Friday, September 01, 2006

The Captain's Galley, Williamsburg, Virginia

In August 2005 I wrote about a small buffet located in Williamsburg, Virginia called the Country Harvest Buffet. Returning to that area a year later the restaurant has changed names and focus. It is now called The Captain’s Galley. They say that they feature two buffets in one – in reality they feature a bit of confusion for those who enter to dine. There are now two buffets in this restaurant – one is just a portion of the other and there are two different prices depending on the buffet that you choose. There is a buffet that features seafood and another that closely resembles the buffet that was here before featuring “country food”. The seafood buffet is $19.99 for each adult and the country buffet is $12.99 per adult – two dollars higher than a year ago (and this past December when I dined here last). Before you are seated the two buffets are explained and you chose then which you are going to have. At first we thought that where we were seated would keep them reminded of which buffet we were having, but as others were seated this no longer seemed to be the case. We could hear that many were confused about all of this and one family insisted that they were told that the seafood was $12.99 – I am not sure how that was resolved. I must say that when we were explained what was offered and how much it was, it was explained very definitely. This is a vacation area and a tourist based restaurant so perhaps no one wants to have to think that hard while they are on vacation.

The restaurant is run by the same senior couple. The interior has been slightly remodeled with a little airier appearance. There is now a small double-sided buffet server in one of the dining rooms adjacent to the larger buffet area. This newly added server features crab leg clusters and fried and broiled seafood entrees. If you eat from this buffet server you may also eat from the other as you will pay $19.99 and you are having the seafood buffet. If you chose to have the country buffet you may not go to the seafood server.

The country buffet is very close to how it was before in regard to what is offered and if you read the article found in our August 2005 archive you will find out all about it. The main difference now is that the QUALITY HAS DECREASED and that the buffet tables drastically need tending throughout the night. Many of the entrees – which were chicken of one form or another- had no identification and you really could not tell what they were. Different from before is the absence of all seafood from this serving area with the one exception of fried catfish. Now, when I first took a piece I thought this was chicken nuggets. It looked like fried bits of chicken and when I ate a piece it had the texture and toughness of a well done lump of fried chicken. Later, when more was put out it was very obviously catfish. Many of the meat entrees were drying out in the serving trays. The short ribs which are pork now and no longer beef were so tough that it was difficult to get any meat off of the bone. Pork barbecue was in a tomato sauce that could easily have been used for pasta. The pasta dish resembled lasagna but was so mashed in the serving tray that it was not a choice I wanted to try. Sadly, many things were like this. There was a listing on the table of what was on both buffet servers, but there were several items missing – and several uncertain as to what they were when you looked at them.

I have been to this restaurant a number of times in the past. This time I was disappointed and probably will not return again. It was difficult to find anything appetizing. We had the country buffet because there are much better value seafood buffets in this area for not much more money than $19.99. Things that we selected were tasty, but it was difficult to select things due to there appearance.

One of the points I made about this restaurant last year was the deserts that were offered and those same desserts are offered and on both buffets. (It is not really two buffets as you get the country buffet area along with the seafood area if you have the seafood buffet and on the country buffet only the seafood table is restricted. The dessert area is shared as is the salad bar and the two soups – which seemed to be home made and were still good.

Drinks are self=serve and are included in the total price of the buffet. The soft serve ice cream machine is still in the corner of the room not working – as it was not working a year ago. You take your own plates and silverware. You no longer pay as you enter, but as you leave. They are very trusting (I guess) because we were asked at the cashier which buffet we had and were charged accordingly. So – no one is checking if you take seafood or not. There is a ten percent discount in the local tourist magazine that is free at all of the hotels and tourist spots. They serve a breakfast buffet – but no price was visible. There was also no posting of children’s prices – I hope they had them because there were several kids eating seafood and that would have been some bill.

Service was very good and plates were cleared regularly. This is the one thing that has improved here as they seem to have more clearing staff working. Unfortunately, they did not have enough eyes on the serving trays and, seemingly, no one making sure that the serving trays were keep moist and palatable.

I recommended this restaurant a year ago in its incarnation as The Country Harvest Buffet. As The Captain’s Galley I can no longer recommend this to any of you. There are many other much better buffets in this area to try including the still good Peking Buffet, Golden Corral, and others.

The Captain’s Galley is located at 1425 Richmond Road in Williamsburg, Virginia. They have no website. The phone number is (757) 220-8270.

Final words – skip this one.


james said...

Belated congrads on your 1 year anniversary. Though I do not live in your area, I enjoy reading about your experiences, because buffets are my favorite method of eating outside the home, and one of my favorite ways of hosting family, friends and business associates. Buffet eating is faster, removes the uncertainty when ordering off a menu, and much more enjoyable, spontaneous and fun. Love your rules.

Robert A said...

Thanks so much! In the next coming weeks there will be articles on more restaurants that I have just gotten to for the first time - and one very interesting experience. New articles are posted late night Fridays. (Very late night)