Friday, September 29, 2006

Green Olive Buffet and Grill - Arlington, Virginia

Driving to our hotel late at night in Alexandria, Virginia we drove past a restaurant that we had known to be a seafood buffet in the past. A number of years ago we had called the restaurant to find out the price and was told a ridiculously high price – with the reason that lobster was being served. We laughed at the price and never tried the restaurant. When we saw the sign for the restaurant now it still said seafood buffet but it now had a different name. At the hotel there was a local tourism magazine that had an ad for this restaurant. My wife said to me that the ad says that dinner is $12.99 per adult seven days a week. We also discovered that while the restaurant is a seafood buffet, it is also an oriental buffet.

The name of this restaurant is the Green Olive Buffet and Grill and we had dinner there the next evening. The restaurant is located on US1. The address is 7405 Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia. The prices for dinner are $12.99 per adult (every night) with children’s prices based upon height. Children under 36” are free and under 5’4” are half price. My wife is 5’1” but she had to pay full price. There is a lunch buffet for $6.99 Monday to Friday and $8.99 on Saturday and Sunday. Soft drinks are $1.49 and are refillable.

The restaurant is large with two large dining rooms on each side of a large room of buffet servers. One room is smoking; the other is non-smoking. There are five double sided buffet servers, a one sided buffet server, a counter with five soups, and a large grill and sushi bar. There is great variety in this restaurant and you can easily just eat seafood, just eat meat and potatoes, or just eat oriental – OR mix as you like. You enter and you are seated (paying when you leave). The server takes your soft drink order and you start going up for your meal. Silverware is placed on your table and your server brings extra napkins. Knives are available near the grill. Plates are at the end of each buffet server.

There are five soups. The featured soup on the night we went was lobster bisque. There was also New England clam chowder, wonton soup, egg drop soup, and hot and sour soup. The lobster bisque was a light, creamy soup with chunks of lobster meat (and some chunks that seemed to be sealegs and not lobster – but there was definitely a good amount of lobster in there. The wonton soup had a nice broth with good, meat filled wontons.

There was a salad bar with greens, toppings, and dressings, as well as prepared salads including a cold shrimp in a spiced sauce. On this server there was also raw clams, raw oysters, and peel and eat shrimp that were a good size.

There were a variety of steamed dumplings and also pan fried dumplings. There were all the usual Chinese appetizers – egg rolls, fried wontons, cheese and crab wontons, fries crab claws, etc. There was a sushi bar with a sushi chef standing behind it the whole time that we were there and he was preparing sushi. There were many different types including salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, several fish that I did not recognize (but I am sure those who know sushi would), and California rolls that were big and full.

There were many types of seafood, both fried and “steamed”. There were steamed blue crabs, steamed, spiced shrimp, salmon, stuffed crab shells, crab cakes that were full of crab meat and very good, steamed flounder, crab and cheese casserole, fried shrimp, fried scallops, mixed seafood, fried clam strips, two types of mussels, seafood and noodles alfredo, fried frog legs, steamed clams, and on the chargrill whole shrimps (complete with heads).

Meats include carved prime rib, Peking duck, a variety of Chinese meat dishes including chicken and mushrooms, chicken and broccoli, beef and peppers, roast chicken, and other changing meats. On the chargrill they will grill steak to your order, as well as teriyaki beef sticks. There were barbecue spareribs that were a combination of Chinese spareribs and American bbq spareribs. They had a thick sauce on them that tasted more oriental than barbecue sauce.

There are many vegetables and side dishes, both oriental and American. There were mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, sautéed string beans, and corn on the cob. There was rice, fried rice, and lo mein.

For dessert there was banana pudding, chocolate pudding, jello, canned fruit, fresh fruit, and the usual assortment of “Little Debbie”-like cakes. Next to the soup counter is a freezer chest with four flavors of ice cream cups. The ice cream is Hershey’s ice cream and was very good. (Did you know that Hershey’s ice cream has nothing to do with the Hershey’s chocolate company?)

The restaurant was clean and well maintained. The food was good and there were a significant number of Asian diners – which is one of my clues that an Asian restaurant is good. Service was good and dishes were cleared quickly. There was one minor thing regarding the service that was certainly just a mistake, but could have caused a serious problem. We were drinking Diet Coke (coke products are served here) and when the server came with a pitcher to refill the glasses, she said, “Diet Coke” and poured. When I drank the soda, I am certain that it was real Coke – as a Diabetic this is a problem. Now my wife insists that it was Diet Coke – but it had that sugar jolt that only a Diabetic who does not get real Coke often can taste. I could have gotten the server over right away to change the soda to change it. That aside, the service was great. They even kept coming over to make sure that all was well.

There are a few buffet choices in the Arlington area. This one is definitely worth a visit. If you are just looking for seafood this one has more than most seafood buffets. If you want Chinese, Sushi, or American – this one has it all. The inside décor is very nice – nicer than you might expect from the road house look of the outside. There is also a liquor bar in the buffet room with seats at the bar and large screen TVs with sports. I recommend the Green Olive Buffet and Grill. The phone number is 703-765-5899. There is a website which is listed at the side of the page.

Try this one!

No comments: