Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Buffet at the Milleridge Inn, Jericho, NY

In January I wrote about the Christmas Eve buffet at which I was a guest for dinner. I ended that review by saying that I could not recommend any buffet on any holiday at this restaurant. To recall, that article, the buffet dinners served at this menu restaurant on holidays in their catering building as special holiday dinners. This is not a buffet restaurant and the restaurant has been around for years and years. In fact, the holiday buffets have been around for years and years. So what happened this Easter? The same people invited us to holiday dinner again and again at the holiday buffet at this restaurant.

I must say that the experience was considerably better. But read on to my conclusion of whether you should spend a holiday dinner here.

The restaurant was crowded, both the menu dining and the holiday buffet. We were at the last seating and I anticipated a meal of empty trays, but that was not the case. Food was continually replenished. One of the problems at the Christmas Eve dinner was that our party of five was seated at a table that was barely large enough for three. This time we were seated at a table for eight and we had plenty of room.

Another problem at Christmas was that the dirty dishes were never picked up from our table and the service was terrible. For Easter the service was much better and dishes were picked up on a regular basis.

So with these improvements the meal must have been good. Well, yes and no. The meal was OK. The meal cost in the vicinity of $45 a person. Remember we were guests, so it is not polite to ask your host what they are paying for your meal. What surprised me was that soft drinks and coffee were included with the meal - and when you could grab a waiter you could get more soda (which is coming from the bar).

The meal was very similar to the menu served at Christmas. There was a large cold salad area that included prepared salads consisting of either pasta or rice. There were mozzarella cheese balls with tomatoes in a vinaigrette dressing. There was a chopped antipasto salad consisting of salamis, peppers, and olives. There was also a large spread of iced shrimp that had the shells removed. These were very sizable shrimp and would have made for a very expensive shrimp cocktail in a menu restaurant. The shrimp did taste as though they had been on ice too long. They were fine but they did not stand out as to what one might say were "tasty" shrimp. This is what I found to be the problem with most of the food served. For lack of a better way of putting it, the food did not "pop"! There was nothing that you would say, "Wow! That was marvelous X, Y, or Z!"

There was a bowl of mixed salad greens that appeared to be mostly spinach. There were two dressings next to it - a balsamic that was overly oily and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Next to the salad area there was a table set up with hot trays of "kid" food. There were small pieces of hot dogs wrapped in dough. There were chicken fingers. There were French fries and there was macaroni and cheese.

The main hot food tables held chicken parmigiana, ziti ala vodka, eggplant rollatini, thin sliced beef with peppers and onions over rice, salmon in cream sauce, string beans, and roast potatoes. Carvings followed next. There was leg of lamb, ham, and for a short time there was pork roast which when it ran out was followed by a roll of beef.

Dessert is brought to your table by the waiter - one per person - and there was cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, and ice cream to pick from.

All of the food was fine, but nothing stood out. Nothing was exceptionally tasty. In fact, I have had tastier food at chain buffets at a quarter the price. This is a restaurant that does these dinners as a way to show off their catering. The object is to have me think that the food is so wonderful that I want to have a large party there. Would I to have a party to plan, I would not come here if I wanted to impress my guests with the food.

Again, I must say that the service was much, much better. I just wish the food was better. I still cannot recommend this holiday buffet, this time on the basis of the food. For this much money it really does need to "pop". There should be some "wow" for something during the meal.

Do I now recommend this to anyone to try? If you want food that is just OK and you want to take a chance that they don't go back to the poor service that has been experienced here in the past - well, you decide.

Of course, if I am invited again, I can't really say no. This remains to be seen until next Christmas. We shall see. And obviously they do not read my articles.

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