Monday, August 28, 2017

Global Buffet, Levittown, New York

We went for dinner to the just opened Global Buffet which is located in the space that Old Country Buffet last occupied. You enter through the entrance that you entered when this was OCB and going through a second set of doors (as you did before) you come into an area that will become a bar or wine bar. There is a long bar counter along the wall to the left, and a lot of glass shelves on the walls holding decorative wine bottles lying horizontally across the shelves. To the right is an opening and this is the entrance to the restaurant. To the right is the cashier but you do not pay as you enter. You pay at your table at the end of your meal. A host brought us to our table. You may just be able to make out the form of the OCB when you see the room but there has been extensive work done and a lot has been added.

There are mostly booths through the restaurant with a few tables. There are two party rooms - one in the back where the OCB party room had been and another area in the front that is separated from the rest of the restaurant by a wall with glass decorative etched windows looking into the restaurant and an open entrance - that did not seem to have a door. There is a very small stage in the back corner of that room for parties. The dining rooms are fancily decorated and are very nice. On the east side of the restaurant are the buffet tables (nine hot/cold, double sided buffet serving tables), a dessert bar that is along the front of the wall that is an L shape - the short leg of the L parallel on the front to the front party room, then a hot foods carving area, followed by a long hibachi grill. Moving back from the grill there is another L with a sushi bar.

Outside in the entrance area from the street there is a sign with prices. The prices are pretty good. There is a lunch price of $9.99 for adults ($8.49) for seniors) Monday to Friday - and a children's price. The dinner price is $14.99 for adults and $13.99 for seniors plus a children's price which is for Monday through Saturday. There is a Saturday brunch price which I did not note. The Sunday lunch and dinner price is the same and is also $14.99 for adults and $13.99 for seniors. Soft drinks are not mentioned on the sign but are $1.99 and you get refills.

Now I will tell you what so many have been waiting to hear. This is an Asian buffet. There is a carving section that has you carve yourself Roast Turkey, Roast Brisket, and Glazed Baked Turkey. With that there is turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, and chunk pan fried potatoes. Over on the buffet tables mixed in with a large variety of Asian dishes are pork chops with peppers and onions on top, lamb with cream sauce, corned beef and cabbage, chicken Marsala, macaroni and cheese, french fries, mashed sweet potatoes, and beef stew. There is fried chicken that has been cut up into pieces - I don't mean whole pieces of fried chicken, but those pieces cut up into pieces. There was Sausage with Peppers and Onions, seafood pasta, Italian-style baked clams and "Italian" shrimp. There were also several fish dishes including a rolled and stuffed fillet of fish that was baked. There was typical Asian buffet pizza. There is also a Taco Bar and a decent salad bar with both salad greens and toppings and also prepared salads - a little better than you usually see in this area. There were six soups: Won Ton Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, Clam Soup, chicken noodle soup, and what appeared to be a seafood bisque of some kind. Most things are labeled, this soup was not.

The Asian foods are just about all that you generally find in an Asian buffet. There is a sushi bar and then there is an hibachi grill. The hibachi grill is a long row of raw vegetables and cut up pieces of various meats that you assemble yourself on a plate and hand it to the chef behind the grill at the end. This is the extent of the grill. Do not expect whole steaks or anything like that.  The majority of dishes here are Asian.

How was the food? I am writing based on the second night they are open. Let's say that what I am going to report is opening shake out issues which hopefully will improve. There is a problem with serving temperatures. Many things were not hot enough. When something is first put out it is hot. Sitting on the steam table, even with hot warming lights over it - in the middle of the table covering both sides and not directly over each tray, the some of the food that I took was cold. I focused my meal on American food items, as at this point, I am "Asian buffeted out". For soup I took the chicken noodle soup. It turned out to be a thin watery cream soup with pieces of chicken and bowtie noodles. It had little flavor.  I took corned beef and cabbage. Corned Beef is a favorite of mine and I was excited to find it. I understand that corned beef varies a great deal and there are many cuts. Some cuts of corned beef are very tough - almost difficult to chew. I took two pieces of corned beef - one from the bottom of the liquid in the tray and the other nearer the top. Both were cold. Both were so chewy and tough they were impossible to eat. I left most of both of them - trying each just in case one piece was better. It wasn't. I carved myself turkey twice during the dinner. The first piece I took was sufficiently warm. There was a small tray of gravy in the turkey tray and I took some gravy and put it on top. Together on that first try it was all fine. Later in the meal I went back for more turkey and this time when I ate the turkey it was near cold - and the tray of turkey gravy had been taken out of the turkey tray and put on the side of the counter and left there - with no heat under it or over it. I was not going to take the gravy this time. I took some of the ham - it was fine and warm enough. I took a pork chop which is more a slice of pork cooked like a pork chop. It was also cold, did not have much taste, and it was very tough - also hard to chew - to the point that I left over some of that as well. I tied chicken salad from the salad bar - real mayonnaise style chicken salad as opposed to Chinese Chicken Salad. It was also hard to chew. I tried the seafood and pasta - the pasta was underdone and chewy.

My wife was choosing a mix of Asian and American foods and she liked what she was having. What did I like? The beef stew was both hot, tender, and tasty both times I went up for it. I liked that a lot. The carved ham was fine. The cut up fried chicken was fine. The mashed potatoes tray had been empty for awhile and when it finally was refilled I took some mashed potatoes and it was fine. The mashed sweet potatoes were fine. The turkey the first time around was fine. I liked the baked clams a lot.

The desserts here include several cut up fresh fruits, puddings, jellos, etc. along with the usual Asian buffet little pieces of commercially baked cakes and a big assortment of cookies. Some of the cookies look beyond usual buffet cookies - but I tried one expecting it to be soft to the bite but it was not. I looked really good. They have hot bread pudding on one of the buffet tables. It is a mixture of egg custard and slices of bread baked on top and it was tasty. Not as great as some bread puddings but good. They also have apple strudel cut into slices and hot. This is found at some other Asian buffets. My wife had it and liked it. They have a soft serve ice cream machine but it is not yet working. It will be shortly. The waitresses were talking about it at a near by table and it will be a few days before they can get it into service.  

I don't want you to come away from this article thinking that the food here or dinner here is not good. They need to progress a bit from their first two days being open. All the time we were there, there were Asian men who worked there going around to all of the food trays making notes on forms on clip boards. They need to get the temperatures of their steam tables adjusted, go around and stir the dishes so that they heat evenly and at the same time don't dry out. We certainly found things to eat - some of it could have been better. We did not leave hungry. The quality of the food seems fine. The price is decent. No coupons - or any advertising at all has shown up yet in the local newspaper for this restaurant - which is surprising. We will see if any start to show up. There were many people around us that seemed very happy.

Service was very good. Our empty dishes were taken away as soon as we were finished with them. Drinks were refilled with our waitress asking several times if we would like more - and it was promptly brought. There were a few moments of confusion by the waitress which were promptly corrected - no big deal. Everyone working was very polite and nice.

Will we go back? Yes. While it is a couple of dollars more than the Asian buffet we have been going to in Baldwin, it is much closer. If I am in the mood for Asian, it has all that I would expect and then there is the added benefit of the American dishes - which most of my readers know have been sorely missed in this area. (Maybe someone could introduce them to a good meat loaf recipe?) So I recommend it? If you are eager to see it for yourself and try it - sure. Just understand that there are some improvements needed which they will pick up on and fix. If you want to wait and give them some time to shake out the wrinkles, we hope that giving them some time will bring it up a notch or two. And is they are smart and read this article they will know exactly what they need to look closer at.

As we go along we will let you know what happens. As I say, we will be going back - and when there is something to write about, we will write it.

Global Buffet (the and grill seems to not be on any sign now - but the grill is here and open) is located at 3541 Hempstead Tpke, Levittown, NY 11756. I have seen three different phone numbers on two different phone listings - one with one number and another with two different numbers from each other and the one on the other listing. As a result I am not listing any phone number. There were no hours listed that we could see at the restaurant. There is no website and there is no Facebook page. Anything that you find about Global Buffet on the Internet if it does not say Levittown, NY it is not them. There was a Global Buffet that closed in Oswego, NY a year ago and there is a Global Buffet in Canada - that is definitely not related to this one. At some point there should be a website and a Facebook page -  but that is only a guess based on standard operating procedure for restaurants for this day and age.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Global Buffet and Grill has not yet opened. The sign is still on the building saying it is "Coming Soon". From outside it is clear that work is continually being done - so we sent scouts out to go there and tell us what could be seen inside.

It is very obvious from what could be seen - it it that was considerable - that this is going to be an Asian buffet - or perhaps a combination Asian and international buffet. The rear wall of the restaurant could be seen fairly well through the windows (though it was very dark inside) and there are large backlit painted or stained glass art pictures lining that wall. Since they are backlit, they could been clearly seen. They seem to be framed in chrome or polished steel.

There seemed to be a lot of polished steel or chrome and/or brass in the decor. The buffet tables are set up and plentiful and they line up in rows front to back taking up about half the main dining room of what once was Old Country Buffet. These were seen from a distance through an open door. It was not possible to see anything of the grill.

This does not seem to be in anyway a "simple" or "everyday" buffet restaurant. From the decor that could be seen, it will be a surprise if this turns out to be what for this location an "affordable" buffet.

As to one of our readers who somehow was convinced that this will be a "Halal"  restaurant - highly unlikely - and in fact - the restaurant this reader came across or found out about is an catering hall/restaurant with the same name - Global Buffet and Grill - that is located in Canada and can be seen with a simple Google search.  This nothing like that - and it is extremely highly unlikely that there is any connection.

To lend more to that, looking up the corporation information on the new to come restaurant in Levittown, the corporate name has been modified to "Master Grill and Global Buffet, Inc.".  When I saw that ("Master Grill") before we knew what the interior is looking like, I was pretty certain that this is a name for an Asian Buffet company.

So - this is all conjecture based on what could be seen in a dimly lit room under construction through partially closed blinds and one half open side door. It is more than we knew before.

I was hopeful that we were getting an affordable "home-style/country" buffet. From what has been seen - it will not be. The one thing we don't need in this area is another Asian buffet. With one directly across the street, another in the next village that went out of business thinking that this area could support an Asian buffet at upscale prices that despite one time great food and even an attempt at lowering prices could not remain in business, and an upscale priced "international" buffet in the town north west of that.  Maybe we all will be surprised. The decor of Flaming Grill in Baldwin is similar in style to this - chandeliers and fancy decor, and is one of the most reasonably priced Asian buffets on Long Island - but they are part of a chain. There is no chain involved here that we can uncover.


Don't hold your breath for a Golden Corral to come to Long Island. The company has emphatically said no - not unless a franchiser wants to put up the money and take the risk. The two new Golden Corrals - Newburgh, NY and West Milford, CT - both in former OCB locations are having problems and we have been advised by readers to not go until they get themselves straightened out.