Friday, June 09, 2006

The Best

This week I am going to name some of the best - all related to buffets and all you can eat restaurants. The comparisons are of these type of restaurants only - so for example, choosing the best steak is the best steak at a buffet - there may be better steaks at regular restaurants but that is not what this site is about. So anyway, with that out of the way - the best...

The BEST STEAK at a buffet chain - This is goes to Ryan's. The chains compared are Ryan's, Golden Corral, and Old Country Buffet. The steak at Ryan's has better taste, is cooked to proper order, and is tender.
THE BEST STEAK at any buffet - This definitely goes to the buffet at the Wild, Wild West Casino Buffet in Atlantic City. This steak is cooked to order on a char-grill and is as good as any restaurant steak. I have traveled 150 miles each way just for this steak.
The BEST CAESAR SALAD - This goes to Ryan's. This was a tough one. I am very partial to the Caesar salad at the Old Country Buffet, but then I had the one at Ryan's. At Ryan's you assemble the salad yourself, add the Caesar dressing, the croutons, and the cheese. It was terrific. Not too salty - as it was at Golden Corral - and because you make it, it always comes out right. At Old Country Buffet it is pre-made and if not enough dressing is added to it by the person who makes it, it is watery and weak.
The BEST DESSERT BAR - This goes to The Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. This obscure, little, family-run buffet had the absolutely most complete dessert bar of any buffet restaurant, catering hall, or restaurant for that matter. See our review of this little find on April 30, 2006.

The BEST TURKEY - This goes to The Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. This is going to sound odd, but the taste is what is important here - this is not turkey at a carving station. It is not a turkey breast, sliced and laid out. It is pieces of turkey cut from the bone - separate trays of light and dark meat - and served in a clear broth to keep it moist. This is never dried out. It tastes great. One of these weeks I intend to do an article just about this turkey. Keep a look out for the article.

The BEST SOUP at a chain buffet - This goes to Ryan's for their chicken noodle soup. The noodles are plump and fresh. The broth is not too salty.

The BEST SOUP at any buffet - This goes to Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant and Smorgasbord in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. The soup is the Chicken Corn - a local specialty made here just a bit differently - thick and cream-like, but not a cream soup. It is excellent.

The BEST RIBS - This goes to the Kansas City Barbecue Pork Ribs at the Old Country Buffet. These are a summer only feature (now available Thursday nights to Saturday nights). They fall off the bone and are sauced just right. There is sauce on the side to add if you like.

The BEST COMPLETE BUFFET - This goes to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This may also be the largest buffet. It has an extremely large assortment of entrees, side dishes, cooking grills, salad bar, and dessert bar. See my review of this great buffet on September 10, 2005. It more than doubled in size both in seating and the double length buffet serving area several years ago making this the place to go for both locals and tourists, and there is still a wait to get in on Saturdays all year and then during the "season" on week nights. Come Monday for Steak Night. Of all the buffets that I have been to this one is my favorite.

The BEST SEAFOOD BUFFET - This goes to Captain George's Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia and a few other Virginia and North Carolina locations. The crab and seafood dishes go on and on along several schooner ship serving bars. See my review on September 1, 2005.

The BEST SUSHI at a non-sushi only buffet - This goes to the International Buffet in Carle Place (Westbury), New York. There is a large variety of sushi served here. It is fresh and the sushi chef is behind the counter refilling and taking requests. There may be other restaurant buffets that serve only all you can eat sushi, but this restaurant has this great sushi and a large variety of other non-sushi and non-Asian choices.

The BEST CHINESE BUFFET - Without question this is the Peking Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is a very inexpensive, but very complete Chinese buffet offering a variety not found in most others. The food is excellent. See my review on August 30, 2005.

In a future article I will continue the list. I wish that I could name the best service at a buffet, but it varies from server to server, and from visit to visit at almost all of the buffets. There are good servers and there are not so attentive servers - at all of the restaurants.

I have not been to them all - some of you may have been to some I have not yet gotten to. If you have another BEST buffet, tell us about it in a comment to this article. If you disagree with my humble opinions (this whole thing is my humble opinion), then let's hear from you as well in a comment.


Anonymous said...

Bird in Hand definitely has the best Chicken Corn Soup I've ever eaten- it is awesome!! I love BIH. I eat there at least two times a day during my weeklong vacations to Lancaster County.

Anonymous said...

I love Bird-in-Hand and that chicken corn soup is to die for. I get it every time I eat lunch or dinner there. I visit Lancaster County at least once a year and I eat at BIH usually twice a day while there.

Anonymous said...

Don't go to ponderosa restaurant in Farmington, Missouri. The buffet is worse then the food at my daughters school cafateria. If you order a steak it will be raw and bloody or tougher than an old sock. The salmon is overcooked and dryed out.