Friday, October 26, 2012

A Tale Of Two Golden Corrals - Virginia PART II

In Part I I wrote about our not so great experience at the Williamsburg, Virginia Golden Corral. That night we got on the computer and looked for Golden Corrals in that area. The next nearest Golden Corral is in Newport News, Virginia. After that the next one was in Hampton Roads. We had been to the Golden Corral in Hampton Roads many years ago. It was nice, but Newport News was closer and straight down I64 and right off the exit in a shopping center. We decided that we would go there on one of the nights of this trip.

The Newport News Golden Corral was easy to find. The trip from Williamsburg was not that long. It is located in the parking lot of a shopping center with several stores. The shopping center was quite spread out and there was plenty of parking for the restaurant which stands alone in a corner of one of the parking lots. You are pretty much out of the tourist areas here and you are at this restaurant with local people - which can be a very good thing.

We parked and went inside to find a Golden Corral with what I am going to describe as a "normal" Golden Corral layout. The dining rooms across one side of the restaurant and the buffet server in one long row spread out across the rear wall of the restaurant. We paid and seated ourselves. At Golden Corral you pay as you enter and you order your drink at the cashier who then gives you the drink to take to your table. Refills are done by your server.

The restaurant was large and the tables were nicely spaced - typical of most Golden Corrals with the exception of the Williamsburg location.We seated ourselves and went right up to the buffet. As I said, this is the typical Golden Corral buffet layout. The buffet spreads across the entire rear wall of the restaurant in one long line of serving areas. The salad bar starts at one end and the hot foods then carry along. Here - unlike Williamsburg - there was a Chinese station with four serving trays of Chinese food. The hot buffet continues along with a bump out for the grill and here the grill is out enough in the open that there is plenty of room to be able to wait for your steak to be cooked as you like it without holding up others who want their steak differently. The hot buffet continues around and along with the bakery next - a selection of hot breads and rolls - and then this connects to the dessert section with its broad variety.

Here there were no bottlenecks. There was no confusion. There was no waiting on lines just to get up to a serving tray of food.

The buffet also still had the seafood saute, but here it did not interfere with any other part of the buffet - including the grill which it is located next to. There were a few people getting that - and this does involve a wait on line because each person's dish is cooked to order and they can do one or two at the most at one time.

This Golden Corral also had the Tropical Grill feature - and just to see if it would be any different than my taste at Williamsburg, I took a very little bit to try. I did not like it here any more than I did there. I know that by now this feature is gone - as a new one has been announced -but if you did not like spicy or sweet, this was not for you (or me).

I just mentioned a new feature and that feature may have been getting its start in both of these Virginia Golden Corrals - though had I just gone to Williamsburg and not Newport News, I would not have realized that now. The new feature is Carvers - various meats being carved including a whole turkey. In Williamsburg, there had been the remains of what had been a whole turkey. What was left - and what had not been replaced with another turkey, was the carcass of a turkey with some remaining shreds of meat on the side. In Newport News there was almost a whole turkey to be carved - obviously recently brought out. They could have done a better job of having someone there to carve it but all it really took was getting someone's attention that was behind this counter near the grill and ask for a piece, and you would get a slice or a part like a drumstick if you asked for it. This seems to be what the new feature is all about - and if I can get to another Golden Corral before this feature ends, I will let you all know more about it.

I have to also mention that they had some really good ribs here. There were no ribs at the Williamsburg location. These were tasty and close to fall off the bone ribs. Also, like at another buffet that I wrote about in Virginia recently, there was baked spaghetti on the buffet here. I had said this about this dish at the other buffet - this must be something local because I have never seen it anywhere other than in these Virginia buffets. Baked Spaghetti is like  baked lasagna using spaghetti. It is spaghetti mixed with tomato sauce and mixed with cheese and then covered with cheese and baked. It is actually quite tasty.

We had a very enjoyable and relaxed meal here. Service was good on this first night - it had been marginally fair in Williamsburg. I am not going to talk about price as prices seem to vary by area. It can be $9.99 and it can be $10.99. I do not believe it can be higher than that - price is something that Golden Corral advertises about. The soft drinks with refills are additional and this was a bit high  for sodas - $2.09 per person.

We wound up making the trip a second time to Newport News to go to this Golden Corral again during this trip. I might have made a better choice than I did of tables as this server was just OK - and she wound up leaving during the middle of our meal - and her replacement was much better. And while she was still our server I could see other servers really hustling around doing their jobs and she was very casual about it spending more time on her cell phone hiding near the soda machine than working her tables. Her replacement was a pleasure.

We would have gone back a third time, but as I said in Part I, there was a storm that badly flooded Newport News that day, and we were not going to chance going into that.

Our next trip to Williamsburg - and we go there often - we will be making the drive to Newport News when we want to dine at Golden Corral. If you are in this area or going to this area, I suggest that you do the same!

1 comment:

Graciella said...

I think that you meant Hampton Roads, not Hampton Bays. I've been to both and they are not the same! :)