The normal cycle for a Chinese restaurant runs something like this:
- Restaurant opens.
- The owners want to build a clientele, so they rock the food. Everything is awesome and the service is great.
- The owners realize how slim the margins are when you run a restaurant, so they cut back on the food quality. Egg rolls are bought frozen, and taste suffers.
- People quit coming.
- Store closes, unless they are primarily a money-laundering operation.
Grand City Buffet in St. Louis Park ran through this cycle in about 6 years. Their replacement, Ichiban Asian Buffet, has skipped step two completely. They did a great remodel and the place looks wonderful. I walked in and saw the giant sushi bar with dedicated sushi chefs and was ready to be wowwed.
Unfortunately, the food doesn’t live up to the classy decor.
The Thai Chicken was good…until I found a feather.
The egg rolls were really good, which is pretty rare at a buffet, and one of my benchmark tests for new Chinese restaurants in general.
The sushi spread was impressive, but it all tasted the same.
I did find out today that cold squid rings are not worth eating, at least not when they are meant to be served warm. Really, the first thing a buffet restaurant needs to do is make sure the steam tables keep the food at a safe temperature.
All in all, I can’t give it a zero, because the atmosphere is nice and classy. The food was mostly bland or cold, though a few pieces were good.
Jason’s Rating: 1 out of 5, just for the quality remodel. I hope the next owners do something about the food.
Today we decided to go on a lunch date and bring our girls with us. I suggested we try a new Chinese buffet that opened about a month ago, thinking that there should be great new food there.
Boy was I wrong!
The place looks wonderful–great atmosphere–but 95% of the food was cold and not very flavorful. Everything looked pleasing to the eye, but not to the taste buds.
However, if you are looking for place to get a cheap lunch for the kids, it will do the trick. They do have a few good looking deserts and all of the fruit looked really fresh.
But I will not be going back to this place, even to take the kids if they are hungry. I would rather wait to get home.
Linda’s Rating: I give this place a 1 out of 5 pants off.