Friday, December 25, 2009

BEST SMALL BUFFET 2009 - BUFFET EUROPA

The first time that I dined at Buffet Europa in North Brunswick, New Jersey back in March I knew that this restaurant was a serious contender for best buffet. When I returned in July I had no doubt that this buffet had to receive recognition this year. What I kept thinking, however, was the size of this two person operated buffet and how they compare to the large and lavish buffets that I have written about and been to. As I stated in my two articles about Buffet Europa - March and July - this is a simple restaurant, not much larger than a single store front and everything in this restaurant is done by a husband and wife. Is it fair to put this little gem up against a restaurant that can seat a thousand and more with a large staff? Size should not matter. One of the finest French restaurants that I ever ate in consisted of a single counter with about six stools and one woman cooking and running the whole restaurant that was only open for lunch. It was well known way back when but it could not get the recognition that the large French restaurants had in the same "big city". I feel that it is best to set the small buffets into their own category and that is why this year we are giving an award for Best Small Buffet.

I am very pleased to announce that THE BEST SMALL BUFFET 2009 is BUFFET EUROPA!

What sets this buffet apart from all others is the food! The food at Europa Buffet rivals the finest of menu restaurants. This is not the typical buffet cooking. This is true European cooking of fine quality served in a elegantly decorated dining room with table clothes on the tables and pre-set place settings at each chair. There is classical music or opera instrumentals playing in the background. The restaurant is nicely quiet. There are only sixteen (16) tables total in the dining room. The restaurant offers a buffet in the evenings only and at all times there is a menu to order from.

There is no question as to the quality of the food and the excellent taste of the cooking at this buffet. The food on the buffet is served fresh and is cooked by one of the two owners who do everything here from host to cashier to cooking, to serving to busing tables. When something needs replenishing on the buffet the food that is brought out has just been cooked.

The value of the meal is there to at just $15.99 per adult which includes the buffet and soft beverages. With increasing costs at many of the buffets, including the chains, and higher prices, this price is right there with most - and as I have said, those other buffets do not compare to what you are getting here.

The food here is unique to the usual American or Asian fare found at most buffets. Here the food served is European - Italian, Polish, French and more. Dishes that you may find on the buffet include chicken francaise, Swedish meatballs, pasta ala vodka, blintzes, perogies, kielbasa, poached fish, grilled vegetables, bbq ribs, stuffed cabbage, carved loin of pork, seafood bisque, along with more, and on the dessert table - tiramisu. Each prepared as if it were prepared for you to order, but there out on the buffet. This truly is home cooking - and not the home cooked style that other buffets boast about.

With only one person working in the dining room and one person in the kitchen, you might worry that things will not be kept up - but this is just not so. Dishes are replenished on the buffet when they need to be, everything on the buffet is properly tended, and when you get up to get more, your used dish will be gone when you return to your table. These people do a remarkable job keeping things moving smoothly - and as this is their restaurant they have a personal interest in keeping you pleased. If all buffets were run as Buffet Europa is run, buffets would not have the negative connotation that many have for them. There is a vast difference between "going out to eat" and "going out for dinner". Going to Buffet Europa is "going out for dinner".

All in all, an evening at Buffet Europa is an evening of enjoyable, fine dining. This is a buffet experience like no other. This is one of the buffets that I often think about. I get the urge that I need to go there. I only wish that it was closer (but I know that nothing like this could exist where I am).

Since my visits the restaurant is now closed on Mondays for dinner. They have always been closed on Sundays all day. Saturdays they are not open for lunch. My concern is always that this is such a small restaurant.

All of this and more, make Buffet Europa the Best Small Buffet of 2009. A certificate attesting to this will be sent to the restaurant which we hope that they will proudly display. When you go there look for it- and let them know that you read all about them here!

If you have an opportunity to be near North Brunswick, New Jersey you absolutely MUST plan your day to be at Buffet Europa for dinner. I say over and over, this is a GEM, this is a TREASURE.

Buffet Europa is located at 1000 Arron Road, North Brunswick, New Jersey 08902. Their telephone number is 732-940-1122. They do have a website and the link is listed at the side of this page. Remember that they close at 9:00 pm and they are not opened on Sundays (unless you want to book the whole restaurant for a party). and they are not open for dinner on Mondays. The buffet is only available at dinner and that starts at 4:00 pm.

4 comments:

Jeff said...

I could not agree more. Buffet Europa is fantastic, the food is of high quality and the folks running it really care about making it pleasant place to dine.

SkippyMom said...

What a lovely review. Makes me wish I lived closer. :) Also makes me incredibly hungry [stuffed cabbage? YUM!]

mario said...

Robert, you've been right on with all your recommendations, this will be on our "next" list.Thanks.

dave1973 said...

I wish this buffet were closer to me as well. I would definitely appreciate true European cuisine. A variety of European food is always good (especially Polish food, as that is food often ignored in most of the country). I hope that place stays open long enough for me to try it out when I travel to New Jersey in the future. I haven't come across any French restaurants in Chicagoland, but there's plenty of Italian & Polish restaurants in Chicagoland.