Friday, December 17, 2010

Asian Buffet, Hicksville, NY - New Weekday Price

For a number of years I dined regularly at the Asian Buffet in Hicksville, New York. The buffet while I was going there had a change in owners and the price gradually increased to a point that it was simply not worth going there any longer. The last time that I wrote about Asian Buffet was in February, 2008. And it is possible that was the last time I was there as we had seen an ad that the price had even gone higher. A short while ago one of my readers left a comment on my original article on the Asian Buffet and said that the adult dinner price was now $8.99. I could not believe this and I called the restaurant. The dinner price - MONDAY to THURSDAY - is, in fact, $8.99. BUT Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the dinner price is $18.99. Yes, ten dollars more. I was told that on those nights they have lobster - and they always did and that was one of the reasons that the price had gone beyond reach. I really should get into this current review, but I need to say that the lobster should not tempt anyone at that price as you will need to rush before anyone else beats you to the tray for the small amount put out and you will not see lobster again brought out for an hour. This is as it always was at this buffet on nights that there is lobster.

Now, let's get to what you do get now for $8.99 as I have recently had dinner at Asian Buffet during a weeknight.

We went at about 7 pm on a Wednesday night. There were a number of people in the dining room. Several larger groups and a few couples. The tables have been changed in the dining room since my last visit and gone are the long, rectangular tables in the center of the dining room and they have been replaced by large round tables - that will seat six to eight. Smaller groups are seated in booths that have been here since this restaurant became a Chinese buffet two owners ago and many years back. The booths have cushions that have been worn down to nothing and sitting down I sunk in to the point that my chin was practically on the table - I am not tall but this is just about the worst booth cushion that I have sat on. As soon as I sat down I recalled that this was just like it had been in years past in other booths at this same restaurant. So despite the price reduction they really need to get some new foam upholstery in their booths.

On the side of the building there was a light up sign that said weekday dinners are $8.99. This sign appeared to be permanent. On the front door window there was a handwritten sign in marker that said "Special Tenth Anniversary Celebration Monday to Thursday, Dinner $8.99". That sign was not so permanent and the implication was neither was this price. Interestingly, the check that came out of the computer at the end of our meal was wrung up for two lunch buffets at $8.99. If they have not changed the computer to include this dinner price, is that another indication that this price is not long to remain?

We did not order beverages so I can not say what the price of soft drinks are. Water was fine for us. We started with the soup and there were three soups - wonton, egg drop, and hot and sour. I took the hot and sour and it was not too peppery but spicy which is good. Later during the meal I also tried the broth from the wonton soup and this was very good. Not salty and very nicely flavored.

There are several prepared Asian salads including two with octopus on the cold serving table, along with a tray of mixed greens and salad dressings, prepared deli-style salads, fruits, cold mussels, peel and eat shrimp, and sushi that was mostly salmon and a few vegetable sushi rolls.

At the hot buffet servers there was a broad variety of dishes and hot appetizers including dim sum, steamed shrimp dumplings, deep fried vegetable dumplings, pan friend dumplings, and a deep fried meat dumpling. The usual egg rolls and spring rolls were out on another server. There were also fried cheese wontons, chicken wings, hot dog pieces wrapped in roll dough, overly sweet sauced spare ribs and boneless ribs, and other oriental appetizers.

There was a large number of dishes containing chicken, shrimp, and beef. The problem that we had - BUT YOU WON'T HAVE - is that they are all in some form of sweet sauce. Everything was sweet and contained sugar. This is a problem for my low carb, Diabetic diet. I eat in Chinese buffets weekly and I have not had this problem anyplace. I had a hard time choosing what to eat as all was either in a sweet sauce or was fried with a heavy coating of flour. As I say, this would not be a problem for anyone not on any restricted diet - BUT if you are on a diet then you are going to have the same difficulty that I had (and I saw the resulting blood sugar reading later on after dinner). The food was very good and if I had not restrictions on what I could eat I would have gone to town here and really enjoyed this meal. There was plenty to choose from if you can eat sweet things or high carbohydrates. As it was I refrained from taking some of the carbs that I would usually take at a Chinese buffet such as a sampling of noodles because I knew that I was over doing it with the things that had a lot of sugar in the sauce that it was cooked in. I tried a crispy flounder - covered in a thick sweet sauce and the fish was very good. There was a steamed fish in ginger sauce - the fish was "Skate". I did not try this as the whole time that we were there only the bottom of the three pieces of fish that were in the tray was left, and when I have tried the bottom of steamed fish in the past I have not liked the texture. There was a "triple delight and vegetables" that was not sweet and very good but when I got to the tray there were plenty of vegetables but only one piece of chicken and two shrimp remaining in the tray. As the vegetables remained, they did not replace this dish in the hour and half that we were there. They did bring out more Lemon Chicken - lemon chicken is friend pieces of chicken with a sweet lemon sauce on the side. We both took the chicken and put no sauce on it. The chicken was thickly breaded and overcooked to the point that the chicken was hard. Perhaps with the sauce it would have softened. There were Chinese meatballs that were very good - but again they had a thin sweet sauce on them. There was orange beef, honey chicken, "Italian" chicken, General Tso chicken, sesame chicken, chicken and broccoli (also with a thin, sweet sauce), eggplant in garlic sauce, sauteed string beans, sauteed bokchoy, two dishes with calamari, fried shrimp, salt and pepper shrimp (with the heads on), fried rice, lo mein, and mei fun noodles. There were other dishes as well like scallion pancake and pizza. There was also an American section with a carve yourself turkey breast, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, fried whole fish, salmon, and baked clams. I had thought to myself that I would take the turkey breast and solve the sweet sauce problem but the turkey looked dry - even sliced into and I skipped that as well. I picked and choose and did not go home hungry, but concerned that I really over did the sugar in this meal (as did my wife). Again, something most would not even think about. (And I don't have much concern about in 99% of the buffets that I go to and you know that I go to a lot of buffets - to the point that in all of my articles until this one I don't even mention that I have restrictions to what I can eat.)

There is the same dessert section that there always has been - small squares of commercial cakes, cookies, and a soft serve ice cream machine.

For $8.99 - if you can eat sweet things - you cannot go wrong here. The food is good and there is plenty of it. As I said in the beginning of this article, the weekend price at ten dollars more is adding a taste of lobster (if you are lucky) and crab legs. This is certainly not worth $18.99. If you want a very inexpensive meal that is good, try this on a Monday to Thursday night.

Asian Buffet is located at 276 Old Country Road, Hicksville, New York. The phone number is (516) 433-6688. There is still no website.

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