Friday, October 01, 2010



Ready for entrees I decided to walk around the entire buffet counter to see what was being offered and since there was so much out, to choose wisely. The buffet is divided into sections - dessert, seafood, International, Italian, Chinese, and Barbecue. The Barbecue section is easy to miss though there is a large sign over the entrance way to one of the patio dining areas and the barbecue counter is inside that area - still along the same and continuing wall. There was a lot to tempt me and the largest crowd was at the crab legs which are the Friday night feature. What was calling me was the Barbecue and that is where I went first. Here there were pulled pork, BBQ riblets, chicken, steaks, beans, taco meat and the fixings for tacos. I took some of the pulled pork and the riblets. On the way back to the table I went over to the seafood counter and took some peel and eat shrimp too. Odd combination but it just seemed right - spicy and smokey barbecue and cold shrimp. The pulled pork was nice. The riblets were small pieces of bone and meat in a thick and sweet red barbecue sauce. The rib tray could have used some attention and needed to be stirred. It was not dried out but was moving in that direction. I stirred it myself when I took my riblets. The ribs were tasty and good. The sauce could have been less sweet but perhaps that is just my palate. I enjoyed the first serving of them that I took. I later went back for more and struggled a bit to finish them as the sweetness of the sauce had gotten to me after a while. I am sure that many of you will love these - and when I go back, if they are there, I will have more.

I went back up to see what else I would take. There was a lot. On the Seafood area there were the peel and eat shrimp, a cod cooked with vegetables in an Asian sauce (the fish were whole sections of cod), fried shrimp, fried cod, and french fries. On the International section there was Chicken Tarragon with Asparagus and Shrimp, stuffing, potatoes, sliced beef in brown gravy, a carving station in the middle where they were carving ham and Prime Rib, mixed vegetables, and a section filled with crab leg clusters - whole, hot clusters. Along the line, next came the Italian area with vegetable lasagna, beef lasagna, tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce, sausage and peppers, meatballs in tomato sauce, and ziti with a tomato sauce to put on or a spicy marinara sauce to put on top. There were also cold marinated olives and marinated mushrooms. The Chinese area had General Tso Chicken, shrimp chow mien, fried rice, lo mien noodles, cold noodles with sesame sauce, fried dumplings , egg rolls, and a few other dishes. I have already described what I found at the Barbecue area.

The choices all looked good. I decided that this plate would be a sampling plate and I took a little of several items. I took some of the tortellini, a chunk of sausage, a meat ball, a piece of the Asian cod, a fried dumpling, and some marinated olives. The only thing that I would pass on was the fried dumpling as it was dry and the dough was chewy. The rest was very good. The sausage had a fresh made taste. The tortellini drew me back for a few more (though I should not be eating pasta in quantity).

My next plate was a mistake but only for the amount of food that it contained and it limited what more I would be able to fit in me afterward. I went to look at the steak. I always like steak. The steak here is grilled and put out in quantity in a serving tray. They are called club steaks - small, rounds of steak. In the tray they looked a bit dry and it was likely that they were well done. When steak is cooked and then allowed to sit it continues to cook so unless the steaks are constantly being replenished, if they are sitting they are likely to be well done. I decided to pass on the steak and go over to the middle of the counters to the carving station to see the Prime Rib. The Prime Rib that was being carved was not with bones but the meat was nicely red and medium rare. I went up for a slice and was given a thick, full cut of Prime Rib. This piece was as large as served as a full portion in a menu restaurant. It filled the plate. I added some au jus gravy to the meat. I also picked up some French Fries back at the seafood area, and added some of the shrimp chow mein just for a vegetable side. The Prime Rib was tender and very tasty. I very much enjoyed it and was glad that I chose that over the unknown steaks. But it was a lot of meat - if one was planning on eating more. It is probably best to direct the carver to cut a thin slice. For those who prefer a more well done beef, there was sliced beef in brown gravy on the buffet as well and this was much more well done.

Of course, after my Prime Rib I still had intentions of eating more (silly me) and it is usually at this point of my buffet meal in a buffet that I have not visited before to go back for some of the items that I really enjoyed. So back I went for bbq riblets, two more meatballs, and more tortellini. When I sat down with my plate I realized that I really had wanted to try the fried cod, but figured I would do so on the next plate. There was no next plate for me because with this all, I was full. No more room. (When at a buffet, heed that feeling and don't go one plate beyond, because afterward you will regret it.) I reached my limit and stopped wisely. Not even room for dessert.

I did, however, go to look at the dessert selections and there were many, many good ones. There were many types of pies and cakes - nice layer cakes. There was cheesecake. There were pastries. And there were hot waffles waiting for soft serve ice cream to be added on top with a variety of sundae sauces and toppings to join it. There was fruit, puddings, a few nice looking, hot bread puddings, and also a large selection of sugar free desserts (if you are so inclined). Had I taken dessert I would have regretted it, and I very reluctantly passed.

The food was very, very good. The quality of the food was very good. The cooking and maintenance of the food (with the few exceptions noted) was very good.

Was there anything that I did not like? One minor thing and that was the way the different buffet counter areas were roped off to create a line. When there was no one at an area, it was not problem to just walk up to the tray that you wanted and take some. BUT when there were others at that area, they were lining up - directed to by the ropes along the side - and it meant that you were walking behind others, cafeteria style along the entire line before you got to the tray that you wanted. If you had intention of going to all of the trays along the line 0r even some of them, this is not a problem, but if that one item that you want is at the end of the line, you were waiting until you got up to it behind what at some counters were long lines. I said, earlier, that I took some French Fries. They were in the last serving tray on the seafood line. There was a long line of people at that area. I slipped over to the end (where by the way no one was standing) and took some fries from the tray - without waiting on the line. A woman jokingly told me that I was "cutting" and then laughed. I made a joke back saying that all I wanted was a few fries and that I thought I would just slip in a grab a few. She laughed and made a point to say that she had been only joking. Good matured lady. Someone else might have made an unnecessary fuss. I had also said earlier that they had nice looking crab legs and you will note that I did not talk about eating any. Well, the line at the crab legs was consistent throughout the night, and I felt (with the many other good things to get) that it was just not worth the wait.

Service was also good and plates were taken off the table promptly and drink refills were offered without our asking.

Would I go back? Oh yes! In fact that is all I have been thinking about since leaving. This was a great meal and one that I look forward to repeating. The crazy thing is that if you drew a line from this buffet to my home it is about thirty miles away. The problem is that there is the Long Island Sound - part of the Atlantic Ocean - in the middle of that line. So to get to this great buffet I have to take the long way around, through NYC and into Connecticut and back in the direction of my home, but further north which is about a 300 mile round trip. A long time ago someone said let's build a bridge, but many people said "Not in my backyard!" ("NIMBY" is a popular expression in my area) and so there is no bridge.

Foxwoods is located pretty much in the woods. It is accessed by Route 2 in Connecticut which is a mix of highway and country road. Once you get to the complex of buildings it does get a bit confusing as there are three entrances and little explanation on the signs on the road. It is actually very simple if you know that all buildings are interconnected so if you go into any of the entrance drives and park - in one of the three self-park free parking lots or have your car valet parked - you will enter a building that will connect to all of the other buildings and areas. The buffet is in the "Rainmaker" area. A walk through the complex is very nice and the halls are made to look like a New England street with shops along the way, as well as casinos. So just pull into any of the entrances and park. Make note of which parking lot and level you are in. And the MGM Grand is part of the same complex and connected as well through a series of hallways and escalators.

The Festival Buffet is at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The address is 350 Trolley Line Boulevard,
Mashantucket, CT 06338-3777. The phone number is 1-800-369-9663. There is a website with directions, etc. and that is listed at the side of this page. A note about the address. My GPS did not recognize the town or the street. The casino did come up in a search of the list of points of interest and that is how we routed to it.

The Festival Buffet at Foxwoods is a must try!

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