Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chow Time Buffet #8

The third time's the charm. Or so I'm sure the owners of Chow Time Buffet #8 hope. After two failed attempts at opening Asian buffets at 17th and Wanamaker, a third one is now open, under a new owner. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that the owners are from Georgia where another Chow Time Buffet is located.

Many people I've talked to are skeptical about this third restaurant so I decided to check it out.

When I first walked in I noticed the new owners redecorated, but I did recognize some of same decor from the previous restaurant (just like the signs on the buffet, really). A couple walls were knocked
 out but the buffets were all in the same spots. Now, there is a chocolate fountain along with a variety of ice cream on the west side of the buffet. The hibachi grill is still on the north side of the room with the sushi across from it on the south side of the room. I noticed there was an entire buffet full of American-style food such as pizza, mac and cheese and meatloaf, if that's what you want. I didn't try any of that because I came for the Chinese food.

The sushi was about what you'd expect -- smaller portion sizes than if you ordered a roll at a sushi bar but fresh and tasty. They had a wide variety and a sushi chef actively building more sushi and making sure everything was fresh.

The cold bar had in-shell cold shrimp on ice and cocktail sauce, a variety of composed salads and a basic salad bar. The hot food had all your basics, kung-pao chicken, chicken and broccoli, white and fried rice, sauteed green beans, egg rolls and much more. One item that I found weird was this shiny roll-looking thing. When bit into it was kind of weird because it wasn't like the dinner rolls I'm used to, it was chewy and you could hear it. Inside was some kind of orange stuff, which I think was soy or something. Yeah, not gonna try that again.

My only complaint is that the crab Rangoon didn't seem to be fried long enough. The bottom part was kind of soggy and soft, and didn't seem to be cooked long enough for me. The egg roll was the generic kind you find at most Chinese restaurants, same with the sauteed green beans. The white rice was soft and fluffy, the chicken and broccoli was good. I appreciated that it was pretty fresh so the broccoli still had a bit of crunch left to it. Overall, I was satisfied with my meal.

My favorite part was the dessert. Most of the time, desserts at Chinese buffets aren't the best. I was impressed with their selection and with the quality of the products. In the photo to the right, you will see I tried a little bit of a few things. Starting with the donut on the left: It was caky and frosted and tasty. I was surprised that it was soft and sweet and not crumbly. The banana cream dessert right above that was good, too, with vanilla wafers in it and everything. I wasn't a fan of the apple salad next to it. The dressing wasn't sweet enough and didn't really add much to the flavor of the apples. To the right of that, I tried a large marshmallow dipped in the chocolate fountain. It was good, but I think I'd rather have a s'more. The fried Chinese donut below was typical of most buffets. Basically, it was fried biscuit dough tossed in sugar. Always one of my favorites. Last, on the bottom of the plate, is a mini cinnamon roll. It was cold, but it was still soft and good. I was surprised that I liked it. But, I was surprised that I liked as many desserts as I did. I usually end up wasting most of my desserts and this time I practically cleaned my plate.

The food was good, everything looked clean and the waitstaff was friendly. I hope this time the place lasts because I didn't find anything wrong about it, except for that weird roll. But hey, I saw another girl get one and she ate the whole thing, so who knows.