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“As much as I hate to admit it...I may have to boycott this place...”
Review of Eastern Buffet

Eastern Buffet
Ranked #77 of 178 Restaurants in Aiken
Cuisines: Asian
Restaurant details
Aiken, South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“As much as I hate to admit it...I may have to boycott this place...”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

At least during the weekday. There is a reason that they only offer coupons on weeknights. If you do not go on a weekend night (Fri - Sun), you can almost be guaranteed a dismal dining experience. If you happen by on a Monday or Tuesday, be prepared to find barely refilled trays of entrees that are overheated, overcooked, and sitting under heating lights for way too long. What once may have been delicious dishes have become congealed, stiff, lukewarm dumplings and shellfish languishing in their own greasy trays of fat. I hate to say it, but if you cannot keep up your standard of service on every day of the week that you are open (not just the weekend), then you do not deserve four stars. I base this review on the past two times I visited that were not on a Friday or Saturday (more like a Monday and a Tuesday), and am seriously disappointed to have to say it. It killed my love of this establishment, and I am not likely to visit again, even if I do have a craving for Asian food on a weeknight. It was that bad. So sad for a place that I formerly gave a high review to.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Ainslee921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Ellenton, South Carolina
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“If you want something tasty, but don't know what exactly, or have a huge group that can't agree...”
Reviewed March 1, 2013

This buffet has a lot of variety. Like all buffets, there's really only a set amount of things they can put on the table because they have to keep ALL of those dishes fresh, and there's only so many tray spaces. They made good choices in what they have though, I think.

Service is fine. The waitresses are a bit shy but if you chatter with them and are friendly, they warm up and are very nice. Their English is so-so, but I get the feeling that actually, a lot of them are eager to try to learn more about Aiken in general, and a little about what there is to do in this area, things to visit, etc.--they probably just moved here within the last year or two. Most of them are semi curious about our culture, and I'm learning a lot about their culture too. I think it's like every other aspect of human interaction; if you are kind, they will be also. If you go there with the attitude that "you are here to serve me. =P" well duh, they'll take your tray away because they must,...but they may not smile and wave at you and tell you about their son's birthday, when you walk in. I'm saying this because I saw this happen while I was there and stepped in...but basically, if you are a jerk to service people, it's not reasonable to expect great service. And what is with people having such attitudes anyways? Service industry does not mean they're slaves, and being Asian doesn't equate to illegal immigration. It's dinner. At a restaurant. Be civil so the rest of us can eat in peace, please.

Asian food (yeah they're going to excel in this area because they're an asian restaurant):
1) Sushi - Simple types are made, like california roll (not raw), unagi (roasted eel with a sweet glaze), shrimp (cooked also), and tuna and salmon (both of those last two are raw). They also have vegetarian rolls too; ask the chef behind the bar, he knows which ones are which. They will also do custom hand-rolls; just be polite about it. Technically, it's not on the buffet, but if you ask politely they don't usually disgaree unless there's a huge line-up at the steak side or they need to make more sushi because the trays are empty.

2) The usual beef and bell peppers, chicken and broccoli, etc. They taste as you'd expect; garlic and onion used in most dishes. Overall, pretty solid, a little greasy, but fresh. Like other people noted, when that salt and pepper shrimp first comes out, BE THERE and GET SOME cause it goes fast and it's yummy.

Sort of western-style:
They do have things like pizza and fried chicken and salads and such also. So, even if you do have younger kids, as long as they're not super picky eaters, they will probably be ok with the pizza, salad, chicken, and usually I've found kids like the mongolian BBQ because they get to pick exactly what they want and it's custom cooked just for them.

That whole mongolian BBQ area, anything there you can have cooked any way you'd like. So...for example, I usually get the steak but with onions and mushrooms right over the top of it all, and I ask them not to put that sauce on it. They DO have mushrooms already cooked at the buffet, but that has some sort of slightly sweet sauce, I don't like sweet sugary stuff on my steak...so I get extra mushrooms on the side for my steak. It's delicious this way. I also found that the chef that has glasses and usually has a navy blue bandana cooks the steak most awesomely.

There's unlimited crab legs for about $22. This sounds like a lot, but considering this is the cost for the buffet (about $10-12) PLUS crab legs, it isn't that bad. Plus, I'm very efficient at cracking open crab legs; all you need is a fork and your hands. It's not really a balanced meal, to just massively eat crab legs, so I only do it now and then as a splurge...but even though I've sat down and just chowed on crab legs for almost 3 hours, they've never tried to nudge me to leave or anything, haha! 8^) The waitresses just kept coming over to fill my cup and take away all the shells.

Oysters are great. I love oysters, and they shuck em and they put them over ice so the liquid stays, yay! I usually use lemon (right next to the tray) to get rid of shell bits.

A little adventure?:
They've got some "weirder" stuff if you're willing to give it a whirl, or trying to teach kids about different cultures/foods.

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday nights, sometimes they have fried frog legs. They taste like catfish but have the texture of chickenwings. It's strange sounding but it tastes pretty good. These are definitely best fresh from the kitchen.

They also have kimchi. This is pickled Korean vegetables and has a really strong, pungent smell, and it's very garlicy and slightly spicy, quite sweet, a bit salty, and well, it's definitely an acquired taste. It goes well with grilled pork though. Right next to the salad is a baby octopus salad. That is the most oddball looking thing there; it definitely has tentacles. It's chewy, mildly spicy, sweet, garlicy, and basically tastes like the kimchi but with more soy sauce flavor. The texture is different; very calamari-like. There's also squid in rings, that basically taste like calamari but is more smokey and has more of a seafood flavor.

For some, the raw fish stuff is probably a little strange too, and may fall into the "adventure" sort of category. Maybe start with something not so weird tasting...like a california roll, or an eel roll, then maybe the raw stuff if they were ok with the other sushi. Sushi usually tastes better with a dab of soy sauce, I've found.

Desserts: They are okish on desserts. Don't get the pastry that looks like white chocolate with swirly things on top and it's flat...cause it tastes like cardboard. I'm not sure what it was supposed to be, but it tastes like flakey cardboard. The dark chocolate colored cake is coffee, and tastes great. The mini maccaroons are good. The little doughy donut things dusted with sugar are good on most days but delicious when first out! Fruits always include honeydew or cantaloupe, and usually canned pineapple, peaches, or something like that. Jello is usually there. Canned mandarin oranges are usually there. Lychee is always there. Canned fruits are always consistent, but sometimes someone dropped salad into the fruits so it tastes weird.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Scarlet N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aiken, South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Good Deak”
Reviewed December 1, 2012 via mobile

Eat as much and whatever! Not sure what you want this place has it all. Not fancy just honest food at a great value

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LindaSL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aiken, SC
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“To heck with the diet. I'm going to Eastern Buffet!”
Reviewed September 13, 2012

This buffet has it all and that includes taste. If you care to have fresh food cooked they do that as well. I have never seen any bad items in the buffet and you can count on all the trays being filled with hot and fresh food. The staff is great as well and take care of you as you pig out and get fat and sassy.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank knight65202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aiken, South Carolina
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“All you can eat”
Reviewed August 31, 2012

Stopped for lunch. They had crab legs, shrimp, pizza, all kinds of Chinese food. Sushi both cooked like Mali rolls as well as raw. Very worth it. Service was great too, dishes were gone as soon as you got up for something else. Great variety.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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