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“Used to be Great” 2 of 5 stars
Review of NY China Buffet

NY China Buffet
12173 South Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32836
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Ranked #1,483 of 3,166 Restaurants in Orlando
Cuisines: Chinese
Restaurant details
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Used to be Great”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

We ordered from the menu for take out after a long day. We were dissapointed when our food was only halfed cooked and our rice was overdone and crunchy. We had eaten here before both at the buffet and takeout and the food used to be very good.

Visited June 2013
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58 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Wandering the world
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Low price, lower quality”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

Our visit was on a Thursday at the end of the lunch rush, so we were seeing the place when all its weaknesses were showing. I guess the first surprise was how few people actually were in the restaurant-- including the three of us, only about ten in total.

The service side of the dining equation was fine-- quick, accurate service. The price point was also low (the two of us and our son got out of here for $26.50, including drinks but before the tip we left.)

The issue really was with the food. It all showed signs of having been out for a very long time, far longer than the food could stand up to the heat of the steam table, to the point where you wonder what kind of hold times the local health department allows in a restaurant like this. The raw bar scared me the most-- the 45 minutes we were there, the raw seafood sat above the level of the table and no one ever checked its temperature. The shellfish looked like it had been out a very long time, appearing to be dried from the air.

The end result of those long hold times was food that was either mushy or approaching shoe leather. I will say though, while the inside of the egg rolls and spring rolls had turned to baby food mush, somehow they managed to still have a crispy outside without being overly greasy.

In general, the food lacked as much in flavor as it lacked in texture. I tried a dish they labelled as Thai chicken. It lacked all flavor-- it didn't even taste of chicken. There wasn't a single note that reminded me of Thai cuisine at all. No heat, no herbs, nothing. It was stringy tough chicken floating in a flavorless greasy grey-brown liquid. The General Tso's chicken was equally unremarkable-- it was as if the cook had never tasted this buffet line basic for a Chinese restaurant in the US. It was flavorless wet mushy breading on a tough little bit of chicken.

The vegetable lo mein had no veggies in it, and no flavor either. The dishes I tried with crabstick had this strange "firm toothpaste" quality about the crabstick. I wouldn't try the mei fun-- it was pure mush. The Mongolian barbecue station was unstaffed during much of our visit, but we were able to get someone to make a small plate for us at the end. They offered no sauces/cooking liquids at all, only squirting a little water and oil when cooking on a surface that was so dirty it noticeably darkened the food.

This is the kind of place that would be so easy to turn around. If they just tasted their dishes in comparison with any of their competition, then started cooking less food more frequently, the issues of flavor and texture would be largely resolved. I suspect the happier reviews are all people who visited during peak times when the large pans of food were being eaten fast enough that the food never suffered from long hold times. I've eaten Chinese food on five continents-- most of the places being cheap hole-in-the-wall joints. The only thing memorable about this visit was how little it seems they cared about the food they served.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Orlando, FL
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Worth a Try”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

I moved a couple of years ago and I've been looking for a new Chinese Buffet ever since. I've found more restaurants than I can count, but there are times I want to eat at a buffet. I think I have finally found one. After numerous searches and review reading on the net, I settled on this place and ate here today (5/11/13) for lunch. Total was $9.55 (including tax). Was it great? No. Was it terrible? No. It was 'okay'. I can't complain about the choices (plenty too choose from for even picky eater me). I'm not an 'exotic' eater and I can't stomach spicy food, so you will find no reviews like that from me. I can tell you I was greeted with a smile. Allowed to look around before deciding to stay. Seated upon request without question or complaint away from the family with small children for a more peaceful meal. I didn't have to ask for a refill (and no 'look' was given when I asked for water with lemon) and my plate was cleared every time I got up from the table.

Food: every where I looked, I saw steam coming from the food that was supposed to be hot and lots of ice on and around the items that were supposed to be cold. There was someone constantly coming from the kitchen and checking on what needed to be refilled. I had my standard fare which consists of: egg drop soup, chicken on a stick, pepper steak w/white rice & what I call a Chinese donut hole (like Dunkin Donuts only bigger). I also tried a spring roll and sweet&sour chicken. Complaints: a bit bland, and that says a lot coming from someone who can't stomach any thing more spicy than A1 or ketchup. The tastiest food was the chicken on a stick. A sweet (not overly so) sauce gave it a nice flavor. I didn't eat the entire S&S chicken because it had no flavor at all and the spring roll wasn't very good, either. I enjoyed the soup (once salt was added). I think the pepper steak has the chance to be good with a thicker sauce (what was there was more soupy), more onions and some flavor added. Again, not horrible, or bad, just not great. Adding salt made it okay, but needed 'something' more. The Chinese donut was slightly different from what I've had in the past. It tasted like it could have fried for a little longer and instead of granulated sugar, it was dusted with what looked like confectioner sugar.

From what I saw, the place was clean (I did not use the restroom). My silverware was clean as was my drinking cup. In addition to what I ate and other stock Chinese food, I saw fruit, salad (including seafood), some dessert choices, ice cream machine, pizza, fried chicken, pork, Korean chicken and a hibachi bar.

When I asked, I was told they've been there for 13 years. They must be doing something right to have been able to survive the economic downturn. I saw more locals dining there than tourists, but I'm sure that changes towards late afternoon and into the evening (especially once full tourist season hits: summer). And seeing locals dining made me feel better about the place. If the locals want to eat there, too, then it's not just a tourist trap.

While not overwhelmed by the place, I will definitely give it another go. You can always hit a place on a bad day. And even if I go back a second time and it's no better, I still feel for $9.55 (in a tourist area, no less) for lunch, it's reasonable.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Niagara Falls, New York
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fresh hot and delicious!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2013

The raw bar is great...Oysters on the half shell are always fresh and well chilled. The hot dishes are hot not warm and fresh.

Visited February 2013
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

This resturant is GREAT!
They have a LARGE all you can eat $7.99 buffett which is a mix of Chinese food, American food, Sushi and pizza (and yes I did say pizza).
The resturant is very clean, reasonably priced and the staff are very friendly. Great resturant atmosphere and decor. Great for families and individuals.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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