Friday, August 26, 2005
The Golden Corral is another of the national chains. This buffet offers a large assortment of "country" foods every night. While they mention a Saturday night barbecue special at the entrance door - steak, ribs, etc. all of that was available on the Thursday night that I visited tonight in Durham, North Carolina..
At the Golden Corral you pay at the door. It was $8.69 per adult. It is thirty cents more on Sunday. There is a modified selection at lunch and it costs less. Beverages are unlimited and cost an extra $1.49.
As you enter you are given your drinks, one plate for each member of your party and your silverware on a tray. You find your own table or are seated depending on the crowd. As you are sitting, either before or after your first trip up, a server comes over and brings more plates. This is the drawback of the Golden Corral - you must get a clean plate and refills of your drink from your server . If he/she is attentive you have no problem, BUT if you get a poor server or it is busy and he/she cannot keep up with the tables you wait for your next trip up. This can lead one to want to break one of our rules and fill each plate to the maximum on each trip to the buffet bars This is not good for both the guest and the restaurant.
The offerings are extensive. There is a very large salad bar with greens and mixings, a large assortment of dressings, and prepared salads. There are four soups. The chicken noodle is quite good with homestyle thick, soft noodles. Tonight there was also clam chowder, vegetable soup, and chili. There are two grills. One is preparing steaks that are over one inch thick and cooked to your order. Also at that grill are spare ribs, and other grilled meats. At the other grill stirfry dishes are being prepared along with teriaki chicken. There were three entree and sides bars. Various types of chicken, pork including pulled pork, meat loaf, pot roast, a taco bar with tortilla bowls and nachos, a baked potato bar, and fresh baked pizza in two varieties. The desert bar includes fresh baked cakes, hot cobblers, cookies, cup cakes, pastries, a chocolate pizza, puddings, ice cream and a sundae bar.
The assortment offered is one of the more extensive of the chains, What was not found were the plainer things found in some of the other chains - carved turkey, roast beef, etc. My wife likes to eat plainer than I and though had a lot to choose from she did not find the meats that she would normally select.
I found the steak to be tougher than the steak that I have had at Ryan's and even Old Country Buffet - BUT it tasted much better than the broiled steak at OBC. It is cooked on a chargrill as you watch and it is possible that tonight it was just not the right piece for me. It is very thick and it was cooked just right.
The decor is plainer than the other chains - the tables and chairs are basic and simple wood. It is well lit. I have been in a GoldenCorral in another state that had air conditioning problems on several very warm nights and the room was uncomfortable. Here, tonight, the temperature was perfect.
The management here seemed very attentive and there were several loudspeaker announcements to staff to keep things just right. If they put the dishes out on the counter like most of the other chains everything would be great. The restaurant was clean. The server was attentive - though he was covering a large area and at one point we waited a short while for plates. All food was kept full - though I heard someone ask for the chicken pot pie and was told that there was no more. There was PLENTY of everything else.
I know of two Golden Corrals that have gone out of business. There had been one near my home and it lasted for a few years. On two visits - and this is more than five years ago = it was pretty bad. The trays were not refilled, the servers disappeared, and the cleanliness was poor. It is no wonder that it closed. The other was one in Pennsylvania and when we went to go back to it found that it had closed. I do not know why - it had been pretty good.
I recommend this chain - try it. There is a link to the chain's website at the side of the blog.
at 4:17 AM