Clearly, addressing this topic is somewhat akin to placing a loaded weapon "up side the head", but it does need to be done.
I have been an afficianado of "Americanized Chinese" since eating my first fortune cookie around the age of 5. Over the past ten years I have eaten Chinese food in restaurants throughout the state.
I will not be drawn into any "high brow" discussion of the cuisine's authenticity. I once attempted to eat breakfast at a Dim Sum in Chinatown in NYC and was, frankly, repulsed by the authentic offerings (I had always wondered what the Chinese ate for breakfast). I repeatedly turned my nose up to variety of steamed fish dumpling offerings.
My nomination for best chinese buffet goes "hands down" to the China Rose on Old Bath Road in Brunswick. In almost every area their buffet-served offerings equal or surpass the quality of table-service restaurants in the area (and beyond).
Their Hot & Sour soup never fails to satisfy. Wonderfully zippy, with plenty of mushrooms, bamboo shoots and tofu. Simply writing about it makes my taste buds water. Importantly, the quality is consistent...there is nothing worse than a hankering for Hot & Sour that is met with a weak, wattery, or over-zesty preparation.
Last week I had fried calimari which ranked with the best I have ever had....a very light coating, and perfectly tender. I would have expected it from a fine seafood restaurant, certainly not at a serve-it-yourself buffet.
My wife and I both enjoyed a wonderful preparation of California Rolls; the hostess prepares them herself on Friday and Saturdays. As sushi goes, the "California Roll" doesn't rate especially highly on the culinary scale of difficulty, but hey, this is a Chinese buffet. The presentation, freshness and taste was a wonderful suprise. Bonus points for simply trying.
I could go on about the crispy egg rolls, the zesty General Tso's Chicken, etc., but I will spare you.
Suffice it to say that China Rose is a stand out restaurant that suits adult tastes, with old favorites that will please diners from 2 to 62 (thats right, they don't forego spice to appeal to the geriatric set). DO NOT pre-judge this buffet by others (The Great Wall in South Portland, for example)you may have encountered.
I look forward to others experiences!