Sometimes convenience and choice (in terms of what the kiddies are wanting to eat) trumps gourmet restaurants. Sure, we'd loved to eat at a fine dining spot complete with foie and black truffles, but if the kids are really feeling it, the whole experience would be a waste of time and money. Therefore, after visiting Niagara Falls and also getting drenched, we weren't going to dine at the tourist traps (posing as restaurants). Rather, we drove a few minutes out from the heart-of-town to Mandarin Buffet.
There we were greeted with a decent selection of eats that the kids could go nuts on. There was a fairly large salad section that I blew by. Interesting that they featured many prepared salads, but I couldn't find a simple green salad. I went straight for some Sushi and it was pretty pathetic. It consisted of mostly cooked items and the sushi was haphazardly prepared. But I'm sure they know their target market. Rice was dry too. As for my first actual plate of food, I went for the traditional Prime Rib with mashed potatoes, veggies and plenty of gravy. You know what? It was pretty darn good! The meat was buttery and soft while nicely seasoned. Veggies were good as well as the mash. Gravy was decent too.
After that, I hit the cooked food consisting of 2 whole sections. It featured an array of eats including North American Chinese favourites such as Lemon Chicken, General Tso's Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls. Not particularly my favourite things to eat, but prepared nicely as the meat was tender and not overdone. The veggies, including green beans and broccoli were crunchy and vibrant while not over-seasoned. I thought the Curry Chicken was okay too with balance flavours while showing some creaminess accented by a touch of spice. The Maple Salmon was also on point being not too overdone.
They really laid it on thick with the Desserts as they dedicated 2 whole sections. That didn't include the hard ice cream freezer either. As plentiful as the desserts were, most were not particularly exciting. There was some warm bread pudding and various cheesecakes (which were decent). Otherwise, it was full of little items that one would find at a house pot luck or tea party. I did like the hard ice cream, but some of them were messed up beyond repair (ie. unintentionally mixed flavours). So there you have it, a buffet with a myriad of options. It was generally okay and did the job, but go in with reasonable expectations.
- Fairly large selection
- Outstanding service
- Some items were good for a buffet
- Desserts were plentiful, but weak
- Hey, it's a buffet, some things with be average at best