Sherman's Food Adventures: The Buffet at Grand Villa Casino

The Buffet at Grand Villa Casino

I gotta admit - nobody does a buffet better than the US of A.  Even if we take Vegas out of the equation, there are plenty of all-you-can-stuff-your-face joints just South of the border.  Now I'm not talking about quality, I'm merely amazed at the selection and quantity.  That would pretty much describe the places we find in Bellingham.  Further South, we find more higher end buffets in Seattle and yes, the Grand Daddy of them all in Vegas.  But what about in the GVRD?  Nope, nada, zilch.  Other than some AYCE Japanese and Sunday brunch offerings, there are no good buffets (and really, buffets aren't the best place for great food anyways).  The newest to join the fray is The Buffet at Grand Villa Casinos - not to be confused with The Buffet at the River Rock.

Juju really wanted to check out the "seafood buffet" offered from Thur-Sat.  So I joined him  for some gluttony at an early 3:30pm on a Saturday.  Woah, were we going for some senior discount or something?  No, none existed and hey, we're not that old!  Even at that unholy hour, there was a lineup 20 people long.  Once inside, we were shocked at how small the place was in terms of food selection and seating.  Walking back to our table with a plate of food was like walking through an obstacle course with chairs, tables and people packed tightly together.  As for the buffet line, there was Soup, Salads and Salad Toppings occupying the first few sections. Nothing particularly interesting... until the big pile of King Crab Legs.  These were really large and meaty with varying textures of either being fluffy or a bit spongy.  I thought they were on the saltier side as well.  Yet, considering the venue, the crab legs were pretty good.

Moving along, the next section consisted of Veggies and one pasta.  The pasta was mostly al dente with some uncooked portions.  It was really bland.  It was replaced with a tomato sauce version later on.  Then we had a modest array of Asian Food with fried rice, fried noodles, spicy shrimp and butter chicken.  The shrimp was actually decent with some spice and having a great snap.  The butter chicken was a bit strange because it tasted more like curry chicken.  The dark meat was tender and moist, yet the whole dish was luke warm which was off-putting. Next to it, there were 3 Meat choices including roast pork, black bean mussels and baked salmon.  I can confidently say all 3 sucked.  The pork was as hard as Ron Jeremy and the accompanying sauce was well... use your imagination.  The mussels were rubbery while the black bean sauce was goopy and salty.  The salmon was probably either chum or pink which meant it was dry and lacking in flavour.  The buttery Hollandaise-like sauce on top was greasy and didn't really help save the fish.  So the crab legs, shrimp dish, mussels and fish qualified this as a "seafood buffet"?  Me thinks this is a bit misleading...

At the end of the buffet line, there was Roast Beef.  It wasn't prime rib though which meant it wasn't exactly buttery soft.  Although it was prepared a perfect medium-rare (closer to rare), it was hard to chew and wasn't all that flavourful.  The accompanying gravy was starchy and lacked meatiness.  Lastly, the Dessert section had to be the most pathetic one I've ever seen.  It would've made Mijune cry.  4 options, that's it.  At least the red velvet cake was not bad.  Okay, there is not other way to say it - this buffet blows.  If it weren't for the crab legs, this was no better than Uncle Willy's (but for double the price).  Please do yourself a favour and spend your $25.95 at EBO on the same floor.

The Good:
- Crab legs were not bad considering everything
- Bright, modern dining space

The Bad:
- Food selection and quality sucks
- Seating arrangements are tight and hard to maneuver through

The Buffet at Grand Villa Casino on Urbanspoon


12 comments:

LotusRapper said...

The fact that the roast beef was "hard to chew" may be because it wasn't pre-seasoned (salt-rubbed) and that incorrect temperatures (too high) were set at different phases of the roasting, despite it being medium-rare.

Sherman Chan said...

@LR or the fact the meat is poor quality or an inferior cut too. ..

LotusRapper said...

True, which would be unfortunate, given this is not Uncle Willy's :-/

Zodiac YingYang said...

So what over White Buffets are left in GVRD besides this one, uncle willys, and RiverRock? The old folks are in it for the seafood but I'm more of a dessert person..

i also heard that many hotels are getting rid of their Sunday brunch as well. Even Griffins doesn't have their famous dessert buffet anymore...

LotusRapper said...

@Zodiac - we had dinner at Griffins on the Father's Day weekend. We knew the appy/salad buffet was gone but to our (sad) surprise, so was the dessert buffet. BUT both are available during lunch Mon-Sat from 11:30a-2:30p:

http://www.fairmont.com/hotel-vancouver/pdf/hvc-grffins-lunch-apr-2013/

$31 combined, or $15 just for the dessert. The combo is kinda silly IMHO, who would pay $31 for that for lunch in this town when there are so many better options for less, even downtown ?

Pacifica (Van Convention Centre #1/Pan Pacific) has evening buffet:

http://www2.panpacific.com/en/Vancouver/Dining/CafePacifica.html

And places like Mosaic Grille (Hyatt) and a few others do special-occasion buffets (ie: Mother's Day, Christmas, etc). But yeah, *good* and affordable buffets are definitely a rarity in Vancouver. Chalk it out to our westcoast fitness/eco-green self image :-/

Zodiac YingYang said...

Thank god its not all gone, but just the dinner buffets.

$15 for just dessert is still fair since 2 pieces of cake plus a coffee or afternoon high-tea is about same cost....

So to your experiences, which one has the best seafood selection besides Pacifica ($50 is kind of a overboard) ? ..

I can sacrifice the dessert if the seafood is good enough..

LotusRapper said...

@Zodiac - I've never eaten at the Pacifica buffet, sorry, so I can't compare.

Sherman Chan said...

@LR and @ZYY Ironically, I've just revisited Cafe Pacifica last weekend. Certainly expensive at $50 and am pretty sure you would never eat that amount in food. However, the food is generally pretty good for a buffet, not to mentioned the setting. The problem I have with The Buffet at GVC is that the food is not very good. Crab Legs were decent though.

Zodiac YingYang said...

From the looks of things, Riverrock should better; GVC looks more like a cafeteria than an actual buffet restaurant...


LotusRapper said...

I miss The Copper Kettle (where the closed Canadian Tire is on Kingsway) and Mother Tucker's.

Man, I'm dating myself !

Unknown said...

Hey, did you get that coupon from Grand villa that they sent to all the house in Burnaby, Buy one get one free. As for the crab, really where can you get real King Crab for this price. I think me and my wife probably ate $60 of Crab in our two visit. I really Enjoyed the Roast Beef on the fist visit tne second visit was not too good. FYI, the seafood buffet is now on Thursday only. They stop doing the Friday/Saturday thing, which could be telling because the line up for the buffet on Saturday was 3 hr long. We came at 5 pm and had to wait 1.5 hour.

Sherman Chan said...

Yup, used a coupon. Crab legs are indeed good, but the rest of the food just ain't good. Luckily we arrived early. Lineup was building...