Restaurant Buffet

Yesterday, we took a break from the Sailboat Show to lunch at an Annapolis restaurant that features a buffet. It was early and we were among the first patrons. The buffet featured a nice selection of seafood along with the usual fried chciken/baked chicken. One of the items was crawfish. As I went to the buffet line with my plate, I saw a woman leaving with her plate piled high with nothing but crawfish. There were maybe 6 left in the tray.

So, it raised this question:

What’s your take on restaurant buffet lines?[ul]1. Great place to sample lots of different things.
2. I paid my $9.95 or whatever - I’ll take as much of whatever I want, dammit.
3. I really, really like those crab legs - I won’t take them all at once, but I’ll go back until I’ve had enough.
4. Buffet? How plebian![/ul]Personally, I lean toward #3. Much as I love a particular food, I won’t be so selfish as to take it all as soon as I get there. And, with a little bit of #1 - it’s nice to have a big variety to sample.

Sound off!

I go to a local pizza restaurant atleast 3 or 4 times a month and everytime I get the Buffet. It has alot of variety so it keeps me happy

When I was a kid, my favorite place to eat out was The Viking Inn – a buffet type place, but the buffet was a big multi-level carousel that was set in a a cut-out in the wall so the staff could replenish dishes from the kitchen without coming into the dining room. This was absolutely the coolest thing imaginable. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to load up on everything at once, because you’d want to go back and do the carousel thing as many times as possible. (And my father always got chocolate pudding “mit schlag” for dessert, but that’s another reminiscence.)

Oh. Was there a question here?

I’m with you, FCM – I’ll take a combo answer, please, a little #1 and a little #3. Usually I’ll sample a bunch of different things that look good, then go back for seconds (or thirds, but let’s not count) on anything that’s particularly delicious.

I don’t like eating all one thing, so when I go to buffets I want to get as much variety as possible. Okay, if it’s Indian, I will attempt to collect all the naan, but I’ll do it slowly.

#1 and #3 pretty much sum it up. I don’t want to waste whatever I took so I make sure I will eat what I take. Only hesitations about buffet’s are the cleanliness… do those sneeze guard things really protect the food? People with colds breathing over the food. I dunno. I’m weird like that sometimes. But it’s still nice to go once in a while. Get a lot of variety for little money.

You may love the crawfish but I bet Miss Manners would say to sample it and leave some for others. You can always return back to the bar, but give others a chance to have some too.

We all like mashed potatos in the house and the kids pile them on their plates like there is going to soon be a shortage on potatos but they each take a turn makins sure others get a good helping “first” I think this is good manners.

I like buffets, particularly Indian buffets. But they’re dangerous, so I try to avoid them, 'cause I always end up eating too much.

I think the idea is that you see so much food that you’re tempted to eat less.

Red Lobster’s special, all you can eat crab legs, was funny. They didn’t think people would keep going back so much for more:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2003-09-26-crab_x.htm

#3.

Although I can see how people would go for #2, especially if they were in a hurry and needed to snarf and get outta there quickly.

I’ll take a serving of #3 and #1. I’ve found that most buffets will keep refreshing their dishes, so I really don’t have to worry about them running out of my preferred food. I’ve also discovered that my eyes are frequently bigger than my stomach. My best buffet experiences are those times when I pick out small portions of the foods I know I like, and add a couple of foods that look interesting. I had to learn this strategy in Las Vegas, Land of 10,000 buffets.

There’s a chain of Mexican food buffets around here that’s been around for ages. One night, when my husband was a teenager, he and his brothers (all five of them) literally ate the restaurant out of food. I think that they might have had a couple of friends with them. His brothers (blood and step) were all pretty close in age. I always visualize human locusts descending upon the buffet when I think of this.

Sunday at the Chinese buffet: forget about getting any crab legs unless you stand over the pan… or go in half hour before closing. All the big homeboys swarm on them and cary off heaping plates… if I wanted ittie bitties I’d have bought them and cooked them at home!

soo umm yeah #3… jeez some people.

I usually have #1 and #3 on my tray. On occasions where the kitchen is really slacking I may add a dash of #2.

Fortunately, out here we have Todai. They are an all you can eat sushi buffet. The quality is reasonable for the price.

Their accountant starts weeping silently whenever I walk in the door.

#1 and #3, with a good bit of #2 thrown in. But, do leave some for the others, if for nothing else than to not appear as a pig.

#1 and #3, though last year, after I got sick and almost everything turned my stomach, I was doing a fair bit of #2 at the chinese buffet regarding the blander dishes.

Doesn’t work with me (and frankly, I doubt that theory with anyone). I love variety, so buffets always tempt me to eat too much. I have never gone regularly and now avoid them like the plague. When I did go, though, I would never have cleaned the place out of a particular dish–that’s just rude. #1 for me.

I go to a sushi buffet ($17.50) and the food is on otter tummies that swim around a moat. If you position yourself right you can get all the new food that comes out first.

#1 and #3.

[hijack]

This thread makes me think back to the last time my (soon-to-be-ex) wife and I went to a chinese buffet.

There were these two women, in the roughly 400 pound ballpark, surrounded by dishes and napkins on the table, all sorts of crumbs, dropped food, dirty napkins and dropped silverware on the floor around them. They were absolute obnoxious PIGS!

Every time the restaurant people would come by them (they were directly between the back and the register), they would have incredible looks of shock and disgust on their faces.

Now, I’m not blaming this just on their being…large, but the fact that they were so didn’t make it any more attractive. They made a huge mess and ate more food than a school bus filled with hungry teens. And left at least as much scattered around the table and the floor. That’s what irritated me the most - the extreme waste.

Me, I would have banned them from the premises, just on the basis of the waste and the mess they made.

[/hijack]

FCM, this might not have to do with being greedy but the fact that it was crawfish.

When we were in New Orleans on our way to San Diego several years ago (Ivylad was in the Navy and he had been transferred) they served crawfish piled high and deep on the plates in the restaurants. I never had any, but I get the feeling there’s not a lot of meat to them, so forty to fifty crawfish on a plate is not out of line.

How was she with the rest of the food?

Crawfish? Did somebody say crawfish? drooling I got instantly addicted to them the first time I ate them. I couldn’t live without now. That’d be my only problem if I moved, trying to find a source for them! (At least one of the grocery stores I shopped at in Georgia did carry frozen ones, but I never got them because they were expensive.)

But yeah, food portions in this town are usually EXTREMELY generous. A plateful of crawfish is not unusual, whether at a buffet or a sit-down place. And they’ll put out more crawfish. Honest.

There was no rest of the food that I noticed, not that I spent my meal checking out her plate. All I saw was the first trip when she just about emptied the tray. I don’t know when they refilled the tray - I didn’t look when I went back for shrimp…

And I know there’s not a lot to them - my husband loves them, not that he got any that day. It just struck me as being marginally rude to remove an entire selection option from the rest of the diners. Would I have done the same thing if it had been lobster tails? Well, I might have thought about it, but I think I’d have just made multiple trips.