Friday, December 30, 2016

Minado Japanese Seafood Buffet, Carle Place, New York

It has been two years since I have written about Minado. Minado is part of a small chain of Japanese seafood buffets located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. We have only been to the New York location which is in Carle Place on Long Island in New York. This article is based on our very recent visit for dinner on a weeknight.

This is the most expensive buffet that we go to on even a semi-regular basis - and semi-regular in this case means MAYBE once a year.  Dinner Monday to Thursday costs $31.99 and this does not include any beverage. Friday and Saturday dinner and Sunday and Holidays all day the price is $33.95. For two, on a limited budget, this is a buffet for special occasions and we had such an occasion and just went for dinner on a Wednesday night.

The restaurant was crowded - a lot more crowded than we have seen it before except perhaps the first time we went in 2010 when there were several parties going on in the separate party rooms of the restaurant. It is the holiday season, schools are closed and the restaurant was busy with tables of families, couples, and groups of friends. We walked right in and were seated. There was no wait for a table. A waiter came over and when we did not order beverages - either hard or soft - he seemed disappointed - which he should not have been so obvious about. That set me off at the start with concern about him but in the end he was OK.

We started with soup and there are now three chef prepared soups in addition to a few soups out for self-serve. Each of the soups featured different noodles. We like Udon soup and that is what we ordered from the gentleman behind the soup counter. There was also a ramen soup that was made with pork bone broth and another noodle soup. The Udon noodles are taken and put into a basket when you order and dropped into a vat of boiling water to heat and then put in a cup with broth. You then let the chef know what you would like added to the soup from a selection of ingredients including tempura shrimp, seaweed, scallions and more that typically go into Udon soup. I have had this soup in a few Asian buffets and I like the one they make for you here the best.

There is a large selection of sushi of every type. The fish is fresher than any I have had at any other Asian buffet that serves sushi. The tuna is a dark almost red-brown color and tastes better than other tuna sushi that I have had. There is also small dishes of just raw fish put out each with a thick chunk of tuna or salmon and a slice of a white fish with a silver shiny skin. Some with all three. None with all the same fish. I would much prefer having it served on a platter to take the fish that I would like best - salmon and/or tuna but they do not do that. The fish in the little plates was plain with no sauce of any type or marinade - as they once had in the past. And they also once had those platters of fish out to take - but as I say - no more.

There is a long row of Japanese salads all on ice that comes around the buffet and heads back as long as the sushi area which is the length of this large buffet area. Each is well labeled with what it is called and what the ingredients are. You can easily tell if there is something you wish to avoid when you read the signs. There are salads here with raw fish as well as other ingredients. Ever want to try raw beef - there are thin, small slices of raw beef in a marinade here to try.

This all for me is very much a tasting meal. I do not take more than a small quantity of anything that I take here because there is just so much - and I am very tempted by everything. I know from past visits here that I can very easily overeat here and then I am not happy afterwards. I pace myself and make sure not to overload on any one thing.

After the salads, I went for dumplings. There were four. A meat gyoza dumpling, a vegetable gyoza dumping, a shrimp siu mai, and a crab and meat siu mai. All were steamed after pan frying. They were all good! You see what I mean about pacing one's self here in how much you take? We have not yet gotten to the entrees.

There are also cold snow crab leg clusters - large clusters without claws. The problem that I find with cold crab legs is that when you break them open the meat stays stuck in the shell. There are nut crackers on every table to crack shells but even with that, getting the crab meat out of the shell is a struggle. Hot crab legs do not have this problem - until they sit on your plate and get cold - but when eaten hot, the meat will just pull right out of the shell with only needing to break the leg section in half and sliding all of the crab out at once. There are no hot crab legs here. The cold crab legs if you can get out the meat offer a lot of meat that depending on your liking of snow crab may be well worth while.

There are also hot appetizer meats on skewers - charbroiled sliced short ribs, broiled chicken, charbroiled mushrooms with peppers, and more. All good of what I tried.

Now we come to the entrees. There was a large platter of beef with two really large beef bones running through each side. The meat was just falling off the bones and you pulled off what you wanted into your plate. This was good but very fatty. There were many platters of many entrees. I took some of the beef teriyaki that was nicely prepared and had a good steak flavor. I took a split and stuffed, whole, broiled prawn with the head on. This was very good. Often when these are served in Asian buffets you have to fight to open them and get the meat out. Because these were split and stuffed (with imitation crab which was openly identified on the label over the hot tray) the meat came right out. It was good. I took a little of other entrees as well and also some Japanese fried rice and Soba noodles made like Lo Mein. 

With all of this there is an hibachi grill and while hibachi grills are common in Asian buffets, this one cooks one order at a time and does it right as it would be done in a Japanese steak house. It is done with flare and fast knife work and spatula mixing. You can choose steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops, or just vegetables. There is no sweet sauce added. The sauce they mix in is a light brown sauce of the consistency of soy sauce but it was more than soy sauce. Zucchini squash and onions are cooked on the grill along with the meat. Two good size pieces of steak go on the grill. I asked for the steak to be cooked rare and it was. I must remember next time we come here - and that will be in a year - maybe - to ask for a small portion from the hibachi. What comes off the griddle filled the dinner plate - and this was the last thing that I took. It was way too much given what I had already eaten before. It was way too much. 

This brings us to dessert. While the desserts are not lavish, they are different. There are small squares of out cakes - green tea cake, chocolate butter cake, fruit mouse cakes, small cups of Tiramisu, other cakes, jellies (jello like desserts), and cookies. There is also a crepe station - now moved to the end of the dessert counter. The woman behind the crepe griddle makes each to order and fills it to order as you watch. The problem with this now is the location, as the line to the crepe station lines up in front of the dessert bar and it was difficult to get to the cakes unless you were also on line waiting for crepes. We just made our way in to the cakes we wanted to take as crepes after this meal would have been just way over the top - for us. Many were getting them. There is also a cold buffet server of ice with platters of raw fruits - melon, pineapple, oranges, mango, grapes, and more. There was one disappointment for us on this particular night - the soft-serve ice cream machine was not working. A sign apologizing was on the machine. This meant no green tea ice cream which we both look forward to when we come here.

There is plenty here - as you can see - and plenty that is not fish along with a great deal that is. Other than shrimp my picky eater wife does not eat fish or seafood. She has no problem eating as much of a large variety of non-seafood as she cares to eat at this buffet.

The food is good and the food is quality and prepared and served properly. It is worth the money that they charge if you have the money to spend on a single meal. Lunch prices are cheaper. There are some signs that indicate that some selections are not included on the lunch buffet. I do recommend this buffet. As I say we go here for special occasions.

Minado Japanese Seafood Buffet is located at 219 Glen Cove Rd, Carle Place, New York. Their telephone number is 516-294-9541. There is a website and the link is at the side of this page. Hours may always vary from location to location so check on the website before you go. On the website you will find details for all of the locations. The website in the past detailed the menu. It no longer does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With regards to the Snow Crab, I can't speak for this particular location, but at the locations in New Jersey you can pick your Crab and ask your Server to heat them for you and request REAL Drawn butter.