Endless selection

The Oriental Buffet has reopened, bigger than ever

CHOW DOWN<br>Oriental Buffet offers more than 150 Chinese, Japanese, American and Italian dishes.

Oriental Buffet offers more than 150 Chinese, Japanese, American and Italian dishes.

Photo By Andrew Boost

Oriental Buffet
2539 The Esplanade
Phone: 891-6888
Hours: Seven days a week, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Oriental Buffet

7217 Greenback Ln.
Citrus Heights, CA 95621

(916) 722-7888

I reminded my co-worker Rodger that I recently saw an inviting TV advertisement for the newly refurbished and managed Oriental Buffet. Rodger agreed that we try it out during our lunch break from the Sexual Harassment Intensive Training seminar we were attending. We hopped in Clarabelle for the sun-filled drive to the new Oriental Buffet in the Albertson’s Shopping Center in Chico.

Before you enter the restaurant you can read a posted statement by the ownership that a recent Health Department inspection was completed and passed. Legalities aside, conceivably this posting is to contradict any images of New York Taco Bell restaurants or pod-spawned patrons shrieking, mouths agape with fingers knowingly pointed at Donald Sutherland. If I remember correctly, Donnie played a devout environmental-health civil servant in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Perchance our meals were destined for greatness!

The restaurant claims to feature more than 150 Chinese, Japanese, American and Italian food selections. Upon entering I immediately noticed that the food variety was vast and was being enjoyed by many super-sized American patrons. The seating arrangement surrounds the several sneeze-guarded rows of food, and the place appeared spotless.

My rule of thumb for a good buffet is that you can always tell quality by plate size—the larger, the better, of course, and although the plate sizes were unimpressive, you are not limited as to how many plates you can utilize at a given time.

The price for the all-you-can eat lunch buffet for adults that runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is $6.95 per person excluding soft drinks, which are $1 with limitless refills. The dinner buffet starts at 3:30 p.m. and is open till closing at 10 and costs $11.95 per adult. Sunday and holiday buffet prices are the same as the listed dinner prices.

We were seated by a very kind and slender gentleman who immediately asked what types of beverages we would like to accompany our buffet. We all selected our particular soda favorites, but Rodger said that Sophia would settle for Sierra Mist instead of her usual root beer. We all immediately got up from our booth and headed to the food selections.

Rodger and I sampled a variety of Japanese, American and Chinese food. Neither he nor I could decipher a white tentacle-like meat substance in the “Seafood Medley” and came up without an explanation from the courteous staff on the identity of the item in question. We therefore avoided that selection entirely.

The numerous dishes varied in quality and in taste. Some offerings appeared rigid and cemented in their sauces, but the fried items were hot and appealing to the senses. Rodger enjoyed his sushi, and I especially liked the peanut chicken and the mushroom chicken.

I imagine that with such a variety offered it is difficult to master all of the dishes, and I have to say that some of the non-fried proteins were a bit chewy and bland to my refined and hypersensitive buffet palate. Rodger said that Sophia did not enjoy her hot and sour soup. None of us tried the Italian food—I simply refuse to eat Italian Food in a Chinese restaurant.

There were many people at the restaurant who made repeated trips to the food bars, and some were eating the desserts as well. Another bright spot to our dining experience was the disproportionate number of body builders who were getting their Atkins on during the lunch hour who provided eye candy, added ambiance and incentive for the patrons.

With our per diem meal-expense vouchers we were able to select enough differing plates to make the Oriental Buffet a suitable experience.