Friday, February 20, 2009

Old Country Buffet Theme Nights

Old Country Buffet has had un-named theme menu nights in the past. Tuesdays had Italian dishes, Wednesdays had Chinese dishes, Fridays were seafood, etc. The newest announcement on the floor to ceiling menu poster at Old Country Buffet is now a theme for every night. Mondays are called "Meat Lovers Monday". Tuesdays are "Italiano Tuesday". Wednesdays are "Tex-Mex Wednesday". Thursdays are "BBQ Thursday". Fridays are "Seafood Friday". Saturdays are "Family Saturday". Sundays are "Homestyle Sunday". There is no announcement about this on the OCB website. They are still fixated on their take out offer and their menu listings are no different than they have ever been and generally outdated. What I have recentlylearned is that they bring these features now to different areas at different times.

When I saw this sign at the OCB I thought, "Wow, they are bringing the monthly features that they have had in the past to one night each week". There have been some good and not so good monthly features in past years. There has not been a monthly feature for some time - perhaps relating to the fact that they have been in bankruptcy. As they are supposed to be coming out of bankruptcy now, perhaps they are ready to vary the menu again and motivate business. The barbecue feature was always good. Tex-Mex has not been a feature for a few years but back then it was good. This could be interesting.

So far I have tried two of the theme nights - Italiano Tuesday and BBQ Thursday. I must say that my anticipatory excitement was all for nothing.

I will start with Italiano Tuesday. What was on the buffet was no different from what has been on the buffet on Tuesday nights for a long time. As I said in the beginning Tuesdays in recent years has offered Italian food on the buffet. What is offered now are the same dishes as were there in the past - but now they have a name for it, "Italiano Tuesday".

What was I expecting? I thought that I would find some dishes that have not been offered before. There was one, Chicken Parmagean. OCB has had chicken parmagean before, but now it is made with chunks of real chicken breast meat and not processed chicken patties. The fried chicken chunks were covered in mozzerella cheese and baked with tomatoe sauce. From the pan to the dish the food was rather dry. It was situated next to the tomato sauce for the spagetti and a scoop of that added on top made the dish moist and pretty good. Another dish offered has been offered for a number of months on Tuesdays and that is OCB's version of what is called in some areas stromboli, in others sausage bread, and in still others calzone (though this is nothing like real Italian calzone). This is baked dough filled with mozzerella, saugage, and peperoni. Had this not been sitting and allowed to dry out it would have been better. The system at OCB is to put the food waiting to come out to the buffet servers in a warming cabinet where they are accessible to the floor staff who refill the buffet. Food can sit there for some time and while there continues to cook from just standing and from the heat of the cabinet and get dry. As a result the dough was very dark on the outside and hard. The fillings were tasty but needed to be moister. As I write this I realize that a scoop of tomato sauce might have helped that as well. But you know, you are not supposed to have to fix up what they are serving on the buffet to make it right. Of course, the spagetti was there and there was also spagetti with a cream and cheese sauce. Nothing at the carving area was Italian. For those of us who are still seeking a good Italian buffet with a variety of Italian dishes, we must keep searching - perhaps in vain.

BBQ Thursday! I have really liked the barbecue month features that OCB has had in the past. When I went on BBQ Thursday this is exactly what I was expecting. I should not have bothered. BBG Thursday is just like every other Thursday last month, last year, and the years before that. Beef ribs have always been on the buffet on Thursday nights. Add to that the grilled pork that has come onto the buffet on Thursday nights since grills were added to OCB kitchens - and often frighteningly undercooked for pork, and honey barbecue riblets. No baby backribs, a barbecue month dish from the past, no Kansas City ribs that are offered on the weekends now, not even any backed barbecue beans. Instead of barbecue beef brisquit at the carving area, there was ham. There was not really anything to make the Thursday night feature special. The honey barbecue riblets are short one inch cuts of ribs, cut along several ribs so that you are eating the meat inbetween. These ribs were tough, burned, hard to get the meat off the bones, and overly sweet. If you are craving barbecue this is not going to do it.

So - the theme nights are pretty much a wash out. Even though this is only two nights of seven it is more than enough to know to expect no more than the usual OCB menu. Another dissappointment served up by Old Country Buffet.


Zachary said...

yeah on the bbq pork steak comment you should tell their manager they need to be taking temps on those pork steak. Tell him that they way my store does it is we cook the porksteak on that grill like recipe tells you then we cut them up into pieces and bake for like 10-15 minutes extra in the oven. That store still hasn't figured out how to use the chargrill right you can't serve undercooked ffood of it at least temp it

Zachary said...

ya the new is nothing like the old ballons and full transformation to themes they had in late 90's but it mad people mad who wanted just the regular items.