Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Chinese Buffet In Topeka

The University Chinese Buffet at 21st and Washburn

I can't say I got my hopes up because I didn't. I figured The University Chinese Buffet at 21st and Washburn would be just another Chinese buffet in Topeka, and I was right. But, that being said, it wasn't a bad Chinese buffet, it just wasn't surprising. The most surprising thing? The variety of ice creams they offer for dessert. Yeah, seriously.

Upon arriving I noticed the restaurant was opened up more than it was when it was a Mexican place. But the decor was the same and the owners didn't change much. I did like that it was more open, especially for a buffet.

My (first) plate.
The food was your typical Chinese buffet food selections: kung pao chicken, lo mein, chicken and broccoli, crab Rangoons, egg rolls, sushi and rice. There's fresh fruit and salad, and I was impressed they had in-shell shrimp cocktail. It's not every day buffets offer that. I have noticed that newer Chinese buffets incorporate sushi as this one did. I didn't try any sushi but it looked like they used cooked fish and vegetables so you don't have to worry about raw fish sitting out on a buffet, if that bothers you. It doesn't bother me, I just wasn't feeling sushi that night.

I got my favorites: vegetable lo mein, white rice, chicken broccoli, sweet and sour chicken, egg roll, crab Rangoon, sesame chicken and some fried rice (pictured at the right). Everything tasted good, but the lo mein didn't seem hot enough to me, temperature-wise. I thought maybe it was because I had left my plate sitting for a minute, but when I went back for the fresh batch they put out, it still wasn't piping hot. Not sure if the steam table was messed up or what, but I thought I'd mention that. Everything else seemed up to temp, so it struck me as odd that it was the one dish that was luke-warm. Fluke, maybe?

I scream, you scream.
As I mentioned before, I was excited about the ice cream selections. Usually, at Chinese restaurants they offer vanilla soft serve, and who knows if it's any good. Here, at University Chinese Buffet, they have a variety of ice cream to choose from. strawberry, chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip and for those of you who like traditional, they also have vanilla. I am not supposed to be eating dairy but I went ahead and tried some strawberry and mint chocolate chip. As a person who's worked in food service most of her life, I have to say I appreciated that the ice cream wasn't rock hard. It was soft and easily scooped so you didn't have chip away at rock hard ice cream. I've had to, and it's awful.

The buffet line the woman was complaining about.
Overall, I enjoyed the buffet. I will go back in the future since it's only a few blocks from my house. If you're looking for a large variety, go to King's Chinese Buffet, but if you're happy with the classics, this place is for you. I don't mind not having a million items to choose from because I usually get all the same stuff anyway.

I also wanted to mention that I went at 8 p.m. on a Monday night, when they close at 9:30 p.m. All the food was fresh, the cook was putting out new, fresh food on a regular basis and the waitress, even though she was cleaning up for closing, was attentive and helpful.

There was a lady at the buffet who was complaining about the selection, but I couldn't understand what she was complaining about. The lo mein needed replaced, (which they did like 3 minutes later) and everything else was full and looked fresh. I guess I just don't know what she was meaning. Her family sat there for another 20 minutes, then left. As if they were waiting for something and never got it. So... I guess for some the buffet wasn't worth it, but to me, I thought it was.