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Restaurants & Bars 7

Jade Villa = Continental Buffet

S U | Feb 26, 200810:08 PM

Jade Villa has become an asian buffet place. Continental Buffet had their grand opening on the 21st, so my curious family decided to check it out on Saturday for lunch. Due to an unchowish family member's obsession w/ such asian buffets, I think we have tried our share of these places in the bay area.

First off, the space was huge when it was a dim sum place. After the main dining area was replaced by the buffet bar, it looks much smaller. Ok, enough about the space & on to the food.

All I can say is, if you are in the mood for Great Wall or Genghis Khan or another one of the many buffet restaurants in the bay area with sushi stations and "mongolian" grill stations and you are in downtown Oakland and choose not to travel farther than 5 miles, then you are in luck.

The dim sum selection had maybe 6 or 8 dim sum items, such as har gow, siu mai, scallop gao, shrimp rice rolls, pei dan & pork juk (not sau yuk; looked more like ground pork) among other items. Metal steam baskets were stacked probably 4 levels high... unfortunately the heat did not make it all the way to the top level. I ended up grabbing stuff from the top baskets, leaving me with lukewarm food. The family member with extensive experience in buffets lifted the top baskets to get the food closest to the heat source which helped a bit. Sadly, the heat could not magically thin the har gow skins (yuck)... thickest har gow skinsI have ever tried.

I saw many items with shrimp... at least 12 items I think. Walnut prawns, shrimp stir fried w/ veggies, seafood stirfry which included shrimp, "italian" shrimp (which looked like shrimp stirfried w/ an "italian" sauce), shrimp in the chilled seafood section, bay shrimp in a number of other items. They even had stuffed shrimp, which were next to the stuffed button mushrooms (same stuffing for both items). 3 types of mussels: cheesy mussels (the baked mayo cream kind) as well as plain ones, and a 3rd mussel in the chilled seafood section.

There were 6 soups I think... wonton, "gizzard" chicken (which turned out to be black chicken w/ ginseng), hot & sour, oxtail, and some others which I fail to recall. The oxtail had not been simmered long enough -- meat was still tough and chewy. There were also a few dessert soups, like green bean.

The grill section did not have any wok hei; not even an iota... worst "mongolian" grill I've ever come across. Item choices were not very good -- not much selection. I didn't even bother to visit, but another member of our party did... she came back with unrecognizable bits of meat stirfried w/ low quality noodles, chewy squid, bland shrimp... u get the picture.

Sushi section: there were 2 "chefs" behind the counter... but I wouldn't call them sushi chefs. Watching them work made me want to run screaming to the nearest real sushi joint... or at least jump in behind the counter to show them a thing or 2. The pads of rice, as is common in buffet restos like this one, were refrigerator-cold and hard. Technique was non-existent. The only thing that verified this as "sushi" was the fact the sake (salmon) was of surprisingly decent sushi quality. Towards the end of our visit, our server mentioned to us their sushi is very fresh because they take daily morning deliveries of the sushi fish. The only downside I plan to point out to management: the sushi station is situated right next to the main doors of the establishment -- open doors and raw fish attracts more than humans; it also attracts flies during the summer months.

Bottom line: if I want dim sum, I will seek a better quality place. If I want sushi, I will seek a better place. If I just want to stuff my mouth and fill my stomach, but I don't care about quality and I can't decide what to eat, then I will go to Continental. For the price we paid, one time to try is ok, but I can't see myself going again at the same price.

Hrs: Mon-Sun 11a-10p (7 days)
Prices: Lunch Mon-Fri (11a-4p) $7.99; Dinner Mon-Thurs (4p-10p) $11.99
Lunch Sat & Sun (11a-4p) $9.99; Dinner Fri-Sun (4p-10p) $13.99

Discounts: Children 3-8 are 1/2 off; seniors 65 & over are 10% off

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