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East Buffet, Hamden, CT


Fat Guy
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Awhile back, Eric Asimov gave a very positive review to the East Buffet restaurant in Flushing, New York (that's in Queens, for those of you unfamiliar with the landscape). My inlaws live in New Haven and reported to me that there is also an East Buffet in Hamden. I recently ascertained that they are indeed under the same ownership, along with a second Flushing branch and one on Long Island.

Well I'm here to tell you that East Buffet in Hamden is the best buffet restaurant I've visited in recent memory. I endured a lot of buffets on my recent cross country trip and they ranged from intolerable to tolerable, but East Buffet is actually quite good. I thought I'd mention it because I dissed buffets pretty heavily on the recent buffet thread. East Buffet is an exception. There's a nice dim sum selection (usually about seven varieties ranging from fried pork dumplings to steamed pork buns to steamed shrimp dumplings to steamed vegetable dumplings) being replenished continually, as well as sushi being made virtually to order. Some of the entree items are steam-table-generic (I think there are about 40 options), but there are a few highlights: Salt-and-pepper shrimp, roast chicken, roast pork, and well made soups. There's also a superfluous but nice enough salad and fruit bar, and some bizarre desserts including hot dogs wrapped in sticky-sweet Pillsbury-like dough.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy,

I agree with you wholeheartedly--this place is the best. I was lucky enough to be a student in New Haven when East Buffet opened and everything from the dim sum to the lobster with ginger and scallions to the fancy custard dessert selection were more than impressive in my book. While I haven't tried the Flushing location, the Hamden branch is fantastic and blows away any other Chinese/Asian buffet that I've had in the Tri-State area.

Wishing I had been on the 7-year plan now...

Howie

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It so happens I was at the Flushing location last night. I'll post some notes on the New York board, or maybe I can strongarm the guy I went with into registering and posting. The one in Hamden holds up very well on comparison, though there are some differences. Strangely, the Flushing location has more American food than the one in Hamden: In Flushing there's eggplant parmesan and a lot of stuff like that. But there's also a larger selection of food altogether -- not to mention higher turnover on the buffet given the immenseness of the place -- so I'd probably pick Flushing if push came to shove, if only for the cooked-to-order soups (a very nice touch). Then again Hamden is a few dollars cheaper.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 3 years later...

I haven't been there in the past couple of years. According to my brother-in-law, there was an ownership change, but the place is still good. If you go, let us know.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have just moved to Hamden and wonder if it is still there and worth checking out?

If you do give a try, I'd be happy to hear your impressions as well. Sounds like it could be a good place to go with my parents when I visit home. :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I plan on going and reporting back soon however, I was also told that 'good' 'real' Chinese food can be had at Shangra Lee in Chesire- (especially the special and seasonal specials menus). Again, I will report back when I go (time is short right now)

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