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Buffet Battle: The Series

Posted by CMH Gourmand on February 14, 2016

buffet 2

It is easy to malign and maybe have some true contempt for the concept of the buffet. The buffet is a symbol of American excess and gluttony. Often it is a guarantee for both poor quality food and ingredients. It is easy to see a buffet sign and keep on driving by.

However for the right food with the right attitude a buffet can easily exceed expectations while offering good food and value. The best example of a great buffet (which is long gone) is the Lost Planet Pizza and Pasta lunch buffet (circa 2000), most weekdays one could walk in for all you could eat pastas and pizzas (at least three of each). The food was fresh and I was more than happy to flex my work schedule so I could enjoy it at least once a month. A place (still open) that really does a great job with the buffet concept is the Mon Ami Restaurant and Winery in Port Clinton Ohio. People are known to drive hours for the experience. I’ve tried it and thought is was a steal for the price – especially for fresh seafood and meat dishes. So we know it can be done well.

The concept of a buffet is not that far removed from Chipotle, Piada, Fusian and etc., which are essentially assembling food to order. What many people don’t recognize is often the concept of buffet at many restaurants is only a matter of where you food is served – in front of you or in the same containers behind the doors of the kitchen. In the case of Ethic foods, a buffet can be a wonderful first contact with a new culture in a setting that allows a variety of foods to assist with the beginning of a culinary journey.

An additional bonus that buffets offer, they can be child care friendly. Now with the addition of CMH Griffin to may days I am often looking for a place where I can take a car seat filled with an energetic baby boy and sit down for a decent lunch that is fast, filling and not expensive but also situated so I have a good spot for him and I can make a quick exit if he has a melt down.

Hence the Buffet Battle Series. I have been scouting Columbus for six months trying to find places that might be series worthy and now that I have a critical mass of material, let the series begin!

These are the criteria, ranked on a 5 point scale.

Ambiance / Amenities
Kid Friendly Quotient

Having surveyed the offerings of our fair city the first three battles will be: Pizza, Indian and Chinese food. The Pizza Buffet Battle post is coming soon. If you have contestants for Indian, Chinese or another buffet category, let me know.

10 Responses to “Buffet Battle: The Series”

  1. hungrywoolf said

    Indian — Udipi, New India, Amul, Aab, Gokul
    I like Udipi and Gokul as they tend to vary more and have more interesting dishes but both are vegetarian.

  2. mjb said

    I actually went to the Iacono’s pizza buffet today (pictured above). I like the pizza but the real star of the show for me lately has been the soup. The chicken noodle is good and the wedding soup is great. Today was a minestrone which was OK but not as good as the others I’ve tried. The server there is the nicest guy. If you go more than twice he will remember your drink order and even ask you what kind of pizza you want to come out next. My favorite is actually the plain cheese and it is best after it has set around and cooled a little. I can’t wait to hear if there are other good ones around.

    • Hello Mjb. The server / manager for the buffet is Shawn and yes, he does a great job. 2 years ago the buffet was $8.75 but it is still a great value today at $10.75. The Chicken Noodle and Wedding Soups are both great and I am always happy to see them when I drop in for the buffet. The plain cheese is one of my favorites too – they add more cheese to it (about 1.5 times thicker than typical) and you are right it is best when it has had a few minutes to cool.

  3. norb said

    The Chinese buffet at Eastern Bay on Riverside Dr is excellent, IMO

  4. AlohaJo said

    Oh great, just as I am trying to shed a few pounds! I don’t have the will power to stop at just 2 plates. I better not read the rest of this series, or else I will never get off that treadmill.

  5. The pizza buffet at Joseppi’s where we tried the Mega Meat Challenge is pretty good. It’s like $7 for all you can eat pizza and pop. No salad bar or anything though. They keep the pizzas coming out regularly, and put lots of their specialties on the buffet.

    As far as Chinese, I like Asian Star on Sawmill Rd.

    • Batarang said

      I second Joseppi’s on the westside near the library although Massey’s comes close for me.

    • I did forget about Joseppi’s it is worth a mention. I also forgot about Morone’s which does buffets on Wednesdays and maybe other days of the week. Iacono’s is still the winner.

  6. We don’t do much buffets these days, but the one at Dakshin (Indian) seemed to be a pretty good one – we especially enjoyed the goat curry.

  7. Tim said

    La Plaza Tapatia

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