Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Feature at Old Country Buffet - Whoopie!

Well, Old Country Buffet has done it again. They have come up with another "Why Bother?" dinner feature. This time they have brought back the worst dinner feature that they have ever had and combined it with the same bad steak that they serve all of the time. Introducing..."Steak, Steak, Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp"! I find it amusing that they have taken the mocking description that I gave to their last shrimp feature and used it to name this one- "Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp". Their website calls it Steak and Shrimp Feast, but the printed signs in the restaurant all say Steak, Steak, Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp.

So how is Steak, Steak, Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp. I ate it and I am actually not sure that I can say that it was even served. The steak and the two special sauces that are advertised with the feature is the same steak and the same two sauces that are always served (of course, the steak is now, "Rancher's Select" which it has been for the past several months - and just as overdone, tough, and dried out). The shrimp dishes seemed to get lost on the buffet. There are supposed to be three shrimp dishes (Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp)- fried shrimp, fried butterfly shrimp, and shrimp Alfredo. There was fried shrimp, but that is usually there any way. There was butterfly shrimp - smallish shrimp split open and fried, but there was no shrimp in pasta of any kind. Not even a spot for it - in case it ran out and was to be refilled. On another night there again was no shrimp Alfredo but there seemed to be a second tray of spaghetti. On close look there were a few small shrimp thrown into the pasta - no Alfredo sauce, it just seemed to be mixed in oil and parsley.

So again I ask, "Why do they bother?" A dinner feature is supposed to bring customers back and entice new customer in. One sampling of this and you will say, "so what!"

Other chains seem to get it right and they tend to rotate full featured menus through the week - one each night. Steak, Steak, Shrimp, Shrimp, Shrimp is offered every night, Monday to Saturday. For some reason Old Country Buffet feels that Sunday diners do not need specials. If the Sunday menu was special in itself,that would be understandable, but it is not.

In the past Old Country Buffet had some good features. Last year's barbecue feature with really good Kansas City style ribs was great! A few years back there was a Tex-Mex feature that was very good. This summer they have not had a winning feature yet!


JTan said...

That "promotion" does not sound very exciting. It actually sounds more like a rehash than anything original from their marketing department. At least the OCB here in Fairfax has a grill area! That keeps me happy.

Robert A said...

Tell us about the grill! Many of the OCB's do not have grills (yet).

JTan said...

Well, as I had pointed out in a previous, OCB-related thread, the one here just opened up this year in the Spring. I am used to OCBs where there is an area for carving and steaks. However, the steaks are brought from the kitchen in pans and are usually stuffed somewhere they can be kept warm.

The OCB in Fairfax has an actual grill area up against the back wall with access to the kitchen. The actual grill is manned by a dedicated griller who is grilling steaks, hamburgers, and the like behind a glass window. You can watch to your heart's delight as the griller is doing their work much like some Golden Corrals. Beside the grill there is the serving area where the stuff that was grilled is transferred. There appears to be a dedicated server here, cutting up steaks and portioning the carving meats. The burgers are self serve.

While I don't usually mind how my steak is done (as long as it ain't burnt/well-done), I have stood in line overhearing people ask if there is medium, medium-rare, etc. They usually have to wait a little bit to get their order in. I don't have the patience to special order and just get whatever steak is there. Maybe that's to my disadvantage because I could be enjoying the steak more, who knows? From what I'm seeing here on this blog, it appears Golden Corral has better steaks. I tend to agree, having tried the one in Manassas off of I-66 just recently.

Robert A said...

Well, I was hopeful about the grill but it appears that perhaps I should not get my hopes to high. Here it is hard to find someone to carve much less have to cook too when, or if, a grill is installed. It is difficult communicating that there is no more chicken out - I can imagine trying to special order a steak done medium rare.

I would have hoped that they took a lesson from their other chain, Ryans, where a chef cooks steaks to order and serves them up directly to the diner.

Ah well...

Larry said...

Just had this last night. My old OCBs didn't have shrimp anything, ever, so for me as a shrimp lover this was a big deal. Okay, it wasn't the best fried shrimp I ever had, but it did the trick. Plus they did have the penne alfredo. All in all, I got my money's worth and I'm going again next week. I guess I'm just biased towards the shrimp! (I didn't even bother with the steak, it looked awful).