Friday, January 05, 2007

Super Grand Buffet - Baldwin, New York

The Super Grand Buffet is located at 1874-1878 Grand Avenue in Baldwin, New York on Long Island. This Chinese buffet has been in business for a number of years. This is a large restaurant filling the space of four store fronts in a busy commercial town area. Surprisingly, for such a large restaurant there is not a large amount of seating. The restaurant has a large buffet area including four large, double-sided buffet tables and an L-shaped counter spread along two walls. There is a large, private party room seating over 150 that takes up a considerable amount of the restaurant's space. Seating consists of booths and tables in the front of the restaurant. Unlike many buffet restaurants, there is a liquor bar that takes up part of the L-shaped counter on the side wall in the buffet serving area.

We went to the restaurant on a Saturday night and the restaurant was crowded. The price of dinner on the weekends and holidays is $11.49 with children at $6.99. A good price in this region. Weekdays the price is $10.49 with children at $5.99. Children are 10 and under. There are lunch prices until 3:30 except on Sundays. Lunch is $5.99 (children $3.99) Monday through Friday and $7.59 (children $4.99) on Saturdays and holidays. Children under 2 are free. There are unlimited soft drinks for an additional $1.00 per person. Hours are 11 to 10:00 pm Monday to Thursday, 11 to 11 on Friday and Saturday, and 12 to 10 pm on Sunday. They list something called "Break Hour" from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday. I am not sure what this means, so avoid the restaurant during that hour on weekdays.

Let me start out by saying that this Chinese buffet is just average. That is not a bad thing, but there was nothing really outstanding or special here, except perhaps the price. The food is average. Not bad, not great. Nothing wrong with it, but I can't find anything to say was so good you have to run over there to try it. There was plenty to find to eat. They claim that there are over 200 dishes offered every day. With that said, please keep reading, and I will tell you what they had.

On one of the large, double-sided buffet tables there were cold offerings. There was a salad bar area with basic greens, dressing, and toppings. There were cold, peel and eat shrimp. Now, I must say that these shrimp were large for a Chinese buffet and they were properly kept on ice. There were also cold muscles. This buffet table also had a variety of prepared salads. To the side of this table was part of the L-shaped counter that was a Sushi bar. There actually was a Sushi chef, but he was making one or two pieces at a time and placing them out. Perhaps the crowd that frequents this restaurant is not a Sushi-eating crowd. There was salmon and tuna, and later some spiced salmon was put out. There were vegetable rolls and California rolls. It was there, but it was hard not to take the three pieces of salmon that were there and leave any out for anyone else. With the Sushi chef there most of the evening, I guess, he keeps putting a few more pieces out. It is certainly fresher this way - but unusual.

There were four soups. They had the usual wonton, egg drop, and hot and sour soup. They also had chicken soup with large bow-tie noodles. I tried the hot and sour soup. It was on the edge of being too spicy hot, but not so much that it was not comfortable to eat. It was thinner than most hot and sour soups.

The two buffet tables in the middle had hot entrees, appetizers, and vegetables. There were non-Chinese dishes out including a carve it yourself roast beef (they call it Prime Rib - it wasn't), salmon, and beef ribs that were not very appetizing looking steamed and loose. There was a mix of seafood and meat dishes. There was a Bangkok Chicken that was stir fried chicken with green peppers. There was shrimp in garlic. There was pepper steak and there were the usual fried rice and lo mein. There was a seafood chow mei fun (thin, stringy noodles with egg, vegetables, and shreds of seafood (mostly sealegs). Appetizers included only one type of dumpling (pan fried dumplings), egg rolls that were just fair (but typical of Chinese buffet egg rolls), fried shrimp in several forms. There were crab legs on Saturday night (you may not find these other than on weekends). The crab legs were individual legs and not clusters. There were spare ribs coated in sweet red sugar sauce. The take out menu has a very nice assortment of dishes - too bad more of these were not offered on the buffet, as it would have boosted my rating from average to very good. But alas...

The last buffet table was filled with Little Debbie-type squares of cakes and pastries. There was also dried ginger in sugar and what looked like Rice Krispy squares but were made with Chinese noodles. Next to that table was a freezer chest with six or more commercial tubs of hard ice cream. This is actually a step above the usual buffet soft serve.

There was a "Mongolian Grill" area on the leg of the L-shaped counter, but no one seemed to be 1) going up to this and 2) working behind it (though the Sushi chef was adjacent). It also was not well lit. The serving trays were full of meats and vegetables (all covered in plastic wrap) and there were two regular Chinese woks behind the counter - no traditional grill. Like me, a few people walked over to it and looked, but then walked away wondering perhaps, as I did, as to whether it was open or not. I was tempted to test it out and start to fill a dish to have it cooked, but when I looked at the meat it was not frozen (as this meat usually is and should be) and looked too red to chance. Perhaps Mongolian Grills have lost popularity, but if it is there, why not make it a feature and openly available, rather than have it look closed or not maintained.

Service was good. There were plenty of napkins on the table. The servers kept coming over to clear away dishes, ask if all is fine, and ask if the soda should be refilled. The restaurant was clean. There were no knives - so I am not sure how you would eat the roast beef. A knife may have been brought to you if you asked. Items on the buffet were labeled.

There was an obnoxious couple next to us - that is NO reflection on the restaurant. He asked for regular hot tea and green tea. This totally confused the serving girl. She told him that there was only green tea. She brought it and it turned out to be regular Chinese tea. He could not stop talking about this to his wife (girlfriend?, probably wife). Then they each filled their plates and also filled serving dishes for the two of them and covered their table in them. Like most "grabbers" there were full plates still on the table when they went for dessert.

So price makes this restaurant. It is a good value, but has just average food. I would not say do not eat here. I would say not to go out of your way to eat here. If I am in that area I might go back. There is no website for this restaurant. The telephone number is 516-868-2888 or 516-868-1582. They do regular take out and also take out buffet in addition to the sit down buffet.


Robert A said...

This restaurant has been reviewed a second time with more favorable result. Please see March 23, 2007.

Anonymous said...

At the Super Grand Buffet in Baldwin, Ny, I found 4 black worm like eggs on my crab legs. I asked the waitress what was this and if it was safe to eat. She actually told me she did not know. This was very gross and would not recommend this buffet at all. I have pics if anyone would like to see for themselves.

Robert A said...

I heard of some problems here this past December 2007. This was hear say, and incidents are going to occur at all restaurants. Not making excuses.