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    Post #1 - May 22nd, 2006, 4:49 pm
    Post #1 - May 22nd, 2006, 4:49 pm Post #1 - May 22nd, 2006, 4:49 pm
    Just came across this ad of a new restaurant. Didn't have time to check it out yet.

    BUFFET PALACE
    3026 N. Ashland Ave
    Chicago, IL 60657
    773-868-1888

    Grand Opening 25% Off Mo to Su (2 or more people, dinner only). Expires 5/31/06.

    - Dungeness crabs
    - crab legs
    - blue crabs
    - mussel
    - oyster
    - scallop
    - jumbo shrimp
    - variety of fish
    - prime ribs
    - NY steak
    - frog legs
    - variety of sushi
    - BBQ ribs
  • Post #2 - September 5th, 2006, 6:21 am
    Post #2 - September 5th, 2006, 6:21 am Post #2 - September 5th, 2006, 6:21 am
    I use the Post Office at Ashland and Wellington, so for some months now I've been noticing Buffet Palace, which opened up right next to the P.O. in the same strip mall, or whatever you'd call it. I've also been noticing a considerable increase in the number of cars in the parking lot at any given time ever since the place opened, which has piqued my curiosity. Never been in a Chinese buffet restaurant in my life, but I decided to check out this one. Here's my report, based on just a walkaround, not an actual dining experience: It looks good! And that surprised me.

    The inside looks nothing like the (cheap and utilitarian at best) strip-mall exterior. It's huge, high-ceilinged, spacious, and--I'm almost tempted to say--elegant. Costly-looking materials (wood, tile, etc.) have been applied with a real sense of design. The word "Palace" in the name is not completely laughable or inappropriate, which I had of course assumed it was. Don't scoff, but the comparison that came to my mind was Fogo de Chao--just a little "downmarket" from that, but not by that much, and Chinese in visual flavor rather than Brazilian, and you've about got it. Walking around the many (so many, more than I dreamt) buffet tables, it looked to me like there was a boatload of good food to be had--a shellfish table loaded with shrimp-in-the-shell, large raw oysters, steamed mussels, et. al.; another table with intriguing-looking fish dishes; a few tables with standard Chinese-American-looking fare, including some meaty-looking spareribs; a lot of fried things that probably aren't good for me but looked delicious; and on and on. I felt I could be happy there. As I was leaving, I told the hostess how good it all looked to me. A patron who was paying said, "I know--isn't this place fantastic!?!?" He happened to be a white guy, but there always seem to be Chinese folks streaming in and out of the place whenever I've been around--another thing which had made me think the place was worth a gander.
  • Post #3 - September 5th, 2006, 8:48 am
    Post #3 - September 5th, 2006, 8:48 am Post #3 - September 5th, 2006, 8:48 am
    Not to change the subject, but my brother-in-law took us to a Chinese buffet in Darien a few weeks ago. I'm not a big fan of buffets and was prepared to dislike it, but I have to say I had a very good meal there. They also had a great selection of seafood (I went back for seconds on the ginger steamed fish) and a nice selection of sushi, which was extremely fresh and delicious. I'd go back for just the sushi!

    The buffet in Darian had five buffet tables, a sushi bar and a stir-fry bar where you could pick your ingredients and they would cook them to order. One of the buffet tables held a really nice salad bar with a ton of fresh fruit. They had several kinds of dessert. Food was flying out of the kitchen and they were quite attentive as to checking quantities on the tables and getting fresh food out quickly.

    I'd go back in a heartbeat. We went early, around 6:00. By the time we left, there was a line out the door of people trying to get in.

    Suzy

    Royal Buffet
    1400 75th St.
    Darien, IL 60561
    (630) 322-8883
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #4 - September 5th, 2006, 12:57 pm
    Post #4 - September 5th, 2006, 12:57 pm Post #4 - September 5th, 2006, 12:57 pm
    Different Darien Buffet discussed previously:

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=6616

    PS, I've heard good things about Royal as well. Darien/Westmont/Downers seem to be supporting a lot of Chinese food not necessarily or mainly aimed at the Anglo suburbanite...
  • Post #5 - September 5th, 2006, 1:30 pm
    Post #5 - September 5th, 2006, 1:30 pm Post #5 - September 5th, 2006, 1:30 pm
    Weve eaten here twice. My son, who is a crab fanatic proclaims this his new favorite place because the buffet includes both steamed snow crab legs and claws as well as a very credible Dungeness crab with ginger and onion (tho they only let you take one piece of each on each trip). Also included are pretty good salt and pepper shrimp (shell on,with heads) and mayonaise shrimp ( tho without the candied walnuts that usually go along). Lots of fish choices, including steamed Pomfret, bass and salmon...although these can sometimes be somewhat overcooked. Sushi is available too and isn't bad. Stir fried dishes do not seem to fare as well. Raw oysters and Steamed shell on shrimp are standards and were pretty good on one visit, not as good on another. Overall a fun place (the decor is very Hong-Kong overboard) and good value. Worth a visit for the crab alone.
    Last edited by kuhdo on September 5th, 2006, 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #6 - September 5th, 2006, 1:55 pm
    Post #6 - September 5th, 2006, 1:55 pm Post #6 - September 5th, 2006, 1:55 pm
    Anyone know how much the dinner or lunch buffet runs on the weekends? Thanks!
  • Post #7 - September 5th, 2006, 2:00 pm
    Post #7 - September 5th, 2006, 2:00 pm Post #7 - September 5th, 2006, 2:00 pm
    I'm pretty sure $11.99 for dinner $6.99 lunch.
  • Post #8 - September 5th, 2006, 7:56 pm
    Post #8 - September 5th, 2006, 7:56 pm Post #8 - September 5th, 2006, 7:56 pm
    kuhdo wrote:Weve eaten here twice. My son, who is a crab fanatic proclaims this his new favorite place because the buffet includes both steamed snow crab legs and claws as well as a very credible Dungeness crab with ginger and onion (tho they only let you take one piece of each on each trip). Also included are pretty good salt and pepper shrimp (shell on,with heads) and mayonaise shrimp ( tho without the candied walnuts that usually go along). Lots of fish choices, including steamed Pomfret, bass and salmon...although these can sometimes be somewhat overcooked. Sushi is available too and isn't bad. Stir fried dishes do not seem to fare as well. Raw oysters and Steamed shell on shrimp are standards and were pretty good on one visit, not as good on another. Overall a fun place (the decor is very Hong-Kong overboard) and good value. Worth a visit for the crab alone.

    Just wanted to confirm, kuhdo--you're talking about Buffet Palace, right, and not the two other Chinese buffet places that were brought into this thread by sdritz and JeffB? I assume you are, because your description of the food and the decor sounds like what I saw at Buffet Palace. (I forgot to mention the sushi in my post, so I'm glad you did. I shouldn't count the sushi as a plus, since I posted only a week ago how much I hate "pan-Asian" places that can't seem to make up their minds what country's cuisine they're offering, but somehow that objection doesn't feel so important in a buffet situation.)

    If so, thanks for posting about the eating experience there. And the prices. Those prices strike me as extraordinarily reasonable for what I observed and what you described.
  • Post #9 - September 5th, 2006, 10:22 pm
    Post #9 - September 5th, 2006, 10:22 pm Post #9 - September 5th, 2006, 10:22 pm
    Yep. I'm referring to Buffet palace...on Ashland by the Armanetti store. I really think this is the best chinese buffet going right now. One reason may be that it seems aimed primarily at an asian audience....or at least a mixed one (hence the wide selection of seafood including multiple fish dishes with heads and bones thank you) and not to 'round eyes' (possibly accounting for the weak egg rolls and lack of fried won-ton, crab Rangoon and other amer/asian buffet standards).
    I have not found head on salt and pepper shrimp and steamed Pomfret at other buffets.On one visit they even had tuna and mackeral sashimi. Overall quality seems about Mitsuwa sushi level. Fish seemed quite fresh.

    But all is not perfect here... I found the stir fried dishes somewat gloppy and "steam tableized". Beef dishes were not great. Some fried dishes suffered from sitting too long...tho when I was there the turnover on the best dishes was pretty brisk. There is a paucity of noodle dishes I find puzzling.

    Regarding the prices... I think it's quite a bargain indeed.
  • Post #10 - September 6th, 2006, 8:48 am
    Post #10 - September 6th, 2006, 8:48 am Post #10 - September 6th, 2006, 8:48 am
    kuhdo wrote:I really think this is the best chinese buffet going right now. One reason may be that it seems aimed primarily at an asian audience....or at least a mixed one (hence the wide selection of seafood including multiple fish dishes with heads and bones thank you) and not to 'round eyes'...

    I had the same impression from my visual tour, but the way I formulated the thought in my head was that the selections (most especially the fish) seemed not to have been "dumbed down." Your take on the target market makes sense of this. And is consistent with the decor decisions that have been made. I've only been to Hong Kong once, for a week, not long enough to be an authority on the look of restaurants there, but that's how Buffet Palace struck me too--that it knowledgably hinted at the upscale side of Hong Kong (rather than being an American's idea of whatever this would be, or pandering to an American's idea of whatever this would be), and this makes sense if the target market is folks who're actually from there or have been there.
  • Post #11 - September 6th, 2006, 1:25 pm
    Post #11 - September 6th, 2006, 1:25 pm Post #11 - September 6th, 2006, 1:25 pm
    Okay. Ann Fisher put me up to this. This place was recommended to us by two Chinese friends we ran into at Costco. We all live nearby. I've been three times. Yes, as described, it's new and somewhat elegant with a wall mural painted by a college student. They've been running a 15% off coupon in the Reader (not good on Sunday or holidays). There's lots of food, there's lots of fish, there's a sushi bar (my son thought the sushi was good), there's a grill table where they will grill you a steak or do a customized stir fry thing for you, and there's lots of chinese dishes. The first time we went was on a Sunday and it was packed with Chinese families. The other two times it was a combo of Chinese families and people with tatoos. They advertise crab but there doesn't seem to be blue crab during the week and they only bring out the other crab about once every half hour. You can tell it's there because all of a sudden everyone in the place is getting up and running over to grab some. Overall, the food was ok but if there aren't a lot of people it will sit for a while and taste like it's been sitting. Despite all that, it's kind of a hoot. There's even a funky soft ice cream dispenser where you press different buttons to get different flavored sauces mixed in with the ice cream. Also there are some good big barbequed spare ribs which were probably my favorite.
  • Post #12 - September 6th, 2006, 1:57 pm
    Post #12 - September 6th, 2006, 1:57 pm Post #12 - September 6th, 2006, 1:57 pm
    Ooops. I forgot that I mentioned this place to the waitresses at Moon Palace and they all knew about it. They said people were complaining that it was already going downhill because there wasn't enough crab and they highly touted a chinese buffet place that I think was south at Cicero and around 87th or so.
  • Post #13 - September 18th, 2006, 4:18 am
    Post #13 - September 18th, 2006, 4:18 am Post #13 - September 18th, 2006, 4:18 am
    They may have been thinking about the Asia Buffet which is at 79th and Cicero. It's much better than most, although it used to have a lot more variety.
  • Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 12:30 pm
    Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 12:30 pm Post #14 - May 16th, 2007, 12:30 pm
    The hubby and I picked up the reco on this place and stopped by last Sunday. I knew it was fairly cheap (and the outside is unimpressive)and also remembered the gloopy stiry-fry comments so I expected it to be pretty ordinary. I was blown out of the water. Fantastic service. The range and amount of food is so amazing that you can completely ignore those gloopy dishes and still be over-stuffed at the end of the meal.

    Despite it's dubious appearance, there was a cheesy crab casserole dish that I loved, as well as of course the crab legs and ... well, really, you have to see it. The unexpected find was the still-warm chinese donuts, which were so delicious that I had three (I know, I know).

    I was impressed.
  • Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 12:45 pm
    Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 12:45 pm Post #15 - May 16th, 2007, 12:45 pm
    The one on Ashland is my go to buffet, well worth the trip when I am in the mood for crab legs or a big ole plate of sauteed scallops with green onions and garlic.

    The salt and pepper shrimp are acceptable to me as well.

    I'm nearly positive that the two buffets on S. Cicero and the one on Ashland are related, the decor is the exact same and the selection and most telling, dumplings are identical. I've never had chive dumplings like that in a buffet elsewhere.


    edited to clarify location and add dumplings...really, every post can use more dumplings.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #16 - October 8th, 2007, 9:57 pm
    Post #16 - October 8th, 2007, 9:57 pm Post #16 - October 8th, 2007, 9:57 pm
    This is a pretty decent buffet. The chive dumplings were excellent, and the potstickers were heavy on the ginger (which I like). I had four or five helpings of the walnut shrimp. The chili chicken was good.

    Other than the chive dumplings, there were a few things I have not seen on other Chinese buffet trays: fried squid, fried bananas, whole kiwis, papayas, several kinds of fish that I'd never seen on a buffet before (but am blanking on the name), whole crayfish, and salt & pepper mussels.
    "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside."
    -Mark Twain
  • Post #17 - October 8th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    Post #17 - October 8th, 2007, 10:03 pm Post #17 - October 8th, 2007, 10:03 pm
    What brings me back to this place time and again are the baby clams in black bean sauce; a dish I have never seen in a buffet before. Well that and the Mongolian buffet with scallops. A good deal for what you get.
  • Post #18 - October 30th, 2007, 9:29 am
    Post #18 - October 30th, 2007, 9:29 am Post #18 - October 30th, 2007, 9:29 am
    Octarine, I can't recall whether I tried the baby clams in the black bean sauce... but I will keep that in mind the next time I go.

    I forgot to mention earlier that they had raw oysters on the buffet, and that it was my first time trying it ever. I seem to recall reading that it is even better with some hot sauce or worcestershire on it.

    But the real reason I'm bumping this thread is because I'm curious whether this is a BYOB establishment. Anyone know?
    "Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you want and let the food fight it out inside."
    -Mark Twain
  • Post #19 - October 31st, 2007, 7:24 pm
    Post #19 - October 31st, 2007, 7:24 pm Post #19 - October 31st, 2007, 7:24 pm
    They might be present on the weekends only.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.

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