Friday, February 27, 2009

China Buffet City, North Babylon, New York Again

In August 2006 I reviewed a Chinese buffet on Long Island in New York by the name of China Buffet City. Since then I have written about it several times including one article all about the turkey they served there. I go there frequently. It has changed a lot since my first visit in 2006 and I thought that I might update you all on the major changes.

The prices at the restaurant have gone up - as have every buffet's prices. Increase each price that I listed by a dollar. The prices here two years ago were higher than many buffets in the area but now they are all about the same with some even higher.

There is no more turkey. So if you are intrigued by my article about their turkey - forget it. No more turkey. For a while they replaced the turkey with a pork roast which was also very good, but several months ago that was gone as well. There is nicely cooked steak/beef that is left for you to slice yourself . As long as the piece has not become dry and overdone on the buffet server this is good. This steak had been offered all along with the turkey or the pork, now it is the only thing that remains. I do miss that turkey.

For some reason the chefs at this restaurant feel that salt is a necessary ingredient to everything that is prepared and they add it to excess. Some dishes are too salty to eat. I am not talking about what appeals to those who eat a low salt diet, but to even those who will add salt to their food. Much of the food here is too salty. All of the dishes would benefit from much less salt.

With the increase in prices other selections, aside from the turkey, have changed. There seems as if there is not as much to choose from. Good dishes have been replaced with things like tacos - tacos in a Chinese restaurant? The appetizer items have increased while the entree dishes have decreased. When I wrote the original article in 2006 I said that you were getting a lot of meat and seafood here. This is not so much so anymore.

There remains a good assortment of sushi and they have improved by keeping the sushi chef present behind the counter most of the night. There was a time that if you arrived after an early hour for dinner the sushi chef was gone and what he made last was all that was left in the selection. The sushi is refilled now throughout the night and is better than at many of the more expensive Chinese buffets.

Rather than Chinese-style spare ribs, they serve their version of barbecue ribs. The rack of ribs is put out with the ribs sliced off the rack. They are covered on the top with a barbecue sauce. If it were not for the flavor of this barbecue sauce - not quite what you would expect barbecue sauce to taste like - these ribs would be good. The sauce they are making or using is overwhelming and because of that I tend to avoid the ribs.

I find myself eating the best of what I can find when I dine here and not very much of the dishes that I would normally select in a Chinese buffet. I can make up a good meal of sushi, peel and eat shrimp, and sliced steak. This is ok, but it should be better.

Am I saying not to go here? No. I still go there. Am I saying it could be better - and is not as good as it once was? Yes. If you need to eat low sodium or salt-free do not go here.

Oh - my recommendation to go to International Buffet in Carle Place, NY instead of here also no longer holds. That was the original International Buffet - which no longer exists in that form and now China Buffet City is a far better value for less money and not so different offerings. Though there is no salt problem at the "new' International Buffet.

There is no website for this restaurant. The address is 1114-1116 Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon (just north of the Southern Parkway) The buffet is on the back side of the shopping center, the side nearest the parkway. The telephone number is 631-274-0888.

1 comment:

Robert A said...

I was at this restaurant again tonight. Unfortunately,I picked up a plate from a rack and under that plate on the plate now on top in the rack we saw a small roach on the side of plate. It quickly ran off the plate and down into the well of the plate rack. Yuck!

Not good to see this, though I suspect that if you look hard enough you will find roaches in many restaurants. And this restaurant is kept very clean.