothing else Hokkaido does meet the edible test. Actually this branch is better than the other Hokkaido branches I've been to (which doesn't necessarily say much). They do have items not seen at the other branches, including mackerel, chicken dumplings and steamed fish fillets. The teppan chefs put on a good show but given the poor taste/performance ratio at their other teppan grills, I'm not even bothering with this. At $10.99 for weekday lunch and $17.99 for dinner, this is kind of pricey for a Chinese buffet, but I guess Westsiders are used to be gouged for lunch. Hokkaido Seafood is on the theater side of Westside Pavilion, ground level, fronting on Pico Blvd.

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet
4200 Scott Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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  1. i will avoid..I tried it once (in law wanted to go there for her bday)...and i said i would never ever go again..

    wheres the nearest panda express!?

    1. How does it compare to something like Todai? My kids used to love the long closed one in Santa Monica that was on Wilshire Blvd.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        It doesnt really compare to a Todai, which is primarily Japanese AYCE and has superior seafood. The best thing about Hokkaido is their Mongolian BBQ, in which case you might as well go to a real Mongolian place.

        1. re: Ogawak

          honestly I found them both equally terrible.

          1. re: ns1

            I thought the food in this buffet was only okay as well. However, a major downer was their policy of charging extra for crab legs. AYCE crab legs are the best part of a seafood buffet for me. Here, they charge 4.99 per pound of crab legs. Nobody ends up buying the crab legs and they sit around all day or multiple days, losing the freshness. Sad situation. They should just charge more up front and allow AYCE.

      2. Curious that a Chinese buffet would be named after Hokkaido, a Japanese place. Seems weird.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Tripeler

          Same with Osaka Seafood in Brea and Hacienda Heights, as well as a bunch of others around the country. I think the Japanese name emphasizes the availability of sushi, but a buffet full of Japanese items probably holds less attraction to the masses than Chinese dishes.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            A lot of Japanese food is not really suitable for buffet service anyway.
            Still, I think this points out that Japanese seafood is highly praised in China.
            I do know that dried scallops from Hokkaido are the most expensive in Chinese stores selling them.

          2. re: Tripeler

            Many Chinese people know that Hokkaido is associated with excellent Japanese seafood, as there are guided food tours from Hong Kong going to Japan just to eat in Hokkaido. At least those tour customers are getting the real deal. But yeah this is just part of the naming game by buffet management to associated their brand with a region famous for seafood...but for sure there will be no shoyu ikura, murasaki or bafun uni, mizudaco, shishamo, kinki, kegani or hairy crab, and the rest of the good stuff at this joint.

            1. re: K K

              Well, at least it's not Cap'n Blowchunks Wholesale Seafood Outlet.

              Shishamo -- hmmm, had three good shishamo the other night, full of its eggs, rich like bacon.

              1. re: Tripeler

                I think you might just have figured out their real name!

                Just saw Yelp listing pictures....the nigiri, raw fish, and bogey rolls look very hairy scary, reminds me of the NorCal Hokkaido Seafood Buffet....where the manager once went on a local Comcast Chinese/Mandarin program and claimed that their food has no MSG in it (maybe she was referring to the raw oysters, salads, soft serve, jello and cold crab legs only).

          3. I ate there.

            It was exaaactly what you'd expect.

            Like half a mediocre Vegas buffet. No surprises, positive or negative. Abundant flaws. Some edible dishes. Disappointing desserts. Sushi actually was OK, the rice was the real let-down there surprisingly.

            1. never had coconut shrimp that i wasn't in love with until i had the glue shrimp here.
              even the chocolate chip cookies were lousy.
              i guess i will stick with union buffet,at least you don't have to pay extra for crab legs

              1 Reply
              1. re: yogacat

                We were just at Union earlier this week. I have to drag my wife (mostly kicking and not too much screaming). I just can't get myself to eat their Japanese offerings. I had one of their mayo stuffed mussels and a couple of their cheesy stuffed clams, but the sushi always scares me.