We went to the new Chinese buffet place which is aptly named, Chinese Buffet, on Mowry in Fremont. On a Saturday evening, this place was crowded with lots of folks awaiting for their numbers to be called in the large waiting area. Other than the rude man who cut in front to get a number before us, the rest of the clientel were mostly pleasant. Most were Asian but all ethinicities were represented.
Once seated, we immediately headed for the food areas. The main theme of this place seemed to be, surprise, Chinese food, but with lots of seafood and sushi - in a Todai kind of way. The variety is quite large. I'm listing some of the items seen on that night:
The regular entrees: Pepper chicken, walnut shrimp, grilled chicken skewer, fried fake crab leg, chicken nuggets, beef/chicken broccoli, rosted duck, whole beef shanks (cut it yourself)
On the seafood side: steamed fish, small crabs, lobster/large prawn, shrimp, stir-fried seafood, mussles in black bean sauce, crab legs.
And on the easily fills you up section: chow mian, fried rice, white rice, hot & sour soup, seafood soup
There's also a selection of sweets and desserts.
Besides the above, obvious there's the obligatory sushi section, and the slightly unusal Mongolian BBQ section where you pick your own meat and veggies and a cook stir-fries it in front of you. I did not try this nor the sushi.
First the good: Pepper chicken and walnut shrimp, though pretty standard American-Chinese, were done in a tasty way. The steamed fish, roasted duck, and the crab legs were also decent.
The bad: I saw some bits and pieces of left over Lobster, but did not get to see another tray of it during the rest of the meal. The higher priced items seems to be limited in quantity.
The ugly: After finally seeing the waiters replace the Lobster tray, I was disappointed to see that it was not Lobster, but nonetheless still pleased that they were the very large prawns that are about 6" long. After I grabbed a piece and left the swarming crowd that was descending on that tray, I went back to my booth to enjoy it. However, as I bit into the head, I realized that the prawn was not fully cooked - so that the prawn head had this gooey, runny consistency. The meat was also half-transparent - not my idea of sashimi prawn.
So at the price of $13.99, I don't think we'll be back. Nothing really stood out and the raw prawn really killed the appetite. But it still seems to be quite popular judging from the crowds. With this place, now the Fremont/Newark area is home to at least 3 Chinese style buffets, none of which are great.