Saturday, September 27, 2008

East Buffet will knock you flat, but not in the good way

Photo by TL

Years ago, when I first went to East Buffet, the place was the shit. My family and I would drive all the way out to Huntington to eat at one of the first Chinese/Asian high-end "super" buffets around, and it was even more exciting when branches began opening closer by in Elmhurst and other areas of Queens. Unfortunately, after a long hiatus I ate at the Flushing location a few months ago with TL, and realized the place is now just simply…shitty. At a mere $7.99 for the weekend lunch (slashed from $15.99 through their seemingly perpetual 50% off promotion) I didn't feel overcharged, but I did feel stuffed to the gills with greasy, mediocre, not-so-fresh food. Maybe it was because we arrived at the tail-end of lunch service, but I remember the place just being better all around.
There are two areas of the buffet where you can really make things worth your while, though. One is the sushi bar, which while not excellent by any means, is decent enough. I'd advise the maki over the nigiri, since we're not talking amazing raw fish here.
Photo by TL

The other area is the Peking Duck station, where a man carves slices of meat and skin directly off the bird, layers them atop fluffy pockets of steamed bread, and then hands the plate back so you can dress the combination with with hoisin sauce, cucumber shreds, and slivered scallions as you please. TL came back to the table bearing six of the lil' babies, since the station was about to close (good man). The duck was fatty and the skin soggy—a mark of good Peking Duck is crisp, lacquered skin with the fat rendered out of it—but even bad Peking Duck tends to be pretty enjoyable. Especially when it's unlimited.

So don't go to East Buffet expecting great food (or even good service). But do go expecting mediocre/average Chinese food in wide array, with some sushi and Peking Duck thrown in. And make sure you ready yourself for passing out immediately afterward, which is exactly what TL and I found ourselves doing after our meal.

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