Friday, May 20, 2011

Ribs are the New Feature at Golden Corral - and I was THERE

It has been a year and a half since I have been to Golden Corral. I love Golden Corral but there are none local. I recently had an opportunity to go to Golden Corral and to my good fortune I was able to try the new, limited time menu feature - Ribs. The Golden Corral that I visited is the location in Bensalem, Pennsylvania - the same Golden Corral that I had been to in September, 2010. At that time I reported on some problems during my visit. I am happy to say that this visit was just fine!

Golden Corral restaurants have been changing from their system of a table server bringing you plates to go back up to the buffet for more food to putting the plates out in stands in the buffet area as most other buffet restaurants do. This is a big improvement overall for the chain. The pitfall of the old system was that your dining experience was totally dependent upon how good your server was. You could sit and wait for plates with a poor server. Now, that is a thing of the past - and, hopefully, the change will be made at all locations, if it has not already. The change over has been made in Bensalem in the past year and a half and that made a great difference. Your server still brings you refills of your soft drinks, but this is common at buffets. And, on this visit we had a good server who was visible and available.

The price for the adult dinner at Golden Corral is $9.99. They advertise that at Golden Corral you can get a great meal for under $10 and so you can. The soft drink price is $1.99 and is unlimited. This is a bit high but equal with the price of soft drinks at Old Country Buffet. With the meal priced a dollar less, this makes for a better deal. And you could always skip the soda and drink water instead, keeping your dinner check under $10.

I recently wrote about the last limited time feature which was seafood. Shortly after, I received a note from one of our readers that a Golden Corral manager told him that the next feature would be baby back ribs. And so it is!

This limited time feature menu consists of baby back ribs, smoked beef brisket, sweet and spicy BBQ pork ribs, BBQ pork ribs, boneless pork ribs and apple fritters. The first thing that I went for was the baby back ribs. It is not often that I find these on any buffet and they are a favorite.

The baby backs were served next to the grill by the chef at the grill. The ribs were cut into sections of about four ribs each. They were lightly coated in barbecue sauce and next to the serving tray within reach were two types of barbecue sauce to add on, if you wanted your ribs wetter. Back at my table the ribs were cooked just right - once you cut a rib from the section, the meat pulled right off the bone clean. To me this is the best indication that the ribs are good, besides taste. The taste did not disappoint. The baby back ribs were good!

I took some of the brisket next. Again, this is next to the grill and served by the grill chef who slices off piece at your request. The outside of the brisket had a thick dark "bark". The meat was a bit fatty, but that is expected with brisket and the meat was nicely moist. Again, the barbecue sauces were right there to add on, if you wanted to. I enjoyed the brisket - but I must admit, that I enjoyed the baby backs more. Perhaps this is because, again, I don't get to eat baby back ribs often and brisket does appear at times at other buffets. This is nothing against these wonderful items at Golden Corral.

Something that I found on the side of the buffet were kitchen-made potato chips. I have had these at festivals and fairs, but I have not seen them at a buffet. I had to try one of these thin slices of potato, deep fried. What is the big deal about potato chips? Nothing - unless they are fresh made. They are much better than what you pour out of a chip bag. I don't know if this is an item that you will find at all Golden Corral buffets but if you see them, try them.

One of the things that I like a lot at Golden Corral is their flame grilled steak that is served to your request for how done it is cooked. I like steak rare, but not raw. I asked for a rare steak and without hesitation the grill chef picked one off the grill and cut a piece off for me. The steak was nicely rare inside with a good, crisp crust on the outside. The steak served at Golden Corral is a good inch thick. It has a good flavor and I consider it to be the best of the buffet chain steaks. Since Ryans became a subsidiary of Buffets, Inc and now serves the same steak as Old Country Buffet, the steak at Golden Corral has moved up to the top of the buffet chain steaks. The steak was so good that I had to go back for another piece.

I enjoyed my meal at Golden Corral but my wife had a hard time finding things to eat. One of her observations at Golden Corral is that there is very little that is served that is "plain". The meats and the vegetables are served in some type of sauce or are seasoned. Where there are carvings and such at buffets like OCB, at Golden Corral the grill and steak pretty much take that place on the menu. My picky eater wife does not like sauced ribs or brisket and she is not much of a steak eater - so her meal pretty much consisted of roasted/rotisserie chicken. She circled the buffet several times each time she went up for something to find something that she would eat. On the salad bar there is grilled chicken strips for the Caesar salad and she wound up taking some of that when she no longer wanted more of the rotisserie chicken. Looking around the buffet I had to agree with her. While, for someone (like me) who will eat a broad variety of foods - sauced, seasoned or whatever, for someone looking for something "plain" it was not an easy selection. So she was not happy - and I understand why - but I had a great meal.

So, I had a good meal. The new BBQ ribs feature is great - and I hope that they keep it around for a while! And I must add that my experience this time at the Bensalem Golden Corral was very nice. If you are in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania, this is a meal worth going to.

If you are near any Golden Corral in the very near future go for the ribs! Don't wait because, Golden Corral changes their features over time - but at least they have features - the other buffet chains no longer do.

The Golden Corral in Bensalem, Pennsylvania (one of the most eastern Golden Corrals in the Northeast that there is) is located at 1465 Street Road in Bensalem, PA 19020 and their phone number is (215) 245-5301. There is a link at the side of this page to the Golden Corral chain.


Helene Onofrio said...

how about the desserts,--or the breads--biscuits--fruit--vegetables? not all of your readers are such big meat eaters (often for medical reasons, cholesterol, etc.). Please give us a complete picture of these buffets, not just the meat. thanks.

Writer said...

The focus here is on the features and the feature right now is ribs and barbecue. The rest is standard Golden Corral - mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, a limited assortment of "plain" vegetables and a lot of fried vegetables and vegetables in various seasonings and sauces. There is a good mac and cheese (cholesterol producing and artery clogging). The dessert bar is a variety of cakes and pies, puddings, jello, and soft serve ice cream. There are rolls and also pizza but not a big variety in terms of breads. There are also fresh cut fruits - primarily melons. This is what you will find at just about all Golden Corrals all of the time.

Stanley said...

i would tend to agree, some of the articles dont even mention the desserts, or the salads, or the nonmeat things. lots of us are big dessert eaters or in the case of my wife, salads. we dont always know what is "standard" so we appreciate a picture of whats there besides the meat. Im ltd by my dr to one meat portion for dinner, so I look for the other items too. plus, desserts are a big draw for the buffets as you know. knowing what there is important.

Writer said...

As I stated above, when I write about buffets that I have reviewed in the past I try not to repeat what I have written before and there are full descriptions of the Golden Corral offerings including non-meat dishes and the full dessert bar on this site in earlier articles. Just put Golden Corral into the search box for the site at the top of the page and you will find everything that you are looking for to have a non-meat meal. Again, this article is about this month's feature - and that feature just happens to be meat.

Antoinette Bivona said...

I think Stanley was talking about "in general." In general the articles emphasize the meat, seafood or meat type soups. take a look. some of us look for other things at buffets. either based on personal taste (my husband also tends to go for the desserts) or on dr's orders to limit the meat. sometimes even a review of a new buffet fails to says much about the salads, desserts, breads/rolls etc.

Simone said...

It would be nice to hear more about the pastas and rice dishes also at these buffets. I cant eat much meat based on cholesterol issues.

Writer said...

When there is pasta or rice dishes of any note, they are talked about in the buffet reviews. Mostly what will be found are plain white rice and spaghetti (in tomato sauce or on the side), along with macaroni and cheese. When there is anything "better" than these they are always mentioned in the reviews. If you don't see them it means that there were none to be found. These are more commonly found in the upscale buffets such as the casino buffets.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that by eating low carb and higher protein you will lower your cholesterol? True. Cholesterol goes down on a low carb, higher fat (including meat) diet. So you are doing no favors to your health by avoiding the meat and eating pasta, rice, potatoes, and desserts.