Friday, January 29, 2016


We struggle with the notion of best buffet over top buffets every year. We go to many great buffets - all of which I write about here. We also go to some not so good buffets, and you all hear about those as well. Then it comes to the end of the year and we look at all of the buffets we have been to during that year and try to rank them - and there are some that we had gone back to during the year from years past that consistently come to the top of the list of the best. The problem is deciding which one really is the best. This is not the first time that we came to the conclusion that there are several top buffets that really need to hold a place of honor and that is true this year again. There is no BEST buffet for 2015, but there are four TOP buffets. These are the buffets that are at the top of the list and that have each met the criteria that we set for Best Buffet. And since Lancaster County, PA hosts the most buffets of anywhere, three of this year's buffets are in Lancaster County, PA and one is near home.

The TOP BUFFETS for 2015 named by "Art of the Buffet" are (and in no specific order) - Dutch-Way Family Restaurant in Gap, PA, Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA, Yoder's Restaurant at Yoder's Country Farm Market in New Holland, PA and Yummy China Buffet which is calling itself Yummy Super Buffet now in East Meadow, NY which is named as Top Asian Buffet of 2015.

The criteria for Top Buffet - or Best Buffet - are simple but not easy to meet. The buffet must give excellent value. The buffet must serve quality food. The food must be prepared properly and taste very good to excellent. The restaurant must be managed properly. The service must be good. And all of this must be consistent - meal to meal, visit to visit.Then it must be a buffet that comes to mind to go back to whenever possible. There must be something that sets the buffet apart (in a superior way) to all the rest. We have been to many who don't even come close and then there are some very good buffets that are on their way to meeting all of this. While no one criteria is more important than the others - and they all must be met - the idea that this is a buffet that I cannot wait to get back to is very much in focus when we decide on which buffet makes the cut. And I must say that there is one small buffet in PA that is coming up to this.

Over the next two months (four buffets - four articles) we will talk about each of these buffets and what makes them stand out beyond the rest. We will feature each in its own article.

Each buffet that is a Top Buffet of 2015 will receive a certificate declaring that fact. Some buffets display their certificates proudly - and we are thrilled when we see that they do - but there is no requirement to do so. Look to the coming articles to see why these buffets hold this site's special designation for the year 2015!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Time for the Rules... Again!

It is a new year and it is time to drag out the Rules of the Buffet. I so wish that some of the buffets would take this list - you can use it with my compliments as long as you give credit - and put it up in their restaurant where it well be seen when customers are coming in. Not only would it make for a much for enjoyable dining experience for the customers but it would save a lot of effort on the part of the restaurant dealing with what happens when some of these rules are not followed.

Once again - here are "The Rules of Buffet Dining".


1. All you can eat is not a challenge. It is an offer!

2. There is no limit to the number of times that you can go up and get food.

3. Take your food in courses - as you would be served if ordering from a menu.

4. Everyone must pay!

5. No food is permitted to be taken out of the restaurant.

6. Take only what you will eat - do not waste food.

7. For a more social meal, it is polite to wait for the others at the table to finish their plates and then go up together to get more.

8. Take a clean plate every time that you go up to the buffet tables.

9. If you put it on your plate, leave it there. Never return food to the serving tray.

10. Never eat at the buffet tables!

11. Children under 12 should not be going up to the buffet tables alone.

12. The buffet table is not a cafeteria line.

13. Tip the server.

14. Never take a serving piece from one item and use it for another item.

15. Never place your dirty plates on someone else's table.

16. Never use your silverware to serve yourself from the buffet trays.

17. Once you have gotten what you want, don't stand around the buffet tables. Move on back to your table.

18. Children should remain seated through the meal.

19. Do not fill community plates for the "table". Each should take their own plate of what they wish to eat.

20. If you cough or sneeze into your hand, please do not use that hand to pick up the serving utensils.

21. In the buffet, as in any restaurant, children (and adults) should use their inside voices.

22. Don't talk on your cell phone while you are getting your food at the buffet tables.

23. Never bring an animal into the buffet. (this is not referring to medical guide dogs)

24. Never put your hands into a serving tray.

25. Tell your children not to put their hands into a serving tray - and make sure that they do not!

26. Do not carry on a conversation throughout dinner with the people at the tables around you.

27. Do not put anything back into a serving tray that has dropped onto the serving counter - and never put anything back into a serving tray (whether from the counter or your dish) with your fingers.

28. Never put the serving utensil, whether it a spoon, fork, or tongs, up to your nose to smell the food that you have taken out of the serving tray.

29. Do not eat while walking with your plate back to your table.

If you take a plate, bowl, cup, or piece of silverware and you decide you don't want it, do not put it back on the stack of clean dishes or back with the clean silverware. Take it back to your table or put it on the side of the stack where it will not be taken as clean.  

Friday, January 01, 2016

Back to Peking Buffet, Williamsburg, VA

A number of years back in 2007 the Peking Buffet was our first "Best Asian Buffet". They still have the certificate framed in their door's entrance way. It is also listed on their website. This was always a buffet that we looked forward to going to whenever we were in this area. Then about four or so years ago, they added some things and made some changes to what was served on the buffet. I am sure many will like what they added - a section of Thai food and also a Sushi Train. Many will also like the changes to some of the dishes on the buffet toward hot and spicy. We don't really like hot and spicy - and most of the Thai food that is on its own buffet section is also spicy - so the appeal for us to come here was reduced a bit. Where we would have come back more than once, it has become a maybe visit once. It is however the only Asian buffet of any significance remaining in this immediate area. Others that we have been to in the past and have written about are now gone.

So - w were there recently and we went back. My experience this time was more positive as I found some entrees on the Vegetarian section of the buffet that are favorites and while I am not a vegetarian, these dishes and a few others made for a very satisfactory meal.

One of the things that has remained here is an extensive selection of soups - and with this there is a noodle section at the grill counter where you select one of several different types of noodles and a soup will be created for you by the chef behind the counter consisting of ingredients of your choosing.  We both had Vietnamese pho noodles with cilantro in broth. It was very good - it always has been.

I have written about the Sushi Train before and you can look up any of my other articles in the past few years about this buffet. Let's just say that if you want to stand and watch unlabeled plates of sushi move past you on a track and "have to" take each single piece with its plate, and try to carry more than two or three back to your table - and you like spicy sushi - you will love this. I don't bother with it any more. It may work in Tokyo where you sit at a counter with this going by in front of you - it does not work in a buffet.

The two dishes that I found on the Vegetarian section were vegetable chow mein and vegetable moo shu.  I wish other Asian buffets would add these two simple dishes. I like chow mein. I like moo shu. I admit that to the chow mein I added chicken from the chicken and broccoli tray as I walked back to our table. I also went to the Mongolian grill - they still have the large round domed grill that was very popular at many Asian buffets a number of years ago - and have now been replaced by small hibachi grills.  At his grill, it is the usual choose your meats and vegetables - then pour over that sauces - and hand this to one of two chefs who move your selections around the circumference of the big grill with sticks until it is cooked. The sauces are spicy or sweet. I put none on mine and added soy sauce when I got back to the table and this made me happy.

While we were eating a family of four came in. The couple had a toddler age boy and girl. They decided that they were ordering from the menu - which you can do here if you don't want the buffet. They ordered sushi rolls for themselves and fried rice and lo mein for the kids. What came were two huge platters of fried rice and lo mein. Enough in each platter to feed four hungry adults. All of this was on the buffet (except perhaps the specific sushi rolls that they ordered). The kids each ate about five spoonfuls of the fried rice and noodles. The parents did not take any. All of this was still on the table when they left. It was not that they did not like it - they seemed very happy while they were eating, but it was way too much. They must have paid more for this than if they had ordered the buffet - for the size of these platters and what the sushi ordered this way costs, they had to have. They should have just ordered the buffet. Even the waitresses who cleared the table after they left were amazed at how much food was left untouched.

There is a lot to eat here if you like what you find and if you can eat what is here. Everything is tasty. The food is good. Service is good. The price is also very reasonable at $12.99 for dinner. I am hoping that when I have an opportunity to go back, they will have the chow mein and moo shu again - not spicy.

If you are in this area and want to have all you care to eat Asian, try it. I am certain that anyone who does not mind hot and spicy Asian foods will find much, much more than those of us who would like to eat it but just can't - but still we found enough to eat to end the meal full.

The Peking Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia is located at 120 Waller Mill Road in the Big Kmart Shopping Center. (Kingsgate Green Shopping Center – Bypass Road (Rt.60)). The phone number is (757) 229 - 2288. There is a website and that is listed at the side of this page.