Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, February 2, 2005
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You want it? Buffet King’s got it. (Photo by Vishal Malhotra)
Buffet King
6809 McCart Av, Ste 100, FW. 817-294-1818. Lunch buffet Mon-Sun 11am-4pm, dinner buffet Sun-Thu 4:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-10pm. All major credit cards accepted.

Buffet King
Lunch buffet
$5.95
Dinner buffet
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Royal Rumble

Buffet King offers a lot of food — but not a lot that’s special.

By DAN MCGRAW

Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” ad campaign is, indeed, genius. The commercials have praised such clichéd and stupid American icons as “Mr. Bad Toupee Wearer,” “Mr. Sports Fan Face Painter,” and “Mr. Fortune Cookie Fortune Writer.”
The point is to kind of bring these guys down by elevating them to “genius” status — when we all know that they’re merely doing things that all of us can do. Which brings us to another Bud Light man of genius, “Mr. All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Inventor.” The ad copy says it all: “You’ve given us the real American dream: a tray, 15 feet of food, and a little sign that says, ‘Go nuts, buddy!’ ... Pushing side-dish innovation to its limits, you offer creamed-everything and 400 flavors of gelatin.”
For some reason, the all-you-can-eat-buffet has become the new standard of American dining — not a high standard, but a standard. In general —whether it’s Mexican or Swedish smorgasbords or big Vegas spreads — the end result is usually the same: lots of pretty boring food but at a price so cheap you can’t help but indulge. Abundant and cheap food? Doesn’t take a genius to see the brilliance in that.
The real growth has come in the Asian part of the buffet market. From a business sense, Asian-style works better than most cuisines. The average adult stomach holds between two and three pounds of food max, and Chinese dishes incorporate lots of rice, stir-fried meats mixed with cheap vegetables, and lo mein noodles. So if a Chinese-buffet restaurateur is charging $7 for all-you-can-eat, chances are even the heftiest eater isn’t going to break the bank.
To the list of local Asian cafeteria-style joints, we can now add Buffet King — and in many ways, it’s just one more place that fits the model: boring-but-cheap food and lots of it. Like 99 percent of its brethren, the King coddles the unimaginative masses of its customers, offering highly Americanized versions of Asian dishes — and some flat-out American faves, such as onion rings and macaroni and cheese — and going light on the spices, instead of getting adventurous.
In the main-dish section, the beef in the flavorless broccoli and beef was undercooked. The only suggestion of garlic in the garlic chicken with vegetables dish was in the title — it was just a soy-and-teriyaki sauce throw-together. And the baked salmon with no sauce or seasoning was just plain wrong.
The appetizers were equally blah. The egg rolls had neither taste nor crunch. The fried shrimp were over-breaded and seemed to have been sitting on the buffet for a long time. And the stuffed shrimp — stuffed with what wasn’t readily apparent to either tongue or eye — were nothing special.
Dessert was pretty standard, but done well enough. Almond cookies, varied cakes, pastries with creme fillings, and even an apple cobbler. There were about eight different offerings and, of course, for the kids, standard soft-serve ice cream accompanied by all the sprinkle toppings.
If you’re visiting the King for flavor rather than volume, the recommended menu shrinks to this: The salad bar offerings were pleasantly diverse, including peel-and-eat shrimp and oysters on the half-shell. Both the hot-and-sour and wonton soups, chunky and flavorful, were better than most. The white rice was plump and sticky, the way Asian rice should be. And while the lo mein noodles that Buffet King used in so many dishes were thicker than average, they were also perfectly cooked and made for a nice complement to the fresh veggies mixed in.
Throughout the meal, the service was friendly and efficient. Drinks were always full, and dirty dishes were always quickly shuttled away.
In fact, efficient would be the best way to describe Buffet King and places like it. They’re not great, but they serve a purpose. If you’re in a hurry or don’t want to cook, you probably won’t leave Buffet King unhappy — just, perhaps, a little heavier.


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