Friday, November 16, 2007

Yoders Restaurant and Buffet - Second Time Around

My article of October 5, 2007 was about Yoders Restaurant and Buffet in New Holland, Pennsylvania. This is the buffet in the supermarket. I ended the article by saying that I keep thinking about going back - and when I just had the opportunity, that is exactly what I did.

This time I went on a Saturday night and I was even more delighted than how much I was delighted on my first visit. Let me just refresh your memory about Yoders. Yoders Restaurant and Buffet is in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the place in Pennsylvania where the Amish people live. There is a huge tourist industry here centered around the Amish and the Pennsylvania German culture (yes, Dutch is actually Deutsch which is German). There are many restaurants here centered around tourism and they feature dishes that are typical of this area. Yoders is more of a local restaurant for local dining out. One thing that sets it apart is that it is located inside of a supermarket. Its location is little outside of the center of the tourist area. In Yoders you primarily find locals eating - it is a place for families, couples, and seniors. I well described the layout of the restaurant and the buffet in my article of October 5th and I if you have not read that yet, please do. I am not going to tell you all about that again.What I want to talk about is what was different on Saturday night and that is what the buffet menu features.

Saturday night's buffet feature is called Dutch Grill. It is a selection of Pennsylvania Dutch specialties along side some of the regular offerings. "Dutch Grill" is not all grill items, but a wide assortment of food.

Dinner price applies all day on Saturday from 11 am to closing at 8 pm and is $13.99 per adult. Unlimited soft drinks are $1.49. One thing to know when you go inside, but not yet into the restaurant - there are windows looking into the restaurant from the hallway. You cannot see much more from these windows but the dining room and from this vantage point what you see looks like a menu restaurant (which it also is). You cannot see the buffet area. While we were waiting on a very brief and short line to get in through the doors, some people ahead of us were concerned that they did not think that there was a buffet inside. They asked me and I told them that absolutely, there is - you just cannot see it from here. So yes, there is a buffet at Yoders. You will see it in all of its glory as soon as you get into the dining room.

As always, we started with soup and there are two soups on the buffet. Saturday night had krab bisque and beef vegetable. Beef vegetable soup is a local staple in restaurants and at Yoders it is very good. I am always drawn to soups called "bisque" and despite the name "krab" which means fake crabmeat, I had to have it. This soup was excellent. It was both creamy and sharp -which is characteristic of bisque soups. There were pieces of the "mock" crabmeat shredded into the soup and they were tasty. There is a texture difference between real crabmeat and krab meat. Krab is softer and less stringy than real crab. It worked well in this soup.

The salad bar is no different than I described in my first article, but there is an additon to the appetizer selections in a cold server that is located in front of the grill area. Here there were cold peel and eat shrimp and pieces of cold krab legs. Now, pay attention - that is krab legs and not crab legs. No shell, not real crab, as you just learned. There were seafood condiments there as well.

One of the best entree features on Saturday night is sausage. Large, thick German sausage grilled on the grill in big loops and then cut to generous serving sizes. This was what I had heard about and this is what I went for first. Along with the sausage on the grill were pirogies. These are pockets of pasta dough filled with mashed and seasoned potatoes. They were also grilling salmon and a shrimp stir fry dish. They were also carving roast beef. The sausage was wonderful! It is pork sausage seasoned just right.

Entrees on Saturday night on the buffet included fried "broasted" chicken, baked chicken, stuffed chicken breast, roast beef in gravy, creamed chicken with rice, shrimp creole, fried shrimp, fried fish, baked fish, ham balls (an Amish dish), rigatoni with scallop sauce, and several other meat dishes. The creamed chicken was good. The rigatoni with scallop sauce was interestingly good. The fried chicken - which is cooked by broasting and not frying - is very good. I must say that the sausage was so good that I went back for more of that and concentrated my meal around it.

Side dishes were equally good. We went looking for the baked oatmeal again -which my wife can't stop talking about - in fact, she went looking for the recipe and nothing that she can find resembles the baked oatmeal dish that we enjoyed at Yoders. There was no baked oatmeal but in its place was a similar looking dish called baked French toast. It had the same texture as the baked oatmeal, certainly had an oatmeal base, but was seasoned differently. It was just as good as the baked oatmeal was. Another local favorite was on the buffet - noodles in browned butter. These are egg noodles that have a sauce of butter that has been burnt and then strained. The butter is brown and it gives the noodles a nut-like, toasty taste. The basics were there as well - macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, French fries, vegetables, rice, local potato filling, and others.

There are many selections here and there is something for every taste. It is not heard to fill your plate several times with different things that you will like. In some buffets, there are a few things that you like and sometimes it is hard to find what you would like - and what you would like more of. Here THAT is not a problem!

Deserts are plentiful and basically the same as I wrote about. On this trip we are into pumpkin pie season and there was large wedges of pumpkin pie in the pie server. The pumpkin pie was sweet and creamy.

We had been to several buffets this trip and my wife and I agreed that this was the best meal that we had all trip. We had been to some of our regular stops - all good. This meal though stood out as the best in selection and the most satisfying. Yoders is coming to close to becoming my favorite buffet in Pennsylvania. It is running second to what I have considered (and still do) the best buffet anywhere - which happens to be located just down the road from Yoders. I am not going to name that buffet here because I do not want to take any attention away from this wonderful restaurant.

Service again was excellent. The servers are prompt to clear away dishes and refill your drinks. This is so important at a buffet and Yoders will not disappoint. Everyone is very friendly.

The restaurant is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. There is a small website that is linked at the side of this page, though the website gives a much more limited description of the buffets than they actually are. The restaurant is located at Yoder's Supermarket or perhaps, more properly, Yoder's Country Market, Route 23, New Holland, Pennsylvania. The phone number is (717) 354-4748. On this trip I did see a coupon for $2 off dinner per person at Yoders but it was only good Monday to Thursdays. This was found in one of the tourist papers - and as this is considered "off season" in the area many restaurants are offering discounts with coupons.

So again, I say, that I cannot wait to get back to Yoders. If you want to try something good, go there.

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