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Why do people go to All-You-Can-Eat Buffets?

I'm a journalist gathering opinions/quotes for a story I'm working on, hope the Chowhound community will help!

I'm working on a story about All You Can Eat (AYCE) buffets. If you like going to AYCE buffets, I want to know why. Why (or when) do you go to an AYCE buffet rather than a regular restaurant?

Also want to survey: how much do you eat at AYCE buffets? More or less than usual? If more, why? If less, how do you control yourself?

And if anyone owns or runs an AYCE buffet would love to hear from you on what that's like!

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  1. I think Americans in particular love bargains, getting their money's worth at all costs and are prone to over eating.
    I remember going to all included "soup to nuts" restaurants as a kids, and come hell or high water, my mom would always fit dessert in at the end.
    She was a depression era baby, so I think that played a big part in how she viewed money and anything considered "waste".

    1. Cheap eats, hopefully with good food... that said, cheap food, and all Chinese,in my case, all tasted the same...was it worth it....yes...but not high on my list of recommendations.... it was a cheap lunch for crying out loud.....
      I was amazed at all of the HUGE ppl in green spandex loading their plates with starch... they stayed away from the protein selections....which weren't so wonderful...just below average...what do you want for a $7.00 buffet....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Raffles

        DH and I miss our AYCE Chinese lunch buffet where we used to live.

      2. Often while traveling, the AYCE breakfast is the fastest way to go. And yes, we do tend to eat more there to "get our money's worth" as the buffets are often more expensive than a sit down breakfast would be.

        On other occasions the AYCE works better for me when I am on Atkins. I can have all the protein I want - sliced meats, chicken, etc. and the family can have whatever else they might be interested in.

        25 Replies
        1. re: mrsphud

          Hampton Inns does a more friendly diabetic menu, according to a friend who cares...good breakfast with meats... just saying...

          Breakfast only..

          1. re: Raffles

            We just stayed a a Hampton Inn and the breakfast was quite decent, I must say.
            Good protein options, with scrambled eggs and breakfast meats.
            Of course, DH went right for the waffles. I think half of it is that he gets a kick out of making them with the flipping waffle maker.

            1. re: monavano

              Hampton Inn was the first national budget hotel/motel chain to offer the free breakfast which eventually came to mean 'make your own waffles, etc. I would guess that every other budget hotel/motel chain owner(s) would like to go back in time and shoot the person at Hampton who decided the free breakfast was a good idea.

            2. re: Raffles

              I stayed at a Hampton's Inn in Indianapolis a few years ago. I caught a cold mid trip and their breakfast buffet was a godsend. I was able to stock my room refrigerator with juice, fruit and cereal. The food was good enough given the variety and cost.

              1. re: Raffles

                La Quinta Inns also serve a buffet style breakfast and they are pet friendly, to boot.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  The ones we've been to (traveling with the dogs) have DIY waffle, bagel, etc. I wouldn't really call that a buffet. But I like it. And it's a nice property

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Aren't all buffets DIY? True, they do have a limited number of dishes in addition to the couple you mentioned. The one we stayed at before moving here also had hot/cold cereal and hard boiled eggs.

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      I think of true breakfast buffets as being the ones with steam table food. Eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, etc.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        You're describing a 'grand buffet' while Hampton is more 'mini'.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            C, I'll bet you are glad you offered your opinion! :-) It is no wonder why some discontinue to post.

                            1. re: Fowler

                              Oh, lordy, yes. I'll be un-gold-starring this quite soon ;)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                And you brought dogs! No wonder you didn't get the grant buffet.
                                (this obviously is sarcasm)

                                1. re: Firegoat

                                  Well, the dogs get their own "buffet" in our room :)

                      2. re: mucho gordo

                        This likely won't count as a buffet, but it wasn't DIY either-

                        I walked into a hole-in-the-wall in Jaipur, India, and didn't order anything. A couple of waiters came by and gave me a vegetarian thali. Whenever I finished one part of the tray, someone would come by with a stainless steel jug and refill it, until I said I was satisfied. That was the equivalent of about US$.90. Jolly good too.

                        1. re: mucho gordo

                          Well, some buffets the waffles are pre-cooked or cooked for you, rather than DIY.

                          I was at a Holiday Inn Express that had a pancake making machine: push a button and in a minute a freshly made pancake would slide out. That was way cooler than a flip-waffle maker!

                          https://www.google.com/search?q=panca...

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            ooh do they sell those retail for home applications?

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I have not seen these pancake machines, but I will look for them.

                              My SIL gave one of the upside down waffle makers to my father. I think he used it once when they visited.

                              1. re: John E.

                                I just have a regular waffle maker. I use it maybe 3 times a year. But when I'm in the mood for waffles what are you going to do.... sadly its a mickey mouse one from my marriage some 20 years ago..... I like stabbing mickey in the eye while I put butter on.

                                1. re: Firegoat

                                  that just made me laugh out loud. My husband said "whats so funny?" I loved explaining that one!

                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                    Maybe Mickey can revitalize his career as a Hathaway shirt model, with an eye patch.

                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                      On craigslist and other auctions you can pick up a full commercial electric Waffle maker pretty cheap if your patient. One of my brother in laws is in the food industry and said just mix in some Ovaltine malted chocolate into the batter to add the malt flavor and your in business.

                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                            yeah what genius in marketing hired THAT industrial design firm, "we're trying to create a BRAND here people!"

                        2. I have a illness that prevents me from eating at buffets anymore but when I did I liked them for the variety and ability to take as little or as much as I want. To me it's like going to a potluck but you know how clean the kitchen is. And to answer your second question, I definitely ate much more than usual.

                          1. I like them because I love the "try a little bit of everything" style of eating. I really don't think I end up eating considerably more than a main dish + side type of dining, however usually those are often more than a person needs, too. :)

                            Everytime I go, though, I am always excited, and then start sampling dishes and reminded of the utterly mediocre food, and walk out saying "Not worth the bother". But then a year or two later I give it another go.

                            1. I love 'em. For me, there are 2 types: AYCE which is limited to one particular dish such as ribs or pasta and a buffet with unlimited dishes. I know the 'house' figures most people will fill up on the cheaper salads or sides and not leave much room for entrees. That's where they make $. I avoid all preliminaries and go straight to the main event as many times as I can. I like to think I come out ahead.

                              43 Replies
                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                Good strategy.
                                My friend and I used to go to ayce crab night at a local bar restaurant. Man, I miss that- tray after tray after tray, with an indecent amount of drawn butter.
                                Ahhhhh....

                                1. re: monavano

                                  A casino in our area has AYCE lobster on the weekend. We had it once many years ago. So subpar lobster it wasn't worth it at any price.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    This one is excellent....Maine Lobster.

                                    It's also near the airport.

                                    http://www.themanorrestaurant.com/the...

                                    Someone even recorded a 10 minute video of all the selections on YouTube.

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsJpW6...

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      God, are we going to have to plan all our travel to connect through EWR??? It does look quite good, I'll admit.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        The absolute best Cream of Mushroom soup you will ever have.

                                  2. re: monavano

                                    There was a place in L.A. that had AYCE beef ribs. My personal best, one night, was 11. Couldn't quite make it 1 more for an even dozen <sigh>. I know I got my money's worth that time.

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        IIRC, they were individual ribs and using Tony Roma's as an example, a rack has 6-7 ribs so I had almost 2 racks.

                                  3. re: mucho gordo

                                    Just realized there's a 3rd type; the Brazilian Rodizio. The one I go to is well worth the money @50/per. They just sent me a special price for my upcoming b'day; 30.00.

                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                      I've eaten at them in Brazil and consider the meat subpar considering the price. Did it twice maybe 15 years ago and now if we want steak, we go to a place that serves good steaks.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I agree, the meat isn't the best but I enjoy a once in a few year trip for the variety of meats.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          You need to try one in this country next time you're in Vegas. I think you'll find it far superior.

                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                            So you've been to Brazil and gone to a rodizio?

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              No, I'm taking your word for it. Just sayin' you might find the meat served here is better.

                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                But why? But honestly if I never go to Las Vegas again, it will be fine with me. Just not my taste.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Doesn't have to be Vegas; just using it as an example because the rodizio I go to here happens to be excellent. What I'm trying to say is that perhaps your experience in Brazil is due to different grades of meat being used. I'm assuming the standards in this country are higher.

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                    The Brazilians, being the largest exporter of beef in the world, might beg to differ :) But honestly just the whole AYCE thing doesn't appeal at all. I'd rather have 4oz of "perfect" meat than multiples of that of "pretty good." Just me.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Granted that they are the largest exporters of beef but, are their gov't stds as stringent as ours?

                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                        I don't have any idea and also don't know how that effects taste but since this isn't the topic at hand, I'll not spend time researching it :)

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        yes, when i thought i was dong a good thing bringing my "meat centric" friend to fogo de chao, it turned out that he turned up his nose at much of the beef saying that it was "super market grade"

                                                      3. re: mucho gordo

                                                        The Venetian in Vegas used to have an incredible Brazilian style rodizio, but they stopped the skewered shrimp after about a year.

                                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                                          "I'm assuming the standards in this country are higher."

                                                          Sometimes people from other countries don't like our meat. They are used to a more natural tasting product and it is our standards that are too low. In an international community like Washington DC, I hear this refrain plenty.

                                                          1. re: Steve

                                                            I'm almost postive that Brazilian beef is completely or almost all grass-fed and that can certainly effect the taste/texture.

                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                              I can remember when US beef was delicious. It is rare now to find beef that has much taste at any price - even the grassfed...

                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                Since the topic of varying beef standards deserves its own thread, I have started one here:

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967941

                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                  Our family is fortunate in that we get grass fed beef that is quite 'beefy'. The interesting thing is the beef is fed grass, actually clover and alfalfa, that is grown on our property. We have some hunting land and about 1/3 is pasture. A local cattleman plants and harvests the high grade hay for his cow-calf operation.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    We used to live just like that and it was great!

                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                          We've had five or six different ones in Chicago over the past twenty years and it's generally agreed that Fogo de Chao has better meat than the others.

                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                            Q, my husband is hungry in Waukegan - any suggestions?

                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                              I know it's SO unfair but I just have this bias against those chains that advertise in airline magazines :) Kinda like "The Best Doctors in NYC."

                                                              I just checked and the most expensive rodizio in Rio is currently about $60. And to clarify for the OP, rodizios/churrascarias aren't buffets. Well, not the meat portion anyway.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                They may not be buffets, per se, but they are a combination of that and AYCE. Sides and salads are buffet while a never-ending supply of meats is brought to the table.

                                                      4. re: mucho gordo

                                                        We have one here, and I did it twice, it was around Cdn$24 for dinner. But even with soft drinks, salad bar (extra charge) and taxes the tab was closer to $40 pp.

                                                        The meats were generally okay, perhaps the novelty of the waiters bringing the different meats on skewers/swords to your table was more entertaining than the rest of the meal. But they were only lukewarm by the time we chomped into them.

                                                        Okay, all the fleshy flirty samba dancers was the best, I'll admit.

                                                        But would I go again, prolly not. I'd rather spend that money towards a really good steak meal, like C Oliver said, sans samba dancers.

                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                          I once ate at a place like that in Chishinau, Moldova. It was a beautiful June evening, out on the patio. The wine was excellent, and with the dollar to Moldovan leu, the meal for four cost about 40 bucks. The place had no sign and if you did not know it was there you could not find it.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              All of the food we ate in Moldova was good. The place I was describing was said to to owned by Russian 'mafia'. The roasted meats were good and they served vegetables at the table. It was one of those experiences that likely could never be duplicated.

                                                              I was in Moldova with my father. He was there on a paid NGO mission to help organize the Moldovan radio and TV broadcasters. I went along and did some work with several Moldovan advertising agencies. This was in the 90s when commercial broadcasting and advertising were in their infancy.

                                                              The interesting thing is that my father ended up being mentioned in a UK best-selling book, "Playing the Moldovans at Tennis'. Alas, he did not make it into the film version.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                At the risk of being described "chatty" thanks for sharing that story. I loved it.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  Guilty as charged. That is one of my failings as a Chowhound, at least according to some. I likely will not stop my story telling, it's in my nature.

                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                    But it's food related which, to me, is what makes it totally good.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        I also enjoy your stories - please keep telling them.

                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                          The story telling is essential - food without context is tasteless (relatively)

                                                          1. The only time we go to them is on cruise ships, not sure if that counts. Although on a daily basis, I'm not a big salad eater, in that situation I am because somebody else has done all the prep of so many great things. That's about the only thing I find real attractive. When I didn't get salad, I'd have a pretty normal meal, i.e., meat and side.

                                                            1. I don't go to them often, but I will admit that I like them, although there are only a few that I go to.
                                                              When I go to a soup-or-salad AYCE, I eat a lot of salad, and a large variety of the fresh produce ingredients as opposed to the sour cream and cucumbers. Usually I'm full enough not to want to try the soups and the other hot dishes, and I never get dessert.
                                                              At the Asian AYCEs, I almost always eat more than usual, but I keep repeating to myself the mantra of a dietician at work many years back, which was "Have more of the best, and less of the rest". I've gotten a lot more disciplined about what and how much I eat. I don't feel like I need to try some of everything any more. But I always get some red, orange, and green Jello cubes.

                                                              1. The last time I visited one of these was after a hard (intensity) 3 hour bicycle ride.

                                                                Great, inexpensive way to replenish calories quickly.

                                                                1. Here in Silicon Valley most Indian restaurants offer lunch buffets. I like being able to sample a variety of dishes, or try something unusual (curried turnips, anyone?) I try to limit myself to just one pass, and moderate amounts, because otherwise I fall asleep in the afternoon!

                                                                  1. I think you might want to think about the different categories of ayce- because I think there are different paradigms for each.
                                                                    For instance, I think the categories could be:
                                                                    The Golden Coral ilk, Asian buffets, buffet-style brunches, specialty themed ayce like seafood or ribs.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                      A very Chicago thing is the Polish Smorgasbord.

                                                                      1. re: Querencia

                                                                        I wish we had such a thing in the Twin Cities. I remember reading somewhere that Chicago had more Poles than Warsaw.

                                                                      1. Great topic!

                                                                        I'm in my 60s. I can't get the "value" out of AYCE buffets anymore. 30 years ago--when there were no AYCE, I coulda destroyed that concept because of the appetite I had then.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: RedTop

                                                                          Me too. but not true...30 years ago there were plenty of AYCE places...even in Vegas @ Caesars when I visited they had the grand buffet!!...we are not that ancient...

                                                                        2. AYCE Breakfast Buffet: Great when doing low carb or Atkins. Plenty of protein choices.
                                                                          AYCE Pia buffets: Feeding teenagers. Cici', Hut or the like, let them fill up without going broke.
                                                                          AYCE Chinese buffet: A treat every other month or so. Just because one of the ones in town has the best sesame chicken and doesn't serve it by the plate. Twenty years ago, yes I would eat like 3 plates, now I really don't eat any more than I would in a regular serving, so I guess I'm the one they make money on.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              LOL... I have a sticking key on my laptop (new keyboard coming in the mail today) that delicious Italian sauce thing on dough :D

                                                                            2. I don't actually remember the last time I went to one, but I can tell you I greatly miss the two AYCE vegan buffets that the Seventh Day Adventists used to run in Manhattan - there was one in the east 50's and I think one down in the Wall Street area. I believe they were open until the late 90's and they were a wonderful lunch option. If they still ran one in walking distance of my current job I'd definitely go a couple of times a week.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                We had one of those in Boston (Country Life or something like that) and it was very good. I never knew exactly what I was eating and it was definitely loaded with plant fats, but most people I brought there really liked it.

                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                  'I never knew exactly what I was eating and it was definitely loaded with plant fats"

                                                                                  Not to mention those famous Loma Linda fake meats! Mmmm. Was it healthy? I don't know, actually. But it was delicious.

                                                                              2. I want to know why. Why (or when) do you go to an AYCE buffet rather than a regular restaurant?

                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                BACON ......and GRITS!!!!!

                                                                                I don't make it at home, so I enjoy a nice Breakfast Buffet on occasion...There used to be a Bob's Big Boy at GSP Rest Area that had both, but alas no more. In fact, I can not think of any weekend or daily offering in the Northern part of the state.

                                                                                When on golf vacations...it's a part of every morning, but the the absolute best are when I stay at the Marriott Desert Springs or Sawgrass Resorts.

                                                                                Before I die, I want to have the Sunday Brunch at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. It's C-Note.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                  I bet the Sunday brunch at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA is similar.
                                                                                  DH and I have to plan a day trip down there just for that!

                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joshua-...

                                                                                    I would never cook if I lived in the South. About a year ago I drove back from Pinehurst on a short Golf trip and hit an AYCE BBQ place in in North Carolina. On a Friday Night, it was under $13. Great Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork. I recently opined I would not be ashamed to admit to gong to Golden Corral strictly for their Ribs, Fried Chicken and Ice Cream for Dessert, also for <$13.

                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                      I heard that BBQ place wasn't good at all :)

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        Yes you heard it.....but that person was wrong....just like about everything else.

                                                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                                                    You might be disappointed, so plan to die another day!!!

                                                                                  3. there are times when i just want to have an ungodly amount of salad as my whole meal.
                                                                                    if i were to get that much salad at a "regular" restaurant, even a regular chain restaurant, it would end up costing me at least $45 out-the-door.
                                                                                    on the other hand, if i load up on 7 plates of salad at souplantation (ayce) it costs me a fraction of that and i get to control the salad fixings and have more and better salad fixings available.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                      With regards to a craving for Salad, there's a restaurant chain with a Salad Bar that's been around forever...and a couple of Diners too. I'm like you, I load up on salad but take the entree home.

                                                                                    2. I've been to a Mongolian buffet recently, several times, with friends who really like eating this way. And by choice, I will eat at Sweet Tomatoes from time to time. This is pretty much an all you can eat buffet, but the choices can be fairly healthy.

                                                                                      I hate the Mongolian buffet, because to me the food is mediocre. But I do get to season food that I choose to my taste, so there is that. And the cost is pretty reasonable. And I am hangind with friends. So I think the reason for eating there is that is where the others want to go.

                                                                                      Sweet Tomatoes is different. I like to choose veggies and dress them as I like them. So, if I want a not too fancy salad, ST is a good place. I also eat some of their soups, and I stay away from the baked goods which aren't that great anyway. I do have trouble staying away from the soft serve though. So, the reason I eat there is because I want to choose some raw veggies to eat at that particular time.

                                                                                      I don't go back for seconds very often, by the way. I mind my own business, but it has not escaped my notice that many people do go back for seconds at ST. But economy is not one of my reasons for eating there.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        sweet tomatoes is the same operation as souplantation.
                                                                                        they have absolutely no problem with folks going back for seconds or thirds or fourths.
                                                                                        it's one of my go-to places when i'm jonesing for an epic amount of salad (the other is an indian restaurant that serves a buffet-style lunch).

                                                                                        i started going to souplantation when my kid was a toddler and it was one of the few restaurants that offered healthful food that a toddler would eat as well as food that i would eat.

                                                                                        so many other restaurants serve deep-fat-fried garbage as "kids' meals" and i didn't want to get any of that action started.
                                                                                        in the days when i was a working single mom with a toddler, souplantation was a godsend. it allowed me to actually sit with my kid and interact at the end of the day instead of dashing around trying to shop, cook, inventory food (that, much of the time went bad before it was consumed) and then clean the kitchen.

                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                          We took our grand to ST a few weeks ago. I got him a kid's tray and helped him understand that he could choose what he wanted as we went down the line. He chose his soup, and had soft serve.

                                                                                          Weeks later he announced he wanted to go back to that place and eat. I asked "What place?"

                                                                                          "The place where I get to choose what I wanted to eat."

                                                                                          I promised a future visit.

                                                                                      2. A choice I missed was for dining with a mix of relatives. I have of course one that is too snobby to ever go to a AYCE,, but for the rest it is a way to accomodate vegans, picky eaters, hearty eaters, at a resonable price. The thing I most remember from going to the Golden Corral with my ex's family is those fabulous golden yeast rolls.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                          Those rolls are worth the trip. Back when I could still eat buffets I would go there and eat at least three rolls. And I always bought a dozen to go. I need to go get me some rolls soon.

                                                                                          1. Because you do not have to read a menu and decide.I eat at the AYCE when I'm gambling in a casino.I'm not there for the food.You are eating within minutes.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                                                              I don't eat in casinos :) Or if I do, I carry in a sandwich.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                Smart. Although I might not have stepped outside for days.

                                                                                            2. I like them for my 80-year old parents because they are a bit finicky so it means that they can have lots of little bits of food that they like rather than a single plated meal or shared dishes that might have some components they don't like. My mother is tiny and her appetite is not what it was. If she orders a la carte she often does not finish her plate and will never have a starter or dessert. However, if we go to a buffet she actually eats a lot, including starters and desserts.

                                                                                              I find that they are also good for larger groups and/or people on a budget or who have a range of palates. There is always something for everyone and you know exactly how much you are going to pay for your meal at the end of the night.

                                                                                              They are also great if you just want to pig out for a set cost!

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Billy33

                                                                                                Also older people sometimes have dental issues and they can pick out the foods they can manage.

                                                                                                1. re: Billy33

                                                                                                  My mom is impossibly finicky....the nice thing about a buffet is she can't send it back!!!!

                                                                                                2. The only time I go to ayce is when I go to one of those all inclusive resorts and the only reason why I go to all inclusive resort is because I have 2 young kids. Otherwise I don't go to ayce at all. Waste of calories on mediocre food. Even if food was decent, when you pile on different kinds of food, at the end you still have a big plateful of godknowswhat.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Monica

                                                                                                    I call it "lowest common denominator" food. Not bad but not Chow-worthy, IMneverHO :)

                                                                                                  2. 1 - price
                                                                                                    2 - variety
                                                                                                    3 - no waiting

                                                                                                    I don't like buffets, but my father does. When I go, I eat 3-5 plates of regular food, plus 1-2 plates of dessert. I also eat less for lunch.

                                                                                                    A typical trip to a casino buffet that I occasionally go to on seafood night might look like:
                                                                                                    1 plate of shrimp and raw oysters
                                                                                                    2 plates of crab legs
                                                                                                    1 plate of carved meat (prime rib, ham), other meats, some sides such as vegetables
                                                                                                    1 plate of assorted hot seafood such as crawfish and breaded shrimp
                                                                                                    1 bowl of bread pudding
                                                                                                    1 slice of pecan pie
                                                                                                    1 slice of cheesecake
                                                                                                    1 plate of fruit and other desserts that interest me

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                      Holy moley! How old are you?????? You MUST be young to eat that much.

                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                        I am in my mid-30s. When I was younger, I could polish off more plates.

                                                                                                    2. I haven't been voluntarily for years but when I was a kid, places like HomeTown Buffet worked out well for things like soccer or football team parties because it was pretty cheap per person and everyone could get something they'd like. It was especially a good deal for my brother's football parties... those boys could eat!

                                                                                                      Nowadays, I know my grandparents like Souplantation because they offer a senior discount and they have their favorite things they like to eat there. We go there pretty much whenever there's a family visit because we know they like it and there's something for everyone.

                                                                                                      1. When my son was a teenager I took him and his friends to Hometown Buffet and to pizza buffets so they could *fill up*! There was hot food at affordable prices and starving teenage boys demand instant gratification. I used to go to a large Chinese AYCE buffet locally because they served a fish dish that is a whole huge fish fried in oil, soy sauce, lemongrass and aromatics. Much too labor intensive for me to do for one person so I would treat myself every few months and go and dine to my hearts content on fresh seafood, fish, roasted meats and lots of delicacies but no more....new owners and the quality of the food is now sub par:( So two reasons why I did or would frequent an AYCE buffet would be ....a group of hungry people who want to eat now at affordable prices with many choices of foods. Me wanting a variety of *specialty* foods that are too labor intensive to prepare at home. I should clarify that I dislike wasting food and eating left overs too.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                          This reminds me (I guess it was the mention of "teenage boys") of a Boy Scout high adventure trip to the Adirondacks. A week of "pack and paddle" - hiking, then meeting up with a guide who provided canoes for the remainder of the week. Backpack "boil water, stir, eat" food all week. Near week's end, the boys (and good kids, not complainers at all), started a running conversation about the things they wanted to eat when they got home. Yeah, they were hungry for real food. Ahh, to be young again; I was doing just fine. Anyway, on the way home to Ohio, I phoned Mrs. Cheez (this was well before smartphones) and asked her to find a buffet where we could stop for a late lunch. We wound up at a Golden Corral in Erie, PA, and were there as lunch transitioned to dinner. Lunch prices, dinner food, a dozen hungry Scouts.... nobody actually got sick, but it was NOT for lack of trying! My son still grins when the subject is brought up, and that was over a decade ago.

                                                                                                          1. re: Cheez62

                                                                                                            cheez, yes, when I was in the scouts, a few troops pooled the cost of a 20-hour charter bus to Philmont in NM. the roadtrip highlight was stopping at a Looby's each way to gorge (and yes it was better on the way back after 10 days of freeze-dried stuff).

                                                                                                            1. re: Cheez62

                                                                                                              Oh to have that young appetite again! Hungry boys are fun to observe. Dead serious about eating:)

                                                                                                          2. I used to work at an AYCE buffet when in high school.

                                                                                                            It was one of the most hectic and stressful jobs I've ever had. And corporate management would always come and "shop" our store at the busiest time - i.e., lunch hour.

                                                                                                            1. When I worked at a small company with no cafe, we'd run over to the chinese buffet for lunch. Fast, no waiting. We could be back at work in 45 minutes or so. Of course they NEVER changed the menu so it was a bit repetitious. They had good turnover so the veggies were usually quite good.
                                                                                                              Not a fan of AYCE for dinner. I like to be served.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: waking1

                                                                                                                How did you stay awake the rest of the day?

                                                                                                              2. People who go to AYCE buffets like slop. When someone eats only slop, their body doesn't get the nutrition it needs. When someone's body doesn't get the nutrition it needs, their body keeps sending the signal to eat more. Thus, AYCE slop works great for them.

                                                                                                                Removing snarky hat now.

                                                                                                                30 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                  Neither the Bachannal nor the Wicked Spoon buffets serve anything resembling "slop".

                                                                                                                  And I would beg to differ that the buffet at Souplantation offers "slop."

                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                    OK. Speaking based upon my experiences only. Good to hear great ones exist.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                      Well, it's Las Vegas. Still would rather go to a regular restaurant- Bachannal is over $50, plus an extra $15 if you don't want to wait in the usually at least an hour-long line.

                                                                                                                      1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                                                        I can't comfortably eat enough to make the price of an expensive buffet worth it.

                                                                                                                        I suspect that restaurants would lose their shirts if they put out AYCEs that were of the same value for our dollar as a menu restaurant.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                          That's my situation. It's not a good deal for me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            Why do you believe you would have to eat more than you normally would at an AYCE buffet? Especially a higher end one?

                                                                                                                            Even a non-high end one like Souplantation, where the price of lunch is something just shy of $10 (with tax). You can easily make yourself a plate of salad, a bowl of soup, and maybe a cornbread, and feel satiated but not stuffed and easily come to the conclusion that you would be hard pressed to find the same lunch (salad, soup and cornbread) at a non-AYCE buffet.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                              I didn't say I'd have to eat more than I normally would ---

                                                                                                                              I have never seen a non-high-end buffet that was worth anything.

                                                                                                                              If a buffet charged a high enough price to put out great food, I just don't think I'd be able to eat enough comfortably to justify the cost. Buffets are not great profit centers; a lot of food goes to waste.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              I can. I'm sort of horrified at the amount of AYCE buffet food I can eat. So I try to limit my exposure to them, but when I go I don't limit myself, much.

                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                        Wow, that's pretty harsh. About the people and the food.

                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                          True. Not great buffets where I live. Subjected to too many of them during the offspring's soccer days.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            I understand. Maybe qualify your comments to make it specific to your area.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                              The seafood buffet at Grand Casino is pretty good. They can also cook a decent prime rib roast.

                                                                                                                              I wish we had Sweet Tomatoes in Minnesota. It's been a while now, but all of the food at OCB is not terrible. They make decent fried chicken and I like the salad bar. I never eat any of the starches. I have also found the pizza at buffets is always terrible unless it is a buffet at an actual pizza place.

                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                Not to pick on you at all but just to give examples. You say "pretty good," "decent," "not terrible," " decent" (again), "always terrible." That's enough for me :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                  Well, with the exception of the seafood buffet and a buffet with properly cooked prime rib roast, the best buffets are mostly adequate, with the exception of a salad bar, I do like those.

                                                                                                                          2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                            That's a really harsh statement to make about a rather large group of people. I like buffets because I can eat a little bit of 20 different things, instead of a lot of 3 different things. I like variety. I like being able to eat mashed potatoes, boiled shrimp and enchiladas on the same plate.We don't frequent local buffets other than Souplantation (a big hit with my kids), but when we go to Vegas, I look forward to the buffets at Caesars and The Wynn. It's part of the fun, IMO. I don't consider a buffet that serves king crab legs, shrimp and prime rib to be a place that serves slop.

                                                                                                                            I eat all kinds of foods -- upscale sushi, tacos from the taco truck near my work, street food in Asia, buffets and the occasional bean burrito from Del Taco. Doesn't make me any less of a Chowhound to eat food from all places.

                                                                                                                            1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                              The reasonably-priced buffets that I have experienced have mostly had terrible food, or at best been poorly replenished due to the cost of keeping things adequately and freshly filled.

                                                                                                                              I eat regularly at what could be considered holes-in-the-wall, as well as at very nice restaurants, so I am sure that I could also be considered to eat at all kinds of places.

                                                                                                                              My restaurant requirements are that the offerings be made from scratch from real food, be tasty, and of a reasonable value. I have never encountered a buffet that could do this for me.

                                                                                                                              This Souplantation place that many have mentioned sounds interesting - I'll be googling it.

                                                                                                                              If you have found buffets that please you, go for it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                Your original post said "People who go to AYCE buffets like slop." That was a very broad statement to make just based on the few buffets you have tried. My point was that I like buffets, but that doesn't mean I like slop. I like variety. I've never been to a $8 buffet, but I know they exist. My assumption is that the quality isn't going to be great at $8/person. But I have no problem spending $40-50 for a nice buffet in Vegas, because I know the quality is going to be very good. "Reasonable value" is subjective.

                                                                                                                                1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                  My resistance to spending bigger sums of money for buffets is that for half that amount I can have a lovely meal cooked to order. Hell, for $38 I can have lunch at Jean-Georges in NYC. Choices of two courses with three amuse bouches and several desserts throw in.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                    That's my feeling as well, c oliver. I usually get comped buffets in Vegas and still rarely go- except for breakfast.

                                                                                                                                    There are too many good places to eat these days on and off the strip for me to waste a meal on something that I don't enjoy.

                                                                                                                                    Perfect recent example- breakfast buffet was $22.99 at a mid-level hotel and egg choices were runny scrambled eggs or pre-made Eggs Benedict sitting in steam trays, or waiting 10 minutes in line for a fresh omelette.

                                                                                                                                    For the same money at Cafe Bellagio, I can have a lobster omelette with hash browns, toast and a beverage and they are all brought to me hot.

                                                                                                                                    I can see the appeal though for lots of people, it just doesn't do it for me.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                      Right, but if you're in Las Vegas, it doesn't matter that you can spend $38 at a restaurant in NYC. :) I can spend that same $40 at a nice restaurant here in LA too, but that doesn't do me any good if I'm in Las Vegas and not home in LA.

                                                                                                                                      My point was to show the previous poster that buffet does not always equal poor quality food, or "slop" as he/she stated. There are buffets in Vegas that serve decent food. Not wonderful, top of the line food, but very good food. It's about variety, like I said earlier. Sometimes I want to eat multiple things, not just two courses. That's boring sometimes.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                        <Right, but if you're in Las Vegas, it doesn't matter that you can spend $38 at a restaurant in NYC. :) I can spend that same $40 at a nice restaurant here in LA too, but that doesn't do me any good if I'm in Las Vegas and not home in LA. >

                                                                                                                                        I did give a specific Vegas-centric example:)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BubblyOne

                                                                                                                                          I was responding to c Oliver's post. ;)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                          I was, of course, saying how *I* feel about buffets in general. That for less money I can get what *I* want which is a couple of perfectly cooked dishes rather than "decent."

                                                                                                                                  2. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                    Variety is the key to appreciating an AYCE buffet. One of the best dishes I have ever dined on was at a buffet in Las Vegas. Sweet and Sour Alaskan King Crab Legs. Hot spicy sweet sour lots of fresh vegetable chunks and pineapple. Very well executed. I have yet to find any restaurant offering anything similar to it. I have not been able to replicate it here at home either.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                      Guess they ran out of pork shoulder that day.

                                                                                                                                      "Hey Jack, we're out of pork to make the S&S pork with !!!"

                                                                                                                                      "Ummm, lesseee, hey there's some AKC legs over in that large bin. Use them. So they're $30/lb, who cares, this is Vegas, man !!!"

                                                                                                                                      ;-)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                        I watched the chef prepare them. It was all done in a huge industrial sized wok very quickly. The sauce was thin not a thick sticky S&S pork style sauce (which I also love!).I can dream:)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                            Ming was my first *celebrity chef* crush a long time ago. He is a great chef. The chili crab looks similar. Great link and thank you for posting this.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                    Oh, hah hah. Once in Massachusetts we discovered a Chinese buffet that had actual real honest-to-God fried scallops (NOT fake seafood---we were an hour from New Bedford, major scalloping port). We managed to hit it three times in a two-day stay. Not slop. Ad lib scallops, which in Chicago cost $27 lb.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                      I'd be interested knowing where that was. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                  4. I eat at one local AYCE buffet. The food there is good and made mostly from whole ingredients on the premises. It is always busy, and so the food stays very fresh.

                                                                                                                                    I generally eat a bit more than usual, but that is really more because I really like a few of their dishes, and less because I want to 'get my money's worth.'

                                                                                                                                    I'm probably an atypical consumer - breakfast buffets and Chinese/Asian buffets are across the board off the table for me because I'm allergic to eggs and soy.

                                                                                                                                    1. I have limited experience at AYCE buffets but the value concept is the main draw. For the general public more food = value vs a higher price point better quality or gourmet food.
                                                                                                                                      The last time i went to one-in the middle of nowhere- it was a chinese/american buffet where a solid 85% of the clientele was taking multiple plates piles high with really high calorie high fat foods and were absolutely over eating what a normal meal size should be. The majority of the customers were also significantly overweight.

                                                                                                                                      1. I used to go because I wanted to bankrupt the buffet owners. Now I'm in my early twenties and my metabolism is obviously not the way it used to be so I take the "try a little of everything" mentality. My new rule for buffets is try one small bite of everything I want to try. If its not that good, spit it out, don't get it again, duh. Only if I truly like it will I go back for an actual portion. I'm really good with this when I'm in the savory section. Once I hit dessert, I just have to pray my hand gets tired from lifting the fork to stop me from eating.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: jennayly

                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                          "I used to go because I wanted to bankrupt the buffet owners."
                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                          ROTFLMAO !!

                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                          "Now I'm in my early twenties and my metabolism is obviously not the way it used to be ......"
                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                          Ahem, wait 'til you hit your 40's .......

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jennayly

                                                                                                                                            How do you go about spitting out food as a young adult in public? Do your dining companions join you for another meal? What do you do at non ayce places?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: holypeaches

                                                                                                                                              as a young adult its quite simple to put a napkin to your mouth and spit the tiny bit of food you tried out without being fussy... it's not like i made a huge ordeal and spewed food out onto the table in front of everyone like you make it sound.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: jennayly

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely 2nd the idea of a little of this or that at first, it's sort of like making pancakes, the first batch is going to be hit-or-miss, gotta let the moment arrive before a decent round emerges.

                                                                                                                                            3. First of all, AYCE buffets is a 1st-world problem. The idea that people can gorge themselves silly for a fixed price is, well, plain silly.

                                                                                                                                              OK, I had to get that off my chest.

                                                                                                                                              We go to buffets maybe 2-3 times a year. We don't go there specifically for the quantity (see above), but rather for the selection. AND it's a bit of an educational experience for our 8-yr old son. He has a good palate and appreciates different foods (he's a tofu and broccoli fiend, and now loves olive oil, olives, artichokes .......). I enjoy seeing him look at the different buffet foods, almost study them, and ask to try the ones he's not had before or is simply curious about. It's important for children to develop a wide palate for cultural and health reasons.

                                                                                                                                              The main reason I like AYCE ....... the soft-serve ice cream bar :-D

                                                                                                                                              1. The only reason I would approach an AYCE is to start eating the second I walk in. Just no time for anything else.

                                                                                                                                                1. The closest I have ever been to AYCE buffet is a wedding. While I am sure they exist around here I just haven't noticed them.

                                                                                                                                                  There are a number of AYCE meal specials at local restaurants liken asian and indian places but the whole place isn't AYCE and you can still order off the regular menu.

                                                                                                                                                  When Mass outlawed happy hours a lot of sports bars started all you can eat wings and thing like that but that seems to have diminished and I don't see that very often any more.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I started eating at AYCE buffets' when traveling with my family to Europe and Asia. Where we'd stay in the US - save for that one time in Las Vegas - didn't offer them, but pretty much everywhere in Europe had a much more tempting spread. The first trip I fondly recall with such offerings was in 1995, to London and Paris.

                                                                                                                                                    Then, in college in DC, I went overboard. Low-quality but good value (because I could eat with stunning avarice) was the zeitgeist, so numerous sushi and seafood places were often on the menu. Not to mention, in sophomore year I went to an Indian buffet every Saturday - this was particularly potent because after eating there, the rest of the day was a wash.

                                                                                                                                                    Studying abroad and working in East Asia reintroduced me to hotel buffets. After experiencing the ebbs and flows of the AYCE spectrum, a few places stand out:

                                                                                                                                                    -Intercontinental Park Lane (London), but that was 1995
                                                                                                                                                    -Taj Ganges (Varanasi)
                                                                                                                                                    -Intercontinental Bangkok
                                                                                                                                                    -Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
                                                                                                                                                    -Turkey

                                                                                                                                                    Jonathan
                                                                                                                                                    http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                                                                                                    http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                                      I once posted in favor of a small local chain of Chinese buffets in Toronto and got flamed by the Chowhound Boss for bring the concept "Chinese buffet" to this august gathering. Thing is, Chinese buffets in the US are usually, er, inferior but in Ontario they are an art-form, a whole other genre. Look up the website of the Mandarin (in Toronto) to see what I mean. I was surprised at this show of provincialism. AYCE isn't the same everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Cheap buffets tend to be awful... but not always. And expensive buffets can sometimes be well worth the money. So can cheap ones if you're choosy about your venue.

                                                                                                                                                      I don't enjoy 'all you can eat' of one individual item - I'm not going to eat any more than I regularly would, so one plate is more than enough, and you don't get to take your leftovers home for later so I don't think they're worth the money. I love buffets with a wide variety of choices so I can nibble away to my heart's content and sample foods that I can't cook or that DH is allergic to or doesn't enjoy so I don't make them at home, or that are too time/labour intensive to make for just two people. (I love salad bars too for the same reason - I get to fill my plate with the ingredients that I want to eat and ignore the ones I don't like...)

                                                                                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                        There are many Indian AYCE's in my town, and I find them generally all very good for the prices they charge ($8-12). The lesser ones would tend to have "more sauce, less stuff" in the warming trays than the better-quality restaurants. But even with them, I enjoy a good meal, compared to AYCEs of other cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                        I avoid Chinese AYCEs, I find there's simply too much deep-fried items, sodium and MSG-laced foods. Japanese AYCEs aren't much better. Korean ones are ok, they have a good variety of cooked foods, salads, casseroles and raw foods.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                          Indian AYCE buffet lunch is the only AYCE that I ever indulge in. A reasonable amount of choice and tasty food, depending on location.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                            I actually prefer Indian buffets to non-buffet Indian restaurants. For some reason, eating just one dish at an Indian place doesn't appeal to me, and I think they are a terrible value when you order off the menu. Most places in New York might give you a cup of rice with a cup of whatever saucy curry you ordered for $12 - naan is extra. The buffets are typically around $10 and you can try all sorts of daals, curries, biryanis and an assortment of chutneys, etc. - a very expensive thing to do from a regular menu. Additionally, Indian food doesn't seem to suffer too much from sitting in warming trays.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                              Well said. Getting the wide variety of dishes via a la carte will cost ya an arm & leg, regardless of eating alone or with a large group.

                                                                                                                                                              I do prefer the aloo gobi (cauliflower) to be relatively fresh, 'tho, so the texture doesn't get too mushy. All the daals etc. I couldn't care less, they're gonna be about the same anyway. Butter chicken, tandoori chicken, lamb korma etc. are better when freshly replenished from the kitchen, or else other customers will "fish out" all the morsels and leave me with the sauces, LOL.

                                                                                                                                                              This one little resto I go to in our "Little India" has AYCE lunch for $8 and when you sit down they bring you a BIG basket of fresh hot charred naan glistening with oil from the kitchen. Man, that's great stuff on its own, but once I get the daals and the palak paneer and rip the naan into pieces, it's CHOW TIME !! :-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                A Bengali place near me makes their aloo gobi piping hot fresh to order, and no buffet can touch it. In fact, no buffet can touch any of their food. And a tandoori chicken that comes out of the clay oven with a trail of sizzling, crackling smoke? On a bed of charred onion and dusted with cilantro? Or a freshly made kottu parota - it HAS to be made fresh to order. Or a gigantic paper dhosa....Ugh, those buffets are so lame in comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                But you can eat a lot.....

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                Where I am, the array of Indian food -from Bengali to Chettinad to Rajasthani to Mumbai- is very delicious. The buffets all serve the same kind of generic, creamy restaurant food and steamed tandoor that is a drag. It all tastes like it was dug put of the same pit. Much of the good stuff would suffer greatly in a steam table, and in fact those dishes are simply not offered in that setting, or they are changed significantly. Maybe you just don't have much of a choice.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                  I live in New York City - Queens, specifically - so yes, I do have a choice. There are buffets that serve the same butter chicken and steamed tandoor, as you say - but there are also buffets serving a much wider variety of more interesting cuisine from various parts of India. I agree that some of the most interesting dishes aren't offered on buffets, but that's why I visit the wonderful Indian markets, buy the ingredients and cook those dishes for myself at home.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                  actually, blondanomina, imho, some of the stews at indian restaurants seem to improve with a little time sitting in the warming tray. . .

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                    Save for the items not soaked in a sauce, such as tandoori murghi.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed, the only AYCE I go to is at the Indian restaurant in my town. I like being able to sample a few different dishes. I can't eat a lot at once, but the price is pretty cheap, $9.99, so I still feel I have gotten my money's worth.

                                                                                                                                                                  I HATE Chinese AYCE. The ones near me are truly terrible, focusing on the heavily battered, fried, overly sweet, Americanized dishes. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                    A plug for Tandoor in Sarasota FL, their $10 AYCE lunch is very good. 3 chicken preparations, no other meat, but the veggie dishes are really good. Seriously good, and lots of them.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                      I second Tandoor. Very good and the staff is very good as well. They don't treat you like you are eating buffet style.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                        That sounds like very fair pricing too. Is that an AYCE venue? Almost unbelievable that a delicious lunch is that inexpensive.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                        I've no doubt that the reason for your preference is that a lot of Indian dishes are still good after sitting around for a while and Chinese food suffers a little to a whole lot when subjected to that.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Variety. ~ A little of dis, a little of dat ~ No D-Zert, but end eating too much for lunch. ~ I only pay for the pleasure 3-4 times a year. ~~ Take All you want, but eat all you take.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent last point, UB. When I see people eating that food, there seems to be a LOt of waste. Can't stand it. We rarely waste any food.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm not generally a big fan of the buffet. But, I will go on occasion, especially if I'm eating out with very picky eaters. The big advantage of a buffet is the variety of options for everyone. If it's a big spread, there's usually something that everybody will enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                      If it's a higher-quality buffet, I will sometimes enjoy that as well. There's a Japanese buffet restaurant near my house that has a huge variety of options; everything from teriyaki to udon noodle soups to sushi. In this case, it's a fantastic bargain compared to what you'd normally pay for sushi or Japanese food. It's fresh and tasty because they only put out small amounts and it's snapped right up by the crowds so nothing sits for more than a couple of minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. "Why (or when) do you go to an AYCE buffet rather than a regular restaurant? "
                                                                                                                                                                        When there is a large group, then everyone can find something they will eat or enjoy.
                                                                                                                                                                        I also very much enjoy the "show" of people and what they choose. Kind of like looking at others' shopping carts in the grocery store.

                                                                                                                                                                        "Also want to survey: how much do you eat at AYCE buffets? More or less than usual? If more, why? If less, how do you control yourself?"
                                                                                                                                                                        I have "overserved" my self enough times in the past to know I will be miserable if I eat too much, so I no longer have a problem eating more than usual. I can't.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. The only time I eat at one is when I visit my family and everyone gets together (with kids, otherwise, it's a sports bar). There's something for everyone. Except "food snob" me. It's a Chinese place and I kind of shudder when I think of row after row of breaded, fried, and oddly shiny crud. Ick.

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                            We quit Chinese buffets several years ago. I don't think the food is high quality or healthily prepared, at least in the those that we tried.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                              sue, to me, Chinese food is the gold standard for something that almost always should be cooked to order.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                It's just all bad, all the time. And somehow tastes like an old ashtray smells. My dad says a I bleat like an injured goat when I protest the Chinese buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I find that buffets aren't a great bargain for me - I just can't eat that much food at one sitting.

                                                                                                                                                                              But I do like higher end buffets (where the food quality is good) because I can sample a wide variety of foods in smaller quantities. In the US, if I go out to many restaurants, all I can eat is an entree, so I rarely get the appetizer/main course/side/dessert experience.

                                                                                                                                                                              I would say I eat slightly more than normal, but not by much.

                                                                                                                                                                              I like breakfast buffets when I'm travelling and jetlagged. I'm not a breakfast person normally, but then I wake up early and hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                              The AYCE style I go to most often is probably hotpot.

                                                                                                                                                                              As an aside, in higher end Taiwanese hotels when they advertise a "Western Style" restaurant, they means buffet, which I find amusing. The closest thing to the North American Chinese buffet are buy by weight cafeterias (popular on campus) and the Buddhist buffets, which are similar, but with vegan food.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. AYCE buffets differ wildly!

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't eat at the "regular" mainstream discount buffets in my city. Mostly because I don't care for the type of food on offer ( mashed potato, fried chicken, mac and cheese,Salisbury steak, etc) and I don't think they are ever "well prepared" in the least.

                                                                                                                                                                                I enjoy going to one Chinese buffet where I live because they have a huge variety of interesting dishes, frog legs, dim sum, and a big variety of vegetables. They are really inexpensive too- bonus! I haven't ever found another one like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                I also go to at least one "upscale" buffet in Vegas, (several have been mentioned on this thread) because there are many, many good dishes there -and they are fun and interesting but not very inexpensive to be sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                I will also (rarely) go to a local Reservation Casino buffet if circumstances find me there, but they typically have mediocre to icky food with the exception of crab legs and salad bar. Sometimes I take my kids there ( for an evening out with my girls!) when they visit. We get hungry and just end up eating there...usually regret it a bit...but we still have fun. They accommodate everyone's diet preferences and needs at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with you sedimental. AYCE does vary significantly. The local family owned small German restaurant that serves an AYCE lunch buffet is fantastic. But their philosophy is to cook fewer things really well as opposed to doing many things mediocre or crappy. On the other hand, the big corporate chains like Shakey's, Pizza Hut or Old Country Buffet are terrible in comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. when i was a kid my brother and i would always want to go to old country buffett as we could have a lot of the options my mom didn't cook at home (family was vegetarian, we were not).
                                                                                                                                                                                  then in high school, on half days, all the kids would go to a chinese buffett for lunch.
                                                                                                                                                                                  now that i am older i don't seek out AYCE places but i do go to an indian buffett with co-workers which i think is a whole other scale as people don't go there to fill up like crazy but more for the variety in a meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                  there is also a decent sushi/japanese buffett around me and at $45 a head, it's also on the higher end.
                                                                                                                                                                                  here is a good guide i read a while back and follow to an extent. basically it says eat the more expensive food to get good bang for buck. http://midtownlunch.com/2007/03/07/th...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I also like AYCE buffets if I'm not very familiar with the cuisine. It lets me sample bit and pieces instead of committing to an entree that I'm not sure if I would like or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. They are the most economical way to stay obese. I recall a bumper sticker in the parking lot of an AYCE here in Florida that read 'fat people are harder to kidnap'.
                                                                                                                                                                                      In Denver, Pappadeau's for a while did a friendly AYCE lobster deal on Wednesdays, for a fair price, I thought. Professional eaters from Wyoming would drive down for it, enormous people who would eat 7 or 10. Grotesque.
                                                                                                                                                                                      So, it ended.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have heard that it is an owners right to comp the first plate of a professional eater and then ask them to leave.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I once went to one with a co-worker who was very large and lived to eat. It was a bizarre experience as there was very little conversation because his mouth was always full.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                          Back in the 50s in Atlanta there was an AYCE catfish place...for $1.25! A group of GA Tech football players went there. Eventually the owner came out and said "That's all you can eat."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh I can believe that. A group of hungry lineman could devour a large mammal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh man. AYCE catfish 'houses' are everywhere here. Not as many as in the past, but if you're lookin to fill your gut with fish you want have to drive very far. Long time ago I tried hard to put one of them out of business. They had a little trick they used to keep fish consumption to a minimum...You order AYCE fish. With in just a few minutes here comes very SWEET tea, Hush puppies, and FF. The fish came later, after your appetite had been suppressed with all of the sugar and carbs. I turned the tables on them..."I'll have the fish, and bring everything together...all at once, and I'll have water. Thank you." ~~~~ After two hush puppies, 4 FF, and copious amounts of fish I was a happy camper. Poor waitress ran her legs off bringing fresh, hot fish. ~~ Now, I get fish from a farmer up north 15 lbs at a time, or wild caught river fish. Can't do the AYCE routine anymore. ~~ Oh, and Bless your heart before anyone ask, the waitress was well taken care of...

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. ...because years ago when Don Murray was open in Raleigh, it was the best bbq I'd ever had and I could sink my teeth into deliciousness often

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. This is what comes to my mind first when in comes to buffets. Gotta love Clark & Cousin Eddie.
                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtkpTr...

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL, Allie. I sheepishly must admit that looks like a video of my roommates and I at the buffet when we were poor, starving college students.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. As a journalist, you might consider researching both sides of the genre - those that go to aycebuffets and those that avoid them at all costs. Other then the occasional breakfast buffet included in the tariff of my stay, which does not include Sunday Brunch - a whole other monster ----buffets give me the shivers. Especially the very expensive high end ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I rarely eat at an AYCE. But there's two reasons why I do - convenience and greed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  First is that one place is the "best" (and use that word advisedly) in our town centre. And, yeah, sometimes, I want to eat an enormous amount of food at a cheap price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Certainly it is not because I expect even to get halfway decent food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, as the customs worker said to me when I was in the UK some years ago, and I told her the name of the hotel I was staying at (the Long Island!): "Sounds a bit American" :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Last year we took a trip to Taiwan, toured the entire island. Our travel group booked some amazing hotels as part of the package (Shangri-La, etc). Every hotel breakfast was a buffet and they were absolutely amazing (except one) in terms of variety and quantity. 2 or 3 (can't recall) had fresh-out-of-oven prime ribs and rack of lamb (for breakfast ?!?!? ...... absolutely FTW. Hey traveling is hard work !) that were the tastiest, juiciest/tender I can recall eating in a long time. Fresh made noodles, dumplings, sushi, pastas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.shangri-la.com/tainan/fare...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.shangri-la.com/tainan/fare...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I mean if it were totally up to me, I'd scrap the daily tourists sites and just do a hotel buffet breakfast crawl :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The flip side to that were our experiences on tours last year and this to Turkey and Israel. Those hotel buffet breakfasts and the occasional dinner were totally meh. And, yes, we were staying in high-end hotels mostly. The best meals we had were at a kibbutz in Israel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Years ago (long before LR Jr. was born) we travelled to Greece. I was anticipating 3 weeks of glorious chowdowns. Well between Athens and all the islands we were on, I can remember maybe two meals. The rest ..... totally meh, un-inspired, bland. Greek food here back home is better than what we had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, no, that's not what I meant. Both countries have loads of great food. It was the hotel buffets that fell short. I refer to it as Lowest Common Denominator food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooops. I was referring to hotel breakfasts (some were buffets) too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was mostly referring to the hotel breakfast buffets. And in Israel, as you can imagine, ham, bacon and sausage were NOT on the menu :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I strongly agree here. I went on an organized Morocco tour with friends a while back. We were urged to eat at the fancy hotels, but once we saw the food, it was like "time to hit the streets!". Haha :D
                                                                                                                                                                                                          And we ate like queens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep. We were on escorted tours and they were long days. So by the time we got back to the hotel in the late afternoon about all we wanted were cocktails :) and the path of least resistance. When we did break out we had super food. And our next trip (Prague, Vienna, Budapest) I've added extra days at the start and finish so we can get the real local food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm curious about a slightly different question/situation with respect to AYCE formats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        What if, instead of a buffet setup, it was AYCE order-off-the-menu?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Would people have the same feeling/reaction to AYCE order-off-the-menu as they do to a buffet setup?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I ask because there is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant in my neck of the woods that is AYCE, but it's completely order-off-the-menu. No buffets, no steam tables, no chafing dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        For those who have an adverse reaction to AYCE buffets, do you have the same with respect to this type of restaurant?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are a couple of Japanese Sushi restaurants that are AYCE format.....but you order off a ticket. i hear pro and con.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I like the idea of the restaurants that charge you for the wasted food left on the plate you do not consume,

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have a casino restaurant that has an AYCE sushi bar and it's not bad. For the price. But they don't load you up with things either. And they better not catch you lifting the fish off the nigiri :) And sashimi isn't part of it. But it's not a buffet, as you say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I seem to recall one restaurant indicates on the menu if you eat the fish, but leave the rice....it'll cost you 30% added to your bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                a sushi place I went to here in Vegas has a similar sign posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            They do that at Border Grill for weekend brunch, love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ipse, I think hearts of palm disappeared from salad bars long ago, because greedy gringos, myself included, knew the good stuff. As to AYCE at a nice place, I could eat so much foie gras....yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The biggest concern I have heard about traditional AYCE buffets involves germs from hoards of patrons swarming over the food like locust attacking a wheat field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                An AYCE off the menu should appeal to those that share that concern. IMHO, a 1/2 pint of bourbon prior to entering a traditional AYCE buffet also takes the edge off that concern :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love Happy Family and have no problem with their policies. I don't have problems with buffets and AYCE, in general. A lot of Korean BBQ places are AYCE and I've been to many a red egg party at a "cihnese" AYCE. My fave is Todai (just watching all the old ladies fighting over the crab legs and lobster is worth it)! I think you go out to eat for two reasons: the food and the people. Sometimes, the pendulum swings more one way than the other. If it makes other people more comfortable, then I'm all for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are Friday night AYCE fish frys in Minnesota and Wisconsin that are not buffets. The waitress brings the salad and fish with fries. She checks back periodically to see how many more pieces of fish anyone would like. Personally, I usually get seconds on fish and then I'm done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I was a kid there was a place in my hometown that had beer battered cod as an AYCE and I loved it when we would go there. My two older brothers did not eat fish so they had burgers and fries (also AYCE) the restaurant did not care that hey were eating all the fries. Of course, I was a scrawny kid and did not cost the restaurant too much. I wosh I knew what the price was, I bet it was about $3.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used to live near a place like that. It was primarily described as AYCE sushi, but they had many other dishes on the menu as well. As far as I could tell dishes were always fresh and made to order. No buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There were rules:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - 1 1/2 hour limit, they wrote the time on your check when you placed your first order.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - 3 dishes per person at a time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - You couldn't order more if you didn't finish your previous set of dishes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - There was a limit on the amount of premium sashimi you could order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was more like a tapas place, where you could keep ordering the small plates until you were full. I always thought it was a great value (under $10 for lunch) and I liked that ordering three dishes at a time helped to pace the meal, unlike a buffet where you end up with a mishmash of everything at once on your plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        there is an ethiopian restaurant in my town that offers an ayce lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        for me now, it is ok because i know what dishes they serve and i can tell them to skip the things i don't eat (i.e. potatos).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        the first few times i went there, though, i didn't know what was going to be coming out on the platter, so someof food got wasted (all the potatoes).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I've seen fat ppl in green spandex......and crap food....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I go because I'm a fat slob that likes slop and doesn't know any better. I also shop at walmart.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I go because I'm a fat slob that likes slop and doesn't know any better."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don't be so hard on yourself... I'm sure you know better ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I generally do not like AYCE buffets - but do go from time to time because I have 2 young children and (i) most importantly there is no waiting to be served (my kids go to regular service restaurants as well but its not as easy on them or me), (ii) I can get them to try new things and if they dont like it, no big deal they get something else and (iii) they think its fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bloombee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also think it's good to encourage young children to develop the habit of fetching their own food (with supervision when needed) rather than just be delivered plates of food by the wait staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's a good thought- I hadn't considered that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And clearing the table and loading the DW! That's what ours did anyway :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't do videos right now but will check it out for sure in a few days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I go mostly for the variety, not because it is cheaper. In fact buffets where I live cost more than regular dining. I like to be able to nibble several different entrees and side dishes and help my self to a selection of dessert items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I don't usually eat enough to justify paying for an AYCE buffet. I especially hate the fancy $40 brunch buffets because I just can't eat $40 worth of eggs, sausage and smoked salmon at 11 in the morning. However, when I have no choice (dining with picky people, need variety to suit everyone, or there's nothing else), I will eat at an AYCE place. I don't usually eat much more than I would in a regular restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, one of the best meals I ever had was at an AYCE buffet at Disney World's Animal Kingdom Lodge. They had a massive buffet with boring beige American fried crap (for the picky kid) plus a lot of really interesting dishes from various African countries. I tried bobotie for the first time there, and it remains among my favorite dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm thinking of going to one - Dhaba, in Manhattan - tomorrow. Anyone else interested?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I go to a local chain occasionally, Ryans. It's not bad, and I like it for a variety of comfort foods and well-cooked vegetables. I am not a huge eater at any one meal, but this place is cheap, 10.99 or thereabouts plus drink, and it suits my mood sometimes. They have steamed, buttery cabbage, often even turnips or rutabagas, long-cooked green beans and bacon, very good, fatty and creamy mac-cheese. And I can get a few slices of sirloin or some reasonable facsimile. Very plain food, margarine on everything (although I am not necessarily down on margarine). It's nice to have this option when I don't feel up to cooking, and want an anonymous, fast meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Teague

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ryans used to be my favorite for southern food; it was once very good, they stayed packed but then they closed down. However, a couple of years ago while visiting a relative in another town, we found a Ryans nearby so decided to go there. It was horrible and I mean horrible. I left hungry and so disappointed. Haven't been back since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I eat all kinds of food and like variety. I find that you can go to one branch of a restaurant for buffet and the food and/or service sucks then go to another location and the food is really good. Case in point: Golden Corral. Now, when my kids were little, we used to go here in the town I live in and the food was decent. Until the food quality dropped and they began having pest issues. I stopped going; it turned me off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Over the years, I tried a couple of other locations in another state. Completely different, in fact, my fiancé & I go to one in the next state once a month. The food is always hot and fresh; they stay packed. But I still won't go back to the one in my town.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it's the franchise management.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          all you can do is make a direct comment in e-mail or writing (don't expect a reply) or write it off as you have or contact corporate suggesting the show "Undercover Boss".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pity, I've never heard of this place, but it's sad to hear of one location taint the whole operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. sometimes at the good places I wish I were a little old lady (as played by Nancy Walker maybe?) with a big purse I've lined in plastic bags to take home the would-have-been-trashed leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I used to love them but the world is getting so nutty I have become a little afraid of eating what so many people have had access to. It's a pity because it was always fun to pick out just the things I liked. Thing is, I REALLY can't stand the restaurants that are fashionable now with a little sauce fingerpainted on the plate and flowery stuff stuck upright in the food, which is some artistically piled-up combination of pork belly (trendy), butternut squash (trendy) and gnats' elbows (the chef's latest disovery). So I usually eat at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. People go to AYCE buffets for the same reason that women have more than one child - memories of pain fade with time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously, every time after I finish eating at one, I vow to never go back. And then after a year or two, I'm back. The idea of unfettered indulgence is just so appealing, and of course is never fulfilled in reality. But the memory of that reality fades more easily than the idea of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Since I haven't been flamed yet today on Chowhound, I read with interest many people who take young children to AYCE so they can pick out their own food and experience variety. I think this is a great idea. However, (there is always a however) If it is a busy lunch time, you can assume people are there are a tight schedule for work.... if your sweetest toddler is toddling along backing up the line, it might be worth considering going at a nother time or helping them pick out their plate so everyone else has a chance to eat before having to run back to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I suppose that's a possible scenario, but the two places I go to have plenty of other optionsand they're not all that crowded, so you don't have to breathe down the neck of a little kid who's trying to figure life out for himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wouldn't have mentioned it if I hadn't run into it several times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That would be extremely annoying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. This one answers itself: people go to all-you-can-eat buffets to eat all they can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The last AYCE buffet was on a cruise ship, two years ago. Two times each day, breakfast and lunch...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The food was good, very good at times, but not GREAT!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ate too much, for the first few days, then sort of looked at as , hey...just because it is there, I don't have to eat it today...maybe tomorrow...after 9 days, I did try everything, so for me it was not eating like I have two assholes each sitting, but rather a chance to try something different at breakfast and lunch each day....isn't that what vacations are for? Oh, and cake at the end of each meal...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Been a while since I've been to AYCE (not counting my trip on the Queen Mary 2) and I am now too old to stock up massively. I still go to Indian buffets just because they are good and cheap but try not to eat myself into a coma. When I was in my 20s I had a massive capacity which I used to good effect at tasty buffets like Vancouver's Ship of the Seven Seas. It always seemed to be that a young penniless student could get 2 days worth of eating out of one buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's sad, isn't it, that the older we get the less we can eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We save a good bit of money that way :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I may eat less but I sure eat better! Not a lot of money saved unfortunately....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, there is THAT! But we hover over the "brown meat" dept when in the grocery so frequently score 30% even 50% off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The ones I have really enjoyed are not advertised as AYCE, but a wonderful Sunday Brunches that are essentially AYCE -The Hyatt in Cambridge, MA used to have a spectacular brunch buffet and a great restaurant in DC called Tony and Joe's has a great one too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like them because of the variety of choices- I could have a variety of so many different dishes, as both of these really have a full menu of choices and not just brunch type of menu. It is fun to go with a group of friends or the family and try many things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For me, it more of a Smorgasbord effect rather than one of volume.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: laraffinee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A nice leisurely Sunday Brunch is one of life's great treasures in my mind....and belly, especially at Resort Hotels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But when you're having brunch, we've been up for five or six yours :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                @lara, I do remember now some years ago, while visiting friends, they took us to a place that had the big buffet but also a small menu where they cooked eggs and a few other things to order. That was actually quite nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hours :) Thanks. fourunder isn't an early riser.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. So, Easter is on the horizon, and I get to choose a buffet that features AYCE. This should be a good time for me and 10 other family members!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Expensive? Moderately. Memory-making? Definately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RedTop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A "memory making" AYCE should be an interesting challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Memory-making" as to the company I'll be keeping :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. As part of your research, I recommend the first article in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Secret Ingredients, the New Yorker's anthology of its food writing. If memory serves, it's from the 1920's. It goes into great detail describing the "beefsteak dinner", which no longer exists. These were AYCE events at which enormous amounts of sliced bread topped with sliced meats were consumed, with a few sides like celery sticks. There was a flat charge, and women did not attend. The extent of the gluttony is mind-boggling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Modern beefsteak attendees often follow an unspoken protocol to leave their bread slices uneaten. Piling them up in front of one's plate instead of consuming them "saves valuable stomach capacity for more beef while simultaneously serving as an informal scorekeeping system".[1]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smoledman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    no wonder gout was so prevalent and men died young.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that kind of thing is just... obscene. I recoil. I've never seen a 'snuff flick' or kiddie porn, but imagine only they could gather a response more vivid and distinct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          not that I am in ANY way equating these things, just exaggerating my repulsion for effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hear ya. It's quite disgusting too IMO. I'm sure there's long-term damage to their esophagus, stomach, intestines and pancreas. Not to mention the sudden shock of sodium, carbohydrate and simply all that mass. All for a bit of fame and fortune.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That reminds me of the old photos I have seen of the *free lunch* way back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. To see if you can eat more than what you pay for and the variety of foods offered.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What I don't get is why do people go to AYCE places and they eat the garbage stuff like pizza, fries, bread, fried chicken, spaghetti, salad bar and jello or pudding?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Shouldn't they eat the high end stuff like the crab, clams oysters (seafood), sushi, meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: flylice2x

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sushi at an AYCE buffet is not *high end* dining my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't really trust the sushi at a buffet unless it's turning over fast and there's a chef rolling more in front of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do not eat it. I have tried to like it but I do not care for any of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Simply because the chef is rolling more in front of you does not mean the fish is of high quality or not old. If you do not believe me, go to one of those sushi places that offer 50% off on Mondays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                true - but at least it hasn't been sitting out for hours. and ya don't go somewhere like that expecting quality in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, especially when you happen to venture into Cap'n Blowchunks Wholesale Sushi Outlet and Sea Creature Warehouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Getting sick from bad seafood is a good education as to the true meaning of getting sick. Maybe worth the risk for the young and adventurist, but been there, done it and old enough to know better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hubby became sick after eating seafood last August; he tore his esophagus vomiting and almost bled out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tell this tale only because some people scoff at food poisoning (not you, Tom34 - just thought this was a good place to stick this).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Food poisoning is nothing to toy with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, that's the nightmare scenario. I couldn't image seeing my wife in such a life threatening situation. Added terror would be being in a country with sparse healthcare facilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My two worst experiences with food poisoning have been from seafood - specifically oysters and cockles. In both cases I felt like death for 2 days and still felt not quite right for 2 weeks. Regular food poisoning seems like a luxury vacation in comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did you consume them raw or were they just *bad/spoiled* to begin with? Listeria can cause a lot of grief.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The oysters were raw and the cockles had been boiled

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. When I run through my restaurant options and they all seem (at best) mediocre, I figure why not go somewhere and have a vast array of mediocrity from which to choose. That's when I'll opt for an AYCE buffet. I'm not relegated to one entree that is likely to disappoint. The ability to sample different thinks makes up for not having any one thing that is all that great. This "sampling" leads me to eat more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. My Mom didn't like AYCE places because "I can't eat that much"!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      makes you wonder how well that group of fast places in NYC would have gone over (or under) had they named themselves "Durian King" instead of Papaya...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Our friend just answered this question. I myself don't really like buffets but he says that he loves Chinese/Japanese buffets. He says that he can have a taste of a number of things that he likes so he goes at least once a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Here's my take, it's a bit rambling... My family enjoys AYCE buffet. Particularly a good seafood, Indian, brunch or Asian buffet. #1. You can eat as much of your favorite dish as you like, i.e. lobster (at the better buffets, i.e. the Manor in West Orange NJ) shrimp, crab legs, anything shellfish are our favorites. #2. You can sample dishes you normally would not eat. This is especially good for the Indian buffets #3 There is usually something for everyone in your party #4 A typical buffet is far less expensive than going to a diner for a full dinner. #5 I like the condiments at Indian and Asian buffets. Every Mother's Day we go to the Hilton for their annual brunch. It just dawned on me another reason I like them especially the brunches... you can tell the chef how you would like something, i.e. I want the end cut of that part of the prime rib, or I'd like that turkey wing, or that crispy bit of lamb over there. I'd like my omelet with extra cheese, and watch it as it cooks to your perfection. #6 I also think buffets are good for those who like to control their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Buffets are a usually affordable option for groups with diverging tastes. Or for two very hungry people :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I guess you won't be collecting info from KSA anytime soon. LOLhttp://www.ibtimes.co.uk/saudi-cleric-issues...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The keyword here is not Fatwa, but simply Fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My husband has the best answer to this question;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Because it's ALL you can eat, that's why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just saw a news report: A fatwa has been issued forbidding muslims from eating at AYCE buffets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am not kidding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cultural chasms can be astounding. The Fatwa was delivered from Saudi Arabia. Topics such as this are usually short lived here, although I think people everywhere have a right to know what's going on, culturally and world wide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, sometimes the cultures and beliefs of people from far off lands are astonishing. I wonder if the anti-AYCE and the not borrowing money thing are related?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have heard about a go-around to the borrowing thing - they can borrow as long as they don't pay interest. I have heard of those who have manipulated such a deal based upon religious beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They might be 'borrowing' from each other and 'interest' is another subject, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think one very large reason is that people are under the impression that they are getting some things for nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I only eat at one, and it isn't the ayce factor. It's a vegetable heavy Mediterranean place that has a solid buffet of excellent quality. I like it because I can get a variety for a decent price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Guess he's against breaking the fast during Ramadan too

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I enjoy a good buffet. I like to see and select the food I eat rather than order off a menu on some occasions. The AYCE does not attract me but the variety of the offerings. I usually select several small taste size portions and then go back for a couple of the foods that appeal to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I live in New England. There is a pan-Indian vegetarian restaurant nearby that has AYCE buffets. That's ideal for me because I can sample a multitude of unidentifiable dishes. I know that mutter is peas, gobhi is cauliflower, and a few other terms but most of their dishes have names, and often ingredients and spices, that I have never before encountered and cannot identify. Also, it seems that the workers there don't spell with consistency so the same dish may not be labeled the same next time. And many if not most of the buffet dishes are not on the regular menu. The food there is always wonderful, but some of it is too spicy for me so I appreciate being able to try just a taste, then go back for the choices I like best. To borrow from the Marines recruitment ad: "It's not a restaurant, it's an adventure."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I go to AYCE buffets only when my friends want to go. Gastric bypass [very successful] and I can't even take a taste of everything i'd like to try before getting full. But there's an indian vegetarian buffet that I love - and again, I'll go only when friends want to. It's about the company for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If I'm in a higher end hotel with an AYCE breakfast or lunch buffet, I'll usually order off the menu. It ends up being just under the buffet price, and i have better control of what I'm eating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The economics of AYCE buffets was a topic on public radio's "Marketplace" today: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/bus...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's interesting that the article says restaurants price based upon an avg. customer eating a pound of food, then thinking about what the wholesale cost per pound of the food is that I usually select on the few times I've been to a chain buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember as a kid, our occasional special treat (for putting up with the much healthier fare we ate at home) was a trip to the local outlet of the Smorgabob's chain. It was very cheap—kids could eat for 10¢ per year of age, I think up to 12 years old, then you paid full price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even into the 70s, a study group I belonged to in high school would meet up there, and lunch on Saturdays couldn't have been more than $2.25, because we'd all chip in $2.50 to include a tip when the bill came. Boy, their fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy were good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now that I think of it though, $2.50 was more than some of the kids made in an hour in after school jobs. But dinner prices at the major buffet chains have stayed pretty close to a bit more than the minimum wage (never made that association in my mind before), but what's changed the most is that you now have to pay for the beverage bar separately, usually about $2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I spoke to a MGR of a Chinese AYCE and he told me its all about volume and their goal was to break even with the men, make about 20% on the women and 50% on the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to cater occasionally, and also often threw big big parties. up to 150 people, for which I cooked for and fed all who came all they wanted to eat. I used 1 lb. per person as my guideline for how much food to prepare. So the 1 lb. standard used by the AYCE buffets sounds right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I only hit Chinese and Japanese buffets. The Japanese sushi ones are half Chinese anyhow. Indian buffet once in a while. I'll tank up but it is the the only meal I will eat that day so I don't feel bad about it in the least. I like selecting exactly what I will eat. Ordering a normal meal is one dimensional compared to a good buffet. One plus is I don't have to ask the waiter for condiments and have to wait five minutes for some hot sauce or mustard. I get them myself. I like the sushi on buffets. I could care less about eating A#1 sushi. It's the biggest scam and snobby one upmanship in years. It is laughable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Chinese buffet near me has steamed whole flounder. I always eat some of that. That is at least a $15 dish. It has chow fun and some dim sum. Very nice Chinese greens and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also hit Sweet Tomatoes once a month

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        52 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I could be wrong but with the razor thin margins at most AYCE places I suspect everything that can be put away at closing time is probably seen by the early birds the following day. Maybe later in the day is a better time? Can anybody confirm or deny this theory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure if it matters when they are probably dumping new stuff on top of old stuff without washing/emptying the serving container very often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Too unsanitary for you. You should never eat at a buffet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Against health regulations too, most likely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to admit that I've never looked at AYCEs the same way after reading Bourdain's experience at maintaining the buffet for the Rockefeller Center Luncheon Club.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Somebody somewhere is eating each day's leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I worked for a hotel with a very respectable Sunday Brunch, the leftovers were either served as is (mainly the desserts), or reworked somehow into one of the choices on the buffet for the meals every employee was eligible to eat once every shift.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But every Sunday, the buffet for customers was stocked with freshly prepared food. No leftovers there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If its happening at the Rockefeller Center Luncheon Club its a pretty safe bet the lower end AYCE's are doing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A friend owns a nice restaurant and he told me he is paying on average $8.00 lb plus for #2 grade Yellowfin which he serves lightly seared as an appetizer. I pay on avg $13.00 lb for #1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another friend owns a pizza parlor and he told me even if he bought the cheapest ingredients available he could not make the necessary profit at $7.99 AYCE pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have been to inexpensive AYCE's with a very close friend who owns a commercial bakery and he loves them. He also loves upscale dining. Its one of those things, great variety, unlimited quantity and dirt cheap. Its like LastZZ said below, if it works for the individual thats all that really matters. For me I will go at a good friend's request but its not my pick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As one has said "Never eat discount Sushi"...........In order to sell it cheaply, you have to buy it even more cheaply............

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FWIW, many if not most sushi places, especially the low and mid level ones, appear to get their fish from True World Foods, which is the largest sushi supplier in the US and is a Unification Church operation (the "Moonies") that has had many questions asked about its business practices. Make what you will of it, but it does give me pause.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have already telegraphed I have a built in immunity to medium grade sushi. Cheap sushi is "in" for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used to sell fish lastZZ and lower grade tuna (fat %) can be very good but most of it is IQF. I have had great IQF & I have had terrible IQF. I think the biggest factor with IQF fish is the time in the warehouse freezer. Fish does not hold well in the freezer. Freezer burn does not take long to start and a very distinct fishy flavor develops if burn sets in. Trimming burnt edges and soaking in butter milk helps. A good dollop of Wasabi also works :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If I understand correctly, by law, in the US, all sushi fish must have been frozen somewhere along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For that matter, essentially all tuna served in Japan has been frozen on the boats and is brought to market frozen. If you ever see one of those videos of the central fish market in Tokyo, watch the tuna as they drop them off the trucks onto the selling floor. They bounce and skid around. In other words, they are frozen as hard as bricks. These are the same fish that then sell for (the equivalent of) hundreds of dollars per pound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Glistening fresh" sushi is a total myth, and anytime anyone suggests the best sushi is the freshest, you can safely write him off as not knowing his subject.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Giant Tuna purchased off the docks at Mountauk most certainly are not frozen, just iced before leaving on a jet plane....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          in the usa, at least, tuna is the sole exception. any other fish, in order to be sold in raw preparations, is required by law to have been frozen first. the freezing kills parasites dangerous to humans. many countries i believe have similar laws. if you're eating any kind of raw sushi fish OTHER than tuna (due to tuna's low susceptibility to parasites)...unless you caught it yourself, bad news, it's been frozen. (even if you catch it yourself i strongly recommend NOT eating it raw, the health risks can be significant.) the rule does not to my knowledge apply to non-fish raw items, like scallops, uni, squid, shrimp, oysters, and so forth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ah sorry, i never eat farmed salmon so forgot to consider it. as far as not being "a law", if it's FDA guidelines isn't effectively the law? my understanding is that any establishment serving raw fish never frozen (excluding tuna and thanks for pointing out, farmed salmon) is required then to disclose, in writing, to every consumer the relevant parasite risks? same as those pesky warnings about rare meat and runny egg yolks? i believe that failure to make such disclosures IS illegal. so technically, i guess you're right, you could choose to serve raw fish that hadn't been frozen to the parasite destruction point...but should you do so you'd need to list warnings about parasite infestation to all your clients, or you'd be in violation of FDA guidelines and failing to disclose your deviation from said guidelines, leaving you open to the mother of all lawsuits. i've never read a warning about getting worms in a sushi joint, so i believe that means the establishments i frequent adhere to the FDA guidelines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              some 3rd party sites claim it's a law, some claim it's a guideline, the FDA says it's a guideline but has specific procedural requirements if you choose not to follow said guidelines. so, perhaps "by law" is the wrong term, but i sincerely doubt you're eating anything other than tuna or farmed salmon that's raw and never frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that's my understanding; i could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chartreauxx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From the Penn Law Review;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently regulate or define
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                “sushi grade” seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i think they still have rules about warnings and guidelines around serving fish raw. grades are pretty specific, like prime, choice, etc, right? i don't know, government red tape confuses me! :-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i haven't gotten worms from sushi yet, though, so for now i'll just assume it's all working out. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chartreauxx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    grades are pretty specific, like prime, choice, etc, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those grades are for Beef. Meat does not have to be graded to be sold....Purveyors pay for meat grading from the USDA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The FDA doesn't regulate "sushi grade", that term is just for marketing and has no legal meaning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The FDA does however regulate raw fish. The way I understand it, the FDA rules do require fish to be consumed raw to be frozen (exceptions for Tuna and other aquacultured fish and roe), but most high end sushi restaurants ignore the requirements. The FDA has no way to enforce this requirement and leaves that to local agencies. The local agencies have no proof unless they track fish from ocean to table which would be a difficult and expensive thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thirtyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The FDA does however regulate raw fish. The way I understand it, the FDA rules do require fish to be consumed raw to be frozen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Under the FDA Food Code, they recommend, they do not require.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That has nothing to do with regulations concerning parasites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That would be your opinion...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The FDA's Food Code
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another body of regulation that appears to govern sushi is the FDA's Food Code (the Code). The FDA created the Code as a model to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        assist state and local governments in initiating and maintaining effective programs for the prevention of food borne illnesses.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        128
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Food Code is neither federal law nor federal regulation; the Code is merely the FDA's best advice for a uniform system of regulation to ensure that food at retail is safe and properly protected and presented

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not my opinion. It's logic. The fact that the FDA does not regulate the term "sushi grade" has nothing to do with whether it does or does not or how it regulates parasites in fish. Trace through which comments related to which original posts and you'll see. My previous post was not a response to yours just above it but to yours several above it. That's what haoppens on chowhound when the responses get several layers deep.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            see this was kind of what i thought - that "sushi grade" doesn't exist, but fish intended to be sold for raw preparation must adhere to parasite laws, ie be frozen...