Intrigued by a co-worker's comment on seeing long lines at Grand World Buffet, I decided to go check them out last Friday. I went in around 2PM and finished lunch around 2:30PM.
FOOD VARIETY: (6/10)
There's about 7 "stations," offering (1) salad/appetizers/desserts, (2) potstickers, wontons, bao's, etc., (3 - 5) and about 3 stations offering hot food. They also have (6) a tiny sushi bar, and finally, (7) a Mongolian we-cook-the-food-you-pick BBQ station (which, apparently, wasn't in operation when I went.) And, oh...they have a generic ice cream machine, too.
There's definitely ample amount of seating. They're definitely prepared for large groups of people, in case people want to celebrate parties or company lunches.
Okay...onto what really matters...
QUALITY OF FOOD: (4/10)
(1) Salad/appetizers/desserts: Ehhh...notice too spectacular. They had potato salad, seafood salad, kimchee, blahblahblah. Notice really outstanding. (5/10)
(2) Potstickers, wontons, bao's, etc.: Surprisingly, this was my favorite station...but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Letting food sit under a heat lamp obviously makes the food unsurprisingly dry and brittle...which is not what you'd expect potstickers to be. Crunchy?...yes. Crispy?...yes. Brittle?...No. But their potsticker sauce is quite good, and I found myself getting more potstickers, in order to look civil and not end up just drinking bowls of their sauce. (7/10)
(3 - 5) Hot food: This ended up being a smorgasbord of different food. Eggplant, General Tso's Chicken, Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Chow Mein, Soup, Green Beans, Fries, Fried Crab Claws, Tofu, etc. Of course, being a Chinese-owned buffet place, most of the hot food was Chinese. And honestly...nothing really stood out. In fact, nothing really made me say, "Mmm...I'd like to get another serving of _____." It was just, "Eh." (4/10)
(6) Sushi: Geez...I know that Chinese-run buffets aren't known for their sushi, but come on, now...at least they could try?? They had about 8 different varieties of sushi, but the most authentic sushi roll that they had was the California Roll. 'Nuff said? No? Okay, well...they had rolls with carrots and daikon or something like that. They were just some really weird sushi rolls there... (2/10)
(7) Mongolian BBQ: I honestly have no idea, since no cook was there, so I couldn't test it out. (???/10)
So all in all, I really don't think I'd go back.
If I compare it to the Chinese-run buffets that sprouted up all over the place in Northern California (Uncle Sam's, Happy Buffet, Super Buffet, Crazy Buffet), I'd have to say that the quality is definitely lower by a notch or two. At least with Happy Buffet, with not-that-good-quality food, they had the special Fuzhou Fish Balls, that nowhere else had.
But Grand World just didn't have anything that stood out. Maybe their Mongolian BBQ might have been special...but I didn't have the chance to check it out.
My conclusion: If you're just in it for a cheap price and you want to have an unlimited amount of food, just go to Bamboo Garden on Hawthorne Blvd. The quality is barely better than Grand World Buffet, but at least you're paying $2 less for not-so-great food.
I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that my situation was an anomaly. Maybe I'll give it a 2nd chance...maybe...
Grand World Buffet
21577 Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501
Lunch: Mon - F = $7.49
Dinner: Mon - Th = $9.99; F = $11.49
Weekend Price: Ummm...I'm not sure...
20535 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503
Lunch: M - F = $5.99
(Not sure about other prices)