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Northern NJ Asian buffets 2007


zhelder
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It's been a while since someone has talked about the Chinese buffets around Northern NJ, so I thought this would be a good topic to start a new discussion off. Bon Buffet was probably the first all inclusive buffet in the Bergen County area. PuPu Inn in Elmwood Park has been around longer, but PuPu Inn offers only basic Chinese food staples. It is still a great place to go for a good, dirt-cheap Chinese buffet lunch, but it is just the basics.

Bon Buffet changed all that when they opened, and they offered a wide variety of soups, salads, American and Chinese entrees, a carving station, and desserts. When they started out, probably around 1992 or 1993, they were fantastic. But over the years, they gradually got worse and worse, and eventually, they shut down.

Well, Bon Buffet is open again. And this is not the old Bon Buffet. This is a completely new restaurant despite keeping the same name. And the new Bon Buffet is pretty bon.

The place is very different inside. The lighting, the seating arrangements, and the buffet stations are completely new. Yesterday was their first day open, and word got out fast. The place was very busy.

OK, on to the food. The regular stations seem to have the typical Chinese and American dishes. Salt and pepper shrimp, lo mein, and General Tso's chicken were comparable to other reasonably good Chinese buffets, but I wouldn't say they were outstanding. The American offerings were very tasty. They had some chicken parmigiana and chicken francaise that were both very tasty, and a tray full of linguine that was cooked perfectly. There were some salads, and about eight kinds of soup, which I didn't get a chance to try.

So, what sets this place apart? Well, they have an oyster bar. Raw oysters are not my thing, but these oysters looked fresh and tasty and were well-iced. If I was a raw oyster person, I would have definitely tried some.

They also have a sushi station. And the sushi here is the best I have had at a traditional Chinese-based buffet. They had a chef constantly preparing rolls. There wasn't a huge variety, but what they had was very good. Not quite Minado, but far better than the sushi at other tradtional buffets. They had eel, tuna, and salmon nigiri style, and the pieces of fish on these were HUGE and of good quality. They also had quite a few rolls, many with avocado, which I love. If they can keep up the quality of the sushi station, they will do well.

They have a small grilling section, where they prepare ribs and other grilled meats. They had chicken teriyaki and ribs, and some other things I can't remember. I didn't get a chance to try the chicken teriyaki, but it looked good. I tried a rib, but it was a bit of a disappointment. Not too much meat and a bit tough.

They also have stir-fry (YES)! No giant round wok, they prepare it on a traditional grill. They had the usual assortments of meats and veggies, lo mein noodles, about 4 sauces, garlic, and chili paste. The sauces weren't labeled, so I just put one scoop of each on my plate with some garlic and chili paste. And it was delicious. Stir-fry is my favorite, so this is a selling point for me.

The one miss was in the dessert category. They had a few cakes and cookies out, but they weren't so great. The piece of golden cake I had was pretty dry. The ice cream was a bit grainy, which makes me wonder if they're using the same machine as the old Bon Buffet, which also had grainy ice cream. It was OK, but other places have much better ice cream. They also had some jello, fruit, and chocolate pudding.

Still, overall, it was a very good meal, and they did a very nice job renovating the place. I would definitely return, and hopefully they'll improve as they work out their opening kinks. They're more expensive than the old place, (it was $15.95 for dinner on a Saturday, but they're having a 20% off grand opening special for a couple of weeks I think), but overall, the food is of much better quality. It's worth $15.95 just for the sushi and the stir-fry.

While on the subject of buffets, I also recently rediscovered Dynasty Buffet in Saddle Brook. They are also very good, especially for dinner. I hate that the place is always insanely busy, but they make some good stuff. They seem to have a little more variety of American dishes than most other places (including some pretty decent potato skins), and the Chinese offerings are comparable to other buffets. The sushi is pretty good too, but the new Bon Buffet has them beat by a mile.

Dynasty Buffets really excels with their grilling stations and desserts. Their chicken teriyaki is delicious, and the prime rib and barbecued ribs are very good too. The duck is absolutely the best I've had at a buffet. Perfectly cooked and nice and meaty. Their selection of desserts is the best I've seen at a traditional buffet, too. Delicious creme brulee, tiramisu, cheesecake, carrot cake, and ice cream. The weekday buffet seems to be the same as the weekend buffet, but it's a few bucks cheaper. (I think it's like $14.99 during the week and $16.99 during the weekend.) If you can put up with the crazy crowds, you'll have a good meal here.

So, stir-fry and sushi or duck and desserts? Decisions, decisions... Both the new Bon Buffet and Dynasty Buffet are very good, and well above average compared to other typical buffet places. They're a little bit more expensive, but worth it for the better quality of food.

Although PuPu Inns $4.95 lunch and $6.50 dinners are still great values too, when you want a good, quick, cheap no-frills Chinese meal!

Grand Buffet in Ramsey is good, but they're starting to show their age. Hot foods are good, but they don't have the variety of the newer places. They are a little cheaper though.

Of course, Minado is still my absolute favorite buffet, hands down, but it's too expensive to go there on a regular basis! And the crowds there make Dynasty Buffet look deserted.

What other good buffets are there around Northern NJ?

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Thanks for the heads up. I've never been a fan of these types of places. The "lunch club" from my office used to go to Bon Bon regularly, so I went. Don't get me wrong, it was OK. The food was edible, but there wasn't anything there that I would call overly delicious. Eating shrimp, or oysters for that matter, in a place like this always concerned me.

I have some friends that rave about Minado, and I've heard nothing but good things. I mentioned it to a few of the people at work and we are hoping to try it soon. But when they heard Bon Bon was reopening they started making plans, LOL. Knowing them, Bon Bon might get a visit before Minado (it's closer too and time is a factor).

Eric

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Dynasty also frequently has "blue crabs", which they sautee (halved) with ginger and scallions, and which are always meaty, fresh, and succulent. And they always have a sauteed green leafy Chinese vegetable (well, the kind that Chinese people always eat) - most of the time Mustard Greens. We go there frequently and make a meal (a pig-out actually) of just the crabs, the greens, and the aforementioned excellent duck. (Although I should add that their cripsy calamari, and their seafood mai fun are excellent as well.)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

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Our local joint is Rt 23 Buffet....on Rt 23 :wink: Wayne

They have the oyster and sushi - roast duck prime rib and korean style bbq beef ribs among others at the grill. All the usual suspects and Snow Crab

Last week they had this shrimp and scallion dish that was sooo good little shrimp, scallion and sliced yellow onion almost braised soft in butter with a heat that snuck right up on ya

I forget how much dinner is there.

tracey

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Minado is a great place - I have been to their Morris Plains location, and didn't have any complaints. My suggestion is to go there for lunch - it is nearly half the price of dinner - M-F $14.50, Saturday and Sunday $16.50

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This was our favorite place when we lived up that way. Not cheap, as I remember , but a great selection. SOme people go for the snow crab alone and my boys and their friends were big fans of the sushi and grill items.

i agree - Grand Buffet in Ramsey in getting old with not much variety. Cheap though and there's always a coupon to be found somewhere. A bonus with teenagers.

What about that place by WIllowbrook Mall (though it's probably under water right now)? People used to rave about it and we went about 2 years ago. I remember it was quite good, though the sushi was not replenished often .The place was so large that a walk back to the food was long and being in another room we couldn't see when they put out more sushi, so it was gone whenever we went to check!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Minado is a great place - I have been to their Morris Plains location, and didn't have any complaints.  My suggestion is to go there for lunch - it is nearly half the price of dinner - M-F $14.50, Saturday and Sunday $16.50

At dinner though there is a better selection of sushi. I love eel and they tend to have more rolls with it and what not. Also the hibatchi is open and the all around selection is better. I think it's worth it to go there for dinner.

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