Friday, March 25, 2011

No Seafood Special at Old Country Buffet

I really should know better by now than to believe the emails that Old Country Buffet sends out. Tuesday before Ash Wednesday I received an email through the Old Country Buffet email "club" that this is now the "season for seafood" and that there would now be on Wednesdays and Fridays a seafood feature. The email showed a photograph of a platter of butterfly shrimp. These were large and really nice looking fried shrimp - lightly batter coated from the photograph. My first thought was that I have never seen such shrimp at Old Country Buffet and wondered where they got these for the photograph - certainly not their kitchens. Well, anyway, I tucked this away in the back of my mind.

Ash Wednesday - the next day - we were deciding what to have for dinner and there really was nothing home to make that was not meat. I made the suggestion that we go to OCB just to see this new feature and it would solve the dinner question. My wife agreed and we headed out. I decided that we would go to the "good" Old Country Buffet out in the next county just to be sure that the dinner would be done right.

After we sat down I walked around the buffet servers to see what special treats in this "perfect catch" as the email put it were being served. Well, there was roast beef being carved along with turkey, there was meat loaf, and there was the usual fried and baked chicken. The only seafood was the usual Wednesday night tiny popcorn shrimp, fried, overdone fish, and a thin baked fish fillet. No "perfect catch" in sight. Oh yes, there was the "seafood pancakes" which are covered in chicken gravy. No kidding - I have watched more than once the fish pancakes come out and the employee with the tray go over to the chicken gravy go ladle the chicken gravy on top. Oh boy!

I went up for soup and expected at least to find clam chowder - no - there was cream of broccoli soup along with the chicken noodle and beef-based French Onion. So this was the "perfect catch"?

The baked fish was tasteless. The popcorn shrimp was like eating breading. The fried fish at OCB is never good. My intention for religious reasons was to be good. It was not going to be easy on this Ash Wednesday at Old Country Buffet.

I decided that I would fill up on salad. I like the Caesar salad at OCB WHEN it has a sufficient amount of dressing on it - which at this particular location it usually does. I went to take the Caesar salad and I thought that there was no dressing on it at all. The OCB Caesar dressing is a creamy Caesar and when the correct amount is put on the salad it coats the lettuce. This dressing was clear - at first it looked like the lettuce was just wet but there was dressing there. I filled my plate and went back to the table. I took a bite and there was a sweet taste to the salad. This definitely was not the usual Caesar salad dressing. I am not sure what it was but it had sugar in it - and after dinner my blood glucose level went skyrocketing (despite my medication). Another Diabetic could have ended up in the hospital!

When I got home I took a look at the Old Country Buffet Facebook page. Someone had posted that they too went to dinner for Ash Wednesday and they could not find the seafood "special" either. This person went to the manager and this manager knew NOTHING about any special. She claims to have showed him a printout of the email and he told her it was news to him!

All in all dinner on this night was a disaster. As I write this I am hoping that my blood sugar level will come back to normal in several hours.

If you get an email from Old Country Buffet about anything special on their buffet, ignore it. You won't find it when you get there. I previously fell for this when they sent one about their special steaks - see my article "Where's the Beef?". I really want to like this chain - it is the only buffet chain near me. Why do they continually do things to push their customers away (see the continuous negative remarks on their Facebook page)?


Anonymous said...

we just returned from w. virginia and had the most amzing buffet experience at Smokey's On The Gorge buffet. For the same price you get breakfast and dinner! You should definitely visit it there or at least write it up. I never saw that kind of package offered before. Absolutely first rate. I am 67 y/o and this was the best dining experience I have ever had. yours sincerely,
Clarissa Althorn
Cape May, NJ

Art said...

Ah, the old bait and switch. (Pun FULLY intended!) :)

dave1973 said...

Sorry for your experience. Old Country Buffet is only hurting themselves by their business practices. The Hobart, IN location closed by me after the lease expired. They never bothered to correct the problems at that location either. The Highland, IN location is going the same route.

As for Lent, I don't bother with it, as I don't like giving up meat (not a heavy meater either). For those who are Orthodox Christians, they're not allowed to eat any meat (fish included) at all during Lent (while Catholics only avoid meat, except fish, on Ash Wednesday & all Fridays during Lent).