Friday, November 03, 2006

Ming Gourmet Buffet - Lancaster, PA

The Ming Gourmet Buffet is located in Lancaster, PA in a strip mall next to a K-Mart on the Fruitville Pike. The restaurant has recently opened. It takes up the space of three storefronts. Inside the restaurant is nicely decorated and is typical of the larger Chinese buffets. There are three large dining rooms with booths and tables. One of the dining rooms can be used as a private party room - though it is glass-walled and in full view of the rest of the dining rooms. The buffet tables are located in the center of the dining rooms and there are three large buffet servers.

Price is moderate - not cheap but not excessive for what is offered. Dinner on the weekends from Friday through Sunday is $12.15. The weekday dinner price is $10.35. Lunch is $6.25 every day except Sunday. Sunday is dinner prices all day. Children's prices are weekend dinner - $6.05, weekday dinner - $5.25, and lunch - $3.85. Soft drinks are $1.29 and are refillable.

There is one buffet table with salads, desserts, and sushi. The other two tables have appetizers and entrees. There was a lot of seafood offered on the Sunday night that I went. There were large cluster crab legs. There were crabs in ginger sauce. There is peel and eat cold shrimp and they were a nice size. These shrimp were on the mushy side and that means they were over cooked. The sushi was salmon, shrimp, and crab. There was also a variety of vegetable sushi rolls. It was replenished throughout the night. Also in the seafood offerings were flounder steamed in ginger (not refilled while we were dining), frogs legs, crayfish, and several shrimp dishes. A number of the dishes had octopus and squid. This is not my thing so I passed these by.

There were three soups - wonton, egg drop, and hot and sour. The usual appetizers were there but there were no egg rolls (but there were spring rolls). There were few meat dishes. There was beef and mushrooms, chicken and broccoli, and an interesting pork meatball. Carved ham was on the end of one of the buffet tables.

Dessert was sparse. There were a few types of "Little Debbie"-type cakes. There was jello and pudding as well as fruit. There is a soft serve machine and the ice cream was very good and creamy - not icy.

The food was tasty. I would have preferred more meat offerings and less seafood, but if you enjoy seafood this was an excellent buffet. If you enjoy crablegs they were large and properly cooked. The broke open easily and the crab came right out of the shell. (One lesson that I have learned about crab legs over the years is not to take too many at once. As they cool down they get harder to take from the shell and the meat tends to stick to the inside. When they are hot they break easy and come out without a struggle.) For the money you got a lot of seafood. Many of the seafood entrees were in some form of butter sauce.

Service was excellent and the buffet tables were well tended. Serving trays were refilled regularly (except for the flounder). Dishes were cleaned away quickly and the server made sure that the drinks were refilled.

Ming Gourmet Buffet is a good restaurant. I would recommend the neighboring Star Buffet (see review) before this one but that may just be my preference for the variety there (less seafood and more meat).

There is no website. The address is 1858 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster, PA. The phone number is (717) 560-0998. They are open until 10pm on Sundays to Thursday and until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. They open at 11 am every day except Sunday when they open at 11:30 am. There are 10% off coupons in local newspapers and there are little advertising cards found in hotel lobbies that offer the same discount. If you are looking for all the seafood that you can eat and are in this area, try it.

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