Friday, September 28, 2007

Golden Corral - Colonie, New York

On a trip two hundred miles north to Albany, NY to visit a friend, I was surprised to find a Golden Corral in New York State. It is in a suburb of Albany called Colonie and, as I have discovered, is one of two in this region. The other is in Saratoga Springs about thirty five miles further north. These are the only two Golden Corral restaurants in New York State. We decided to see how it is and had dinner.

As I have written about Golden Corral in general in the past I will not go into the general details of Golden Corral, but I will focus on this particular location. The restaurant is very much like the other Golden Corral restaurants that I have tried. The dining rooms are actually a little nicer with the dining rooms partitioned into sections and the partitions pleasantly decorated as walls that would be in a home including framed windows looking between the dining rooms. It was very homey and nice.

I have been to a few Golden Corral restaurants recently on my trip South. This New York Golden Corral had more vegetable offerings on the hot buffet. It did have less salad offerings though. The recent feature on the salad bars at Golden Corral is something called Greenhouse Select and they had this in Albany, but its presentation was not as elaborate as a Golden Corral that I was at in North Carolina two weeks prior. The Greenhouse select are salad toppings of meats to create salads with steak or chicken slices. In the Golden Corral in North Carolina there were special salad plates to use for this feature and what seemed like more toppings. Here is was just mixed in to the salad bar. Golden Corrals also usually have a special section to create Caesar salads - the items were here, but they too were mixed into the other salads. There also seemed to be less prepared salads offered. One problem at this location is that the salad dressings are labeled on the glass over the dressings, BUT they did not correspond. I thought that I was taking Thousand Island Dressing and got Honey Mustard. The sign over the dish said Thousand Island - this seemed to hold true for the other dressings as well.

The grill was serving steaks, pork steaks, and carving a whole turkey. The pork steaks were very tasty. The Golden Corral says that there should be "slow roasted" sirloin at dinner meals, but this was not being served here.

The gentlemen working the grill did not seem to understand English well. My wife asked for some Turkey - he told her it was chicken - it was turkey. He had some difficulty understanding the terms for the doneness of steaks on the grill - and what he had prepared was all well done. Several dinners were told to come back in ten minutes for more steaks to cook to rare, medium rare, and medium well. When I went back after ten minutes a man in front of me asked for Medium Rare. He was told that there was none - still. He went away grumbling - and rightly so. I decided to ask anyway - and I too was told that there was no medium rare - so I asked what he had. He picked up a steak from the grill and cut into it - it was perfectly medium rare. I told him to give that one to me. There were several unhappy guests because this guy did not know what medium rare is or he did not understand what we were asking him for. There are two things that can make or break your dining experience at a Golden Corral - any Golden Corral. A good grill chef is one of them.

The other is your server. Because of the procedure followed at Golden Corral restaurants, you are given a plate when you pay when you enter and then your server brings you more clean plates. There are no dinner plates on the buffet. This is a remnant from the days when Golden Corral had table service in addition to the buffet. They prevented someone who ordered from the menu from going to the buffet and taking food by handing out the buffet dishes one by one. The menu is gone but the practice continues. Your server will both refill your drinks and give you clean plates - no going up to the buffet without a CLEAN plate. If you have a poor server you will wait a long time before and if you get another plate (or a soft drink refill). When have had some poor servers at Golden Corral that make you wish you had gone somewhere else to eat. I must say that our server in Colonie was EXCELLENT. We had more plates than we needed and she made sure our drinks were full. (What a surprise for a New York location!)

The restaurant was clean. As for the restrooms, my wife told me that the ladies room was well maintained, but I found the men's room to be needing maintenance.

If you are in eastern, upstate New York give the Golden Corral in Colonie a try. You will not find other Golden Corrals until you get to New Jersey and western PA. The address is 1901 Central Avenue in Colonie (this is Route 5). The phone number is (518)862-1520. The hours listed stated that closing is 9:00 pm every night - which is early for Golden Corral.


Anonymous said...

I just happened to stumble across your blog. Its great..My Family lives in this area and we go here pretty often. I have found that it is kinda hit or miss. A couple of times we have gone and it was good but we have also gone and it wasnt so good. Yet we still go.Love your blog!
Oh also if you are in to the Home Town Buffets there is a really good one in Edison, NJ on RTE. 1. I go there quite often and have never been disappointed.

feeling ripped off said...

I dealt with the Golden Corral in Saratoga New York, which I understand is actaully in Wilton. Phoned to purchase a gift card for my parents as a Christmas gift, and was assured it would be delivered Christmas eve. Never arrived, but they have the money. Manager Bob Lamb says the delay is because he waited half an hour to purchase a stamp at the local post office. Manager Allan says, though parents never received card, he refuses to mail another one, just tell them to come and see him, he is always there and he will take care of them. Corp site says they are available 24/7 to resolve complaints. Not so again, still calling and dealing with voice mail so my elderly parents have the freedom to eat at the Golden Corral of their choice using the gift card I paid for.