A word to the wise...

So let's play a little word game...

What does "Grand" mean?

According to the dictionary it can mean:
1. Large and impressive in size, scope, or extent; magnificent
2. Rich and sumptuous
3. Wonderful or very pleasing

How about "Oriental"?
1. Of or relating to the countries of the Orient or their peoples or cultures; eastern.

And "Buffet"?
1. A meal at which guests serve themselves from various dishes displayed on a table or sideboard.
2. a. A counter or table from which meals or refreshments are served.
b. A restaurant having such a counter.

So to sum up - a grand oriental buffet should be a thing of great beauty - a chance to eat a variety of tasty exotic treats with your family and friends in a casual serve yourself kinda setting.

Oh but you are so, so, so wrong!

I learned that putting those three words together mean none of the above! I lay the evidence before you so that you may judge for yourself.

Getting off of work late, I instructed the mate and female offspring that we were going out to eat. On the way home I had noticed the grand opening of a new Chinese buffet. Great! Perfect! Everyone will be happy! No bickering! No stress!

We head over to the Grand Oriental Buffet at 900 East Dublin-Granville Road.

We pull up at about 6pm - prime dinner time. Hmmmmm- don't seem to be too crowded. Well, it is a Wednesday. We'll try it anyway.

The first thing to greet us as we go in the door is the brand spankin' new green card from the Columbus Health Department. It was dated for the day before - a good sign.

We go in...it's kinda creepy. The place is huge. It has the prerequisite fountain in one corner. It has artwork done in a vaguely Asian style. All these trappings had been added over top of the decor from the previous tenant - a failed Italian joint.

We are lead through the maze of empty dining areas to where our fellow diners are chowing down on what looks like standard buffet fair. Tony and I order iced tea, Annie a soft drink. We then head over to the rows of steam tables.

This is when we start getting bad feelings.

There was scum on the egg drop soup.

The desserts looked dried out.

Many dishes hadn't been disturbed in so long that they had started to form a hard crust.

So we picked out some things that might be ok. None of us had eaten since noon - we were desperate!

Upon sitting down, I took a drink of my iced tea - and spit it out. The ice tea had gone over.

As I was getting ready to warn Tony that the tea was bad - he spit out a bite of shrimp. "It's rotten!" he said as he gulped down some iced tea. "Blegh!!!" he said as he realized the tea was bad as well.

We sat stunned for a moment.

Annie looked at us as we sat gaping.

Then I said "Put on your coat. We are leaving."

The hostess came over and asked if anything was wrong. Boy was her timing off. I let her have it in the middle of the dining room. I told her I had never eaten rotten food in a restaurant before, that they would eventually get shut down for giving people food poisoning and that there was no way we were paying for a damn thing. The other diners sat staring at us as though we were insane. And then kept on eating as we left.

We drove over to Mimi for pho. It's where we should have gone in the first place I suppose.

I will say - without question - that that was the worst experience I have ever had in a restaurant. Ever. Bar none.

So don't eat at the Grand Oriental Buffet. Tell all your friends and family not to eat there. Unless it's the uncle you never liked - you can tell him. I won't rat you out.


Columbus Foodie said...

Ew. And asian buffets don't usually get questionable until like 8ish or so. Thanks for the warning, I'll know to steer clear. But on the bright side, you got to go to Mi Mi. I've been living off of their bahn mi and Vietnamese iced coffee all weekend. Yum.

Ben said...

Thanks for the warning. I am not very fond of Asian buffets, I've had bad experiences there before, so I will make sure to stay clear of that place


Rosie said...


We usually follow some rules about buffets - one of which is to never go during a mid-week evening. So you see what happens when you break the rules.

Other rules include

Never eat shellfish of any kind

Scope out how busy the parking lot is before you go in.

Things like that.

We like Asian buffets for quick dinners or lunches because it is easy to find a few things that you will like, a few things you want to try and it's a lot cheaper than getting several entrees and appetizers for the whole group.

Our current favorite is the Hong Kong buffet at Reed and Henderson. Go for the Saturday lunch - it's actaully pretty good.

kitsune27 said...

oh baby i love hong kong buffet. best chinese buffet in columbus. hands down.

Cakespy said...

Man...sometimes you can hit a good one, but more often than not they're like what you described: quantity does not say anything about quality!

Big Momma said...

We love the Hong Kong as well...the one at Reed/Henderson is much better though that the one in Graceland. My only complaint is that the floors are always slippery....anyone else have this problem?