Monday, March 16, 2009

Reviewing C'ville's Finest - A Culinary Adventure

It tastes good *and* it's good for you!

Here at UVa Law Blog, we talk a lot about the law school and issues relating to UVa Law students, but we rarely discuss conditions outside the law school building. Charlottesville, Virginia is a great little city with lots going for it besides the University. While C’ville residents regularly enjoy a beer at historic Miller’s, stroll through Thomas Jefferson’s famed Monticello, and purchase fresh produce at the Charlottesville City Market, team UVa Law Blog often enjoys the finer aspects of the town. That’s right, we’re talking about all-you-can-eat buffets. Charlottesville contains many of these fine establishments, and in an effort to give you a full picture of life at UVa Law, we have decided to review and grade these places.

T-Pain, S-Pain, Justincredible, and I went to China King Buffet for dinner last night. Two-thirds Chinese restaurant – one-third granite counter-top showroom, CKB is an excellent option for those seeking a place to eat their heart’s out. The foyer includes samples of different granite types and a full granite counter-top. Likewise, the men’s bathroom contained more granite wares (see below). The women’s restroom, like all women’s bathrooms, remains a mystery to me. CKB serves all the usual staples – General Tso’s chicken, fried dumplings, chicken and sweet peas – but goes further. Guests can enjoy “sushi”, crab legs (dinner only), frog legs, white dough things (evidently called dim sum), and a hibachi bar. The variety extends to dessert, where the options include such delicacies as Jell-O (red, yellow, and green), cake, marshmallow casserole, and bananas covered with red syrup.

So-so. The hostess dutifully found us an unoccupied table without making rude comments or swearing. The waiter was a smiling, pleasant young man who brought us drink refills without our asking (for you non-C’ville residents, this is a big deal). The “sushi” maker guy is generally unpleasant and the customers need upgrading. You would think the kind of individuals who would frequent an all-you-can-eat buffet would be healthy and thin. After all, these types are the ones that need the most nourishment. However, you would be gravely mistaken.
Grade: B-

T-Pain weighs in:
Our service was poor. I received a single Dr. Pepper refill over the course of a three course meal. Also, first/second plates were not removed in a timely fashion. These oversights were particularly perturbing given that our server was not responsible for food orders, as we served ourselves directly from the buffet. I should say that our server was a delightful, sprightly fellow. I'm not sure which sparkled more brilliantly: his earnest manner or his diamond/cubic zirconium earring. Payment was taken at the register, and the cashier was similarly gregarious.
Grade: B

Outstanding. CKB was decorated everywhere with Chinese-type art. There were some Chinese symbols turned into wall art, a large fish-tank with one or two fish swimming about, and a wall-size moving picture of a waterfall (probably depicting China). The ceiling was painted blue with flashing lights simulating stars. Justincredible tells me the lights are the same kind used in redneck Christmas trees.

T-Pain again:
The bathroom was almost high-end, featuring ultramodern slate countertops and floating slate sinks, several semi-clean urinals, and one stall with a working latch. A large puddle had formed near the exposed plumbing underneath the sinks.

Anyway, the décor was beautiful and highly attractive, worthy of a Michelin 4-star restaurant. I would hazard the décor rivals the décor in any other restaurant in C’ville – or the world.
Grade: A

Positively endless. I’m a sucker for fried dumplings and Hong Kong doesn’t disappoint. The General Tso’s chicken was delectable if a little soggy. T-Pain reports that the frog legs taste like chicken. Justincredible found the ribs moist and tender – I would have preferred slightly less char on them. The “sushi” betters the options at Harris Teeter only slightly. Stay away from any sushi here with more than 3 ingredients. Crab legs and shrimp offer opportunities for the economical to get their money’s worth. The fried rice was fried and therefore delicious. The cakes at the dessert menu contained sugar and were therefore delicious. The Dr. Pepper contained the right proportions of sugar, water, and bubbles and was therefore delicious. Bottom line, lots of choices and always something different to sample.
Grade: B

Price: $16 including drink and tip for dinner (lunch about $9).

Overall grade: B+


justincredible said...

unbiased, well-informed, groundbreaking.

this is the kind of news the world needs...and 6000 calories later, i'm glad i was able to be part of it.

JB4TW said...

I am disappointed that you did not sample the stir-fry bar. I feel that it is a pivotal part of the experience at the China Buffet. Something about freakishly small shrimp moves me.

tjsshadow said...

I am not disputing T-Pain's report, but I can say that the service he received is not the norm. At my experiences at the buffet, my plate is always gone by the time I return with another, and beverages were replenished whenever I was low. It is impressive that crab legs are always available for dinner.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the place known as China King Buffet?

Anonymous said...

I think you guys mean to talk about China King Buffet, not "Hong Kong Chinese Buffet" or "China Buffet."

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?