Buffet


The lunch buffet here is a syrupy mess, with beef, curries and chicken tikka. It’s inexpensive: a buffet and a soda cost less than 8 dollars. It can be, at times, hard to dig the meats out of the pools of broth, and access to one or another ingredient may be very dependent on whether the buffet is recently stocked.

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Beef nehari, beef karahi, and on the bottom of the photo, bagare baingan.

Still, it was good, with decent spice in some dishes. I especially liked the beef nehari. There was decent flavor in that dish. I wasn’t as pleased with the beef karahi, which seemed all bones to me. The bagare baingan was quite good, and at times, could really bring on the heat.

The mall Asma’s is located in is a halal hotbed, full of small places to eat. Further, in the mall, an Indian Chinese restaurant is going to arrive soon.

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I don’t recall convenient Indian Chinese since the one restaurant on Peachtree Industrial was around (back when Books Japan was on Peachtree Industrial, and in the same mall).

Asma’s Cuisine
3099 Breckinridge Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 380-9548

Asma's Cuisine on Urbanspoon

This place is an original, a Caribbean-Southern fusion buffet with food good enough to talk about. It has bits and pieces of other cuisines as well. They had a General Tso’s chicken that day, and some dishes with Italian roots. It’s the Caribbean and Southern foods, however, that will keep folks coming back.

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The curries here – chicken and goat, are respectable. They’re flavorful and relatively mild. They have jerk chicken too, a good looking dish, but it doesn’t hold up to the steam the way the curries do. They have southern style vegetables and dishes. I tried collards, green beans and fried chicken. I liked the fried chicken, liked the collards, felt the green beans to be a little watery and lacking flavor.

Curried chicken, curried goat, fried chicken.

Curried chicken, curried goat, fried chicken.

Still for as much curry as you can eat, for 9 dollars including drinks, for decent Southern vegetables and a bite or two of fried chicken, it should probably attract more attention than it does. It’s a relatively new restaurant and concept, so we’ll see.

Fusion 78
5150 Stone Mountain Highway
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
(678) 344-5497

Fusion 78 on Urbanspoon

The best thing about Baby Jane’s might be their stuffed salmon patties: thick as the tip of my thumb, as round as a quarter, browned and a little toasty. They were breaded salmon goodness, evoking memories of sucking the last little bit of flavor out of a stuffed crab.

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Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chicken fried steak, salmon patties.

Or it might be Baby Jane’s cheesecake, rich and delicious.

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Almost everything we tried was good; one exception was the brussels sprouts (overcooked, really impossible to avoid in a buffet). If you stuck to vegetables that can handle steaming over a period of time (greens, cabbage, corn), then the veggies were entirely satisfactory. The meats? There was plenty of fried chicken, but they also had good pork chops, a good fried fish, and the aforementioned salmon patties.

My wife, something of a picky eater, went back three times for plates of food. Drinks here are huge and often refilled. Staff were a pleasure.

Baby Jane’s Home Cooking
2054 Main Street East
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 502-7055

Baby Jane's Home Cooking on Urbanspoon

The table of grilled meats has disappeared at Atlantic in Snellville, to be replaced by a hibachi station. So what’s a hibachi station? It’s what folks in my generation used to call a Mongolian barbecue. You select a plate full of raw food, hand it to a cook, who then grills your foods. Usually you tip; a dollar is common. On return, you end up with a plate of freshly grilled meats and veggies.

Results from a hibachi run at Atlantic Buffet

Compared to the old arrangement, an eater is much less likely to walk off with a whole plate of short ribs. And the product people would get is a lot healthier. I suspect it’s a cost saving measure. Buffets are everywhere, and managing the balance between product quality and profit is very hard.

Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill
2059 Scenic Highway #117
Snellville GA 30078
(770) 985-1388

Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill on Urbanspoon

John Boys is pretty much the opposite of hot, and proof that hotness, to a certain degree, is irrelevant. This restaurant has had no entry in Urbanspoon for years, and in fact I didn’t write about it once because I couldn’t find an entry for it in Urbanspoon. It’s only when you realize that the clientele of this place couldn’t give a flip about those kinds of tools is when you get it. This place is about serving people for whom trends are never “OMG, so last week!” The selling point is simple fare, sold at a great price.

The price point for John Boy’s buffet is $7.50, about 4 dollars less than Golden Corral. As a consequence, this place is well served by an older crowd.  They’re the kind of folk whose opinions won’t be given away in facial expressions.  You’ll have to look at their eyes, and the corners of  their lips to know how they think and feel. Or maybe, just count the numbers in the eatery. That will give you a clue.

A typical weekly John Boy's Menu.

This place  is very comfortable for someone like me  to eat. The plentiful supply of good vegetables and ample quantities of meats make this a good pit stop for a diabetic. And there are lots of families here as well, often large ones, with grown kids and mostly grown grandkids, and some patriarch at the head of his bountiful table.

Now, at the price, don’t expect fancy meats or television ads. The food, however, for what they serve, is competitive with any  buffet in the area. And for those who wonder what ever happened to the cafeterias of the 20th century, well, they either evolved into these modest (and critically underserved) buffets, or they perished from the face of the earth.

John Boy’s Home Cooking
3050 Main Street W.
Snellville, GA 30078
(770) 969-6988

Johnboy's Home Cooking on Urbanspoon

There is a hint of the old Badayori in Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill. This is a restaurant that pays attention to appearances, and whose foods are well displayed. It’s only a hint though. There is none of the air of “conspicuous consumption” that drove some of Badayori’s over the top offerings. No “palm heart” salads, no plates of artichoke hearts. The sushi range from surprisingly good to surprisingly confusing. Unlike Badayori, which had excellent consistency in the beginning, the classic Chinese buffet dishes in the Atlantic Buffet are sometimes good and sometimes ordinary. The crawfish lacked spice. Cauliflower were overcooked. The scallops with black bean sauce were shockingly devoid of black beans.

This place truly shines, though, when you get to the line of  their grilled foods, especially the mushrooms, zucchini, and mackerel. The mackerel, especially, is amazingly good. We went back for seconds and thirds on Atlantic’s line of grilled foods.

It’s inexpensive for this kind of eating. $10.99 per  adult, with soft drinks $1.59 each. The breads are good here, and they keep warm rolls in a carousel, along with slices of pizza.

It’s clear  they’re just getting started, and the service, though, is really excellent. Plates disappear from tables and people are around, refilling drinks constantly.

Highly recommended. Get here fast. Buffets arrive in “blow you away” fashion and can change on a dime.

Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill
2059 Scenic Highway #117
Snellville GA 30078
(770) 985-1388

Atlantic Buffet Sushi and Grill on Urbanspoon

I haven’t found a replacement for  this restaurant as of yet. A major family favorite (reviews here and here. Tasty Chomps reviews it here, and Patagonian Toothfish reviews it here), Cho Won has a broad selection of meats, and rather than having it delivered to your table, you choose it yourself. And sometimes, when you’re just had your fill of the fattier side of Korean meats, only some personally cooked seafood will do.

This day, shrimp was also available to barbecue.

Cho Wan Korean Buffet
3635 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 476-0458

Cho Won Korean Buffet on Urbanspoon

The server has walked away and the man beside me really wants a chunk of beef. The large piece, hacked and sawed at, weighs perhaps two or three pounds. With no one there to say otherwise, he simply spears it all and plops it on his plate, walking away. A lady coming up to my side spies the action and says in a loud voice, “Cheeky!”

The Village Square Buffet is one of the many restaurants in the Horseshoe Casino, but it’s the one that is all you can eat. We’ve been eating at the Village Square Buffet for a while, or at least since Louisiana Downs began to take a turn for the worse and its food wasn’t as good a deal. How long? Is twenty years perhaps reasonable? I don’t know anymore.

Deal is, I tend to  think this buffet isn’t as exceptional as it once was. The riverboat casinos were content to let food be cheap and drive business for a time. I suspect these days they want to make money out of their restaurants. I recall inexpensive ham and egg breakfasts where the ham covered the entire plate. I recall more meats, lower cost, and a little less of this “I won’t be served so let me take it all” complex.

This day, they had some excellent salads, and terrific smoked mussels. Mussels are cheap, I know, but they’re safe for a diabetic and way high in things like omega 3 fatty acids. The desserts looked fantastic but didn’t quite taste as good as they looked.

Verdict: A Christmas tradition in my family. Not as good a deal as it once was, but still good.

Village Square Buffet
711 Horseshoe Boulevard
Bossier City, LA 71111
(318) 742-0711

Village Square Buffet (Horseshoe Casino) on Urbanspoon

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet is a brand new restaurant on the corner of Highway 78 and Scenic Highway, next to Big Lots and in the same mall as Provinos and Sri Thai. It’s found in the same place that Snellville Diner used to occupy, and in a flyer in the paper announced its grand opening recently. My wife, who is usually not prone to suggesting places to eat out, was intrigued. She suggested we should go there.

Chinese Buffets have been an integral part of the Atlanta culinary landscape since I came to the city in the middle 1990s. Once just nice, the buffets became more and more ornate over time, adding snow crab legs in an effort to compete for the buffet business. Jut my opinion, but snow crab legs doomed a lot of buffets. People would come who would heap their plates high with snow crab and nothing else. Prices would rise, or quality would fall and the buffet would disappear. Some buffets solved the problem by dropping snow crab legs altogether.

Hot N Cold takes an intermediary position on this issue. You can have crab legs, but you pay extra if you do. It seems smart to me. If people abuse the privilege, then the “tax” on snow crab legs will simply increase.

There is a fairly broad selection of meats and seafoods at this restaurant. Shrimp, crawfish, salmon, raw oysters, sliced circles of squid, mussels of various kinds, clams, and scallops are all available. There are beef, chicken and pork dishes. There is a place you can get wonton soup, and at their hibachi station, they cook what my wife called a “stir fry”.

Vegetables are available as well. The steamed vegetable of the day appeared to be bok choy. It was a little oily, but otherwise quite good. They also had green beans (good) and a collection of daikon and carrot pickles (tasty). There was lettuce and stuff to toss onto the lettuce. I didn’t see carrots or tomatoes to add this day.

There are quite a few desserts and also a frozen yogurt station. My daughter’s opinion of the chocolate was that it was very chocolate-y.

There were some downsides to the buffet. My wife didn’t like the fried plantains she ate, and the sushi was often unappealing, and in general too heavy in sauces for me to even try. But overall it was decent. I’ve eaten better, I’ve eaten far worse. There were misses but there were plenty more hits than misses. As long as this place can keep the majority of their items in top shape, I’m sure they’ll draw business. They’re in a prime Snellville location, and if they can keep up their quality in this highly competitive genre, they’ll be okay.

Verdict: Decent food, prime location and good hours. Recommended.

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet
2302 Highway 78 East
Snellville, GA 30078
(678) 344-5200

Hot N Cold Chinese Buffet on Urbanspoon

We picked up my mother-in-law and brother-in-law from the airport recently. My brother-in-law will be here briefly, and my mother-in-law is here for an extended stay. She was formerly from Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan, and met my father-in-law (now deceased) some time after the war. They married and stayed married until my father-in-law passed away.  As she then had to raise 4 kids by herself on a clerk’s salary, I admire and respect her toughness.

In any event, my in-laws told us days in advance that they wanted to go to Cho Wan Korean Buffet. I’ve said before this restaurant is a favorite with my family. Recently, Tasty Chomps reviewed the restaurant, an excellent review with a lot of good pictures.

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Though this restaurant has some sushi, and various side dishes, to a first approximation, this restaurants is about the meats.

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You can get chicken, pork, beef, bacon, octopus, and shrimp here. The meat is cooked on your table. Waitstaff does most of the cooking, even if you end up choosing your meats. You can get condiments of various kinds: things like jalapenos, sliced garlic, and lettuce leaves. The leaves are used to wrap meats, and if you want, you can add grilled onions, or cook some of your garlic until it is browned, and add it to the leaf.

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They have rice in the back, and a couple soups as well. The pickles, of various kinds, are quite good.

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The waitstaff were doting to my mother-in-law, making sure she had her share of meats, and fetched sauces for her, explaining their use. The lighter sauce in this picture is for bacon, they said, and the darker sauce is for beef.

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When we left, there was a Volkswagon Beetle in the lot with a pretty interesting pair of head rests. The restaurant was also filling up, and people were walking to the restaurant as the parking lot around the restaurant was completely filled.

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Cho Wan Korean Buffet
3635 Satellite Blvd
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 476-0458

Cho Won Korean Buffet on Urbanspoon

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