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“Lunch has better value but don't go too early.”
Review of Royal Buffet & Grill - CLOSED

Royal Buffet & Grill
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: Asian
Restaurant details
New Providence, New Jersey
Level Contributor
381 reviews
279 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Lunch has better value but don't go too early.”
Reviewed September 17, 2013

I posted a review for dinner at this place a month ago. I re-visited this place during lunch hour and find the value of the money paid to be a bit different. As a result, I decided to write another review: this time for lunch.

I was charged $8.99 per-tax and pre-tips for lunch. Surprisingly, I found out that the food that they serve for lunch and dinner are extremely similar and have very significant overlap -- though management of the place may say otherwise. The dinner experience from my previous review was for Friday dinner and the lunch experience here that I am writing about now is for Thursday lunch. For this price, $8.99, the *value* would get a four star rating, but I will only give it a 3-star rating in this review and I will explain why later. What really is sad about this is that, with significant overlap of food choices, they charge $8.99 for lunch and then charge $16.9x for dinner. Yes, I understand that in the industry, dinner is usually more expensive, but that also comes with food of better quality or of larger portion. This is a buffet and one cannot justify by stating that people eat more at a buffet during dinner than during lunch. I personally feel that the management charges $16.9x just to see if they can get away with it. Can this be justified? I believe people need to vote with their own wallet. I can justify spending $8.99 having lunch here but I cannot justify spending $16.9x if the food served is more or less the same.

Quality of food -- nothing to brag about and nothing to complain about. At least this time, I do not find a piece of tomato with a rotten spot. I found that in my friend's plate during my last visit. The hot and sour soup still is dosed with excessive amout of thicking agent, with a texture similar to warm, melted jelly.

Here is the part why I withdraw my originally promised 4-star rating and replace it with a three-star rating on value. I do think this place has management problems and again I do hope management read this and do something about this. I arrived for lunch on a Thursday morning around 11:45. When I walked in, at least 2-3 buffet island has not been filled with food. They were just empty and this includes the mongolian barbeque food selection station and the sushi station. Around 12:10pm, the food selection station for Mongolian barbeque is ready and around 12:15pm, they bring out the first plate and place it solo on the sushi buffet island. It was some seedweed in bean-curd shell. Any customer who arrives early and does not stay long will be disadvantaged. My personal view on this is that when a buffet restaurant opens for business, food should be more or less ready for everyone. Instead they take their time to serve the food and if you do not stay long enough, you don't get to enjoy everything -- though you pay the same as everyone else. My personal view again on this is that you may get better value for your money for lunch if you arrive around 12:30 -- when the majority of the selection is available to you.

All in all, lunch may be worthwhile and dinner has very little value.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BHUANG69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

32 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    5
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    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Stay Away!”
Reviewed August 22, 2013

The food here is awful!!!!!
When you first walk in the stench is digusting smells like fish, 'I'm not a fish person. The food was cold and tasteless.I was unsure of what was certain dish was so I asked a staff member and she couldn't even identify it. the place is filthy the atmosphere is disgusting and the staff members are so rude. Was definitely not worth my 8.99 that I paid for lunch I will be never coming here again. I rather starve! oh and by the way the cooks look dirty and raunchy.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank floridachicky25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Providence, New Jersey
Level Contributor
381 reviews
279 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“The place has gone downhill. Not worth the money for dinner.”
Reviewed August 17, 2013

I work nearby and we used to come here for farewell parties. At the time, the food was good and the price reasonable. I came here in August 2013 with my friend on a Friday after work. Being charged $16.9x per person for a Friday night dinner, I had very high expectations for this place. However, based on my experience here, I cannot justify spending this much for the food that I get. This place would have gotten a four star had it charged $9.99 and three star had it charged $12.99. The followings are my observations and experience

1) Poor taste: I really cannot find a dish which I had to get every time I go back for more. Usually when I go to a buffet, I can find a few favorite items so that during the next trip, I would get more in my plate. They overdosed the thickening agent for the hot-and-sour soup here and it tastes like warm Jelly. The crab legs take the cake -- though the legs have plenty of meat but it has no taste -- the sweet juice coming from the meat when you bite into it was replaced by something that tastes like warm tap water.
2) Poor quality: My friend got a veggie dish from the Mongolian grill -- the veggie was mixed with some leafy vegetables and some that are a bit harder to cook, like broccoli. Sadly the cook tried to cook everything in one shot and my friend found the leafy veggies overcooked and the broccoli undercooked. Worse yet, there was a rotten spot on the tomato. I saw it and stopped my friend from eating it. I just wished the quality control was better. It's a buffet and I am not asking for freshly picked, beautiful tomato; some basic cleaning by cutting away the rotten spot would have been acceptable, but this was not really done.

3) Poor service: I had no complaint for our waitresses -- they walked around and took away empty plates. However, the Mongolian BBQ cook was not present to make the dish -- I waited for three minutes at the serving window, a waitress saw me and then notified the cook. At one point, I also went to the register to break down my bills and again no one was there. There were around 10-12 patrons in the restaurant when we were there and I believe at that point it was not understaffed. It's acceptable for them to step away but I think regularly checking if any customer needs you is one of their responsibilities.

All in all, I consider my dining experience here unacceptable. The manager may really want to look into it and see if a different business strategy and model can be developed to save this place. This place is close to where I work and I would love to go back again -- but for what they offer and what they charge now, I will stop going until real improvement has been made.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank BHUANG69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Hanover, New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Good, but going downhill fast.”
Reviewed July 22, 2013

I really want to like this place, the food is good and I have never gotten sick. That being said, the bathroom looks like its never been cleaned, sloppy everywhere. And you know what they say, if the bathroom looks bad, the kitchen is 20x worse. The neon sign out front is half out, it looks like a crackhouse. It's beginning to be a eyesore to the neighborhood. It seems every time I got to this place there are more signs that nobody cares. I really really want to like this place, it needs new management. Last time we went, it was a Saturday night, the place was completely empty.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Brian Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
278 reviews
212 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“A Very Good Buffet”
Reviewed July 4, 2013

Though my parents don't seem to like this buffet much, I always love coming over here. The selection always changes a bit, but there are a few items that always appear. The sushi selection is very good, and the typical Chinese offerings are good as well. I especially love the baked potato skins when they are available because of the perfect balance of potato, cheese, and bacon. The dessert options are also very good, having something for all tastes. Overall, this place is a very good option if you're feeling hungry in East Hanover.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank kirbyfan1996
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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