Buffet City — a heck of a deal
There are some that throw the cheapest slop imaginable out on the buffet line in hopes of attracting the “quantity is better than quality” crowd. There’s one in Little Rock that — oddly — offers nothing but chicken and vegetarian dishes. Most of them are just rather ordinary –there are some popular dishes and those are the only things available.
Still others are unique enough to stay crowded and deservedly so. Buffet City, located at 1516 Military Road in Benton, falls squarely in the unique category and is well worth a visit for area residents and visitors.
What sets Buffet City apart from all the other Chinese buffet restaurants out there? Simply put, there’s a little something for everyone. If you’re in the mood for the popular, mainstream Chinese-inspired dishes that have proven popular in the United States, they’ve got all those. Yes, beef and broccoli, sweet and sour chicken or pork and the usual items are there.
Buffet City, however, has a trick or two up its sleeve. For one thing, there’s the sushi bar that people tend to rave about (I haven’t made it over there because I can’t stand the stuff) and attracts a sizable crowd. There’s also an excellent Mongolian grill that allows diners to, essentially, get creative and pick exactly what they want. You’ve got noodles, chicken, beef, pork, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, the occasional snow peas and other goodies available. Heap that bowl up with all your favorites and go ahead and throw in as much hot pepper oil (or as little) as you want — the choice is yours.
While your perfect bowl of ingredients is grilled, why not stop in and get some soup? Buffet City shines in that regard as the sweet and sour, egg drop and wonton soups are all top notch, and some items such as fried pork wontons compliment the soups perfectly.
In a mood for something different than Chinese food? Buffet City’s got you covered. Head on over to the Mongolian grill and grab a steak the friendly staff will cook to order for you. You’ll typically find some pizza and fish, too, but those are about as good as one might expect from a Chinese restaurant.
Are there some problems with Buffet City? Sadly, yes. I’ve bitten into a half-cooked fried roll before and that’s none to pleasant — a crispy outside and doughy inside is enough to make one sick. Also, some items tend to sit a bit long — that pork dumpling that was appealing when hot and fresh is awful when it’s hard and lukewarm. Also, the desserts leave something to be desired as far too many of them are of the prepackaged, thaw-and-eat variety and a good number of them remain annoyingly frozen in the center. Still, there is a soft serve ice cream machine that can satisfy that sweet tooth in a hurry.
Still, the complaints are minor. The crew at Buffet City typically comes through in terms of getting everything cooked and making sure nothing sits around for too long. That bunch is attentive, too, and keeps drinks supplied and diners happy.
It’s true that not everything at the restaurant will appeal to you, but that’s rather par for the course for buffets, isn’t it? The selection is so massive at Buffet City, however, that you’re sure to find something you’ll like.
The cost of the place is around $10 and is a bargain considering the amount of dishes from which to choose. Here’s a word of advice — try the Mongolian grill at least once. You may just get hooked on it.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.