Filling the Void – Can It Be Done?

Susan says:

Crab RangoonWhen I returned from my trip to Buckhannon recently, my friends knew I would suggest the China Buffet at Kanawha Mall. After all, I did give it FIVE FORKS even though there are potholes in the parking lot big enough to swallow an Expedition, but that’s not their fault, I said.  Anyway, I did suggest we go there Monday morning because I had really missed my favorite Chinese place while out of town and that’s when I got the horrific news: it was closed due to fire damage. And the news didn’t get any better when a few days turned into “who knows how long”.

How will I be able to make it until they reopen?

I have been to three other Chinese buffets within a week, trying to find something that can come close to the deliciousness of the China Buffet, but to no avail.

First, on Monday we went to the Happy Chinese Super Buffet east of the Kanawha Mall. We had been there several times before when it was called Peking Chinese Super Buffet and we all had our little savings cards which we could not use anymore since the change of ownership. One strike. The second strike is that it is not a “super” buffet. They have a pretty big selection of cold sald bar-type items, but why do you want that at a Chinese buffet? You go to Shoney’s if that’s what you are looking for, Geez. The big blow was that the Mongolian Grill was not operational the day we went. When we paid our bills, I asked if it would be operational in the future and was answered with “I don’t know”. Well, I am not taking any chances on that – it’s not that good without the Mongolian Grill. Not much selection, the crab rangoons aren’t good, and we had to pay full price even though half the meal I planned to eat was unavailable to me. Needless to say, I was not “Happy” when I left.

The next place we tried was Main Tin near the mound in South Charleston on Friday. This was a little better than Happy but nowhere close to my favorite China Buffet. The crab rangoons were weird. Maybe they had celery in them, we weren’t sure. I did enjoy the little shrimps, lightly breaded…yum-o. I understand the idea behind pre-paying for the buffet and I am not against that in theory. But when I have to wait for the cashier to take orders from telephone calls and pick-ups of orders in the same line I am in, I got a little agitated. People are more patient AFTER their bellies are full. It was so-so but my cravings were still unsatisfied.

(Updated 05.28.08)

Ron Says –

Main Tins ~ This place stunk.   The food Stunk.  The service Stunk.  Heck the pictures on the wall even stunk.  For Example – The HOT MUSTARD IS SERVED OUT OF A PACKET – like you’d recieve  for takeout – and of course – It stunk.  Heck I felt like I was getting gasoline at a convience store because there was even a PRE-PAY Sign.  And after all the stinking going on – no wonder.  Not For Me… maybe chef Tin can put a picture of my review on the wall.  If I had known Susan was going to tip I would have stayed in my office and ate Ramen Noodles.

NO CHOPSTICKS FOR YOU  (aka no forks)

Sunday, Ron & I went to China Gourmet on RHL Boulevard, off Corridor G. This place had a Mongolian Grill that was actually staffed, thank goodness. There were quite a few things I sampled that I liked, including the coconut shrimp and master chicken. The crab rangoons were pretty good, also. Actually, this was the best buffet out of the three I tried last week. We ordered a beer, which they have, but a small selection. I had to accept Bud Light because Coors Light just wasn’t happening. This is Ron’s favorite buffet around the Charleston area. I don’t get it. There was no Mongolian chicken – they had Mongolian pork, but it wasn’t spicy enough and the sauce wasn’t very thick. They had garlicky green beans, but they weren’t garlicky enough. The crab rangoons weren’t cream cheesy enough. They didn’t have anything like those little spicy shrimps or hot & spicy diced chicken that they have at the China Buffet. Woe is me.

Updated (05.28.08)

Ron Says ~

Susan doesn’t know what the heck she’s talking about….  China Gourmet is the best around….  As for the no Mongolian Chicken – well whoopity doo..   They had plenty of other stuff in the different sauces.  Besides they serve beer.  Plus the Mongolian Grill is awsome… I loved it.  Their Hot Mustard isn’t served to you in little packets. 

My gripe today is – No Butterfinger crumbs on the Sunday Bar, and no Crawfish.

3 Forks…

When we left, I still had a void left unfilled by this tour of Chinese stuffets. I will continue my search for a worthy understudy and until then, China Buffet, please hurry.

4 responses to “Filling the Void – Can It Be Done?

  1. Sorry to hear that you didnt like Main Tin. It’s really hit or miss there. In my opinion, their best dish is the Crispy Chicken…its good from the buffet if its fresh but you are much better off ordering some for take out. I usually hit the buffet during peak times to ensure fresh Crispy Chicken. I also like their Garlic Chicken quite a bit…the Egg Drop soup is also well done.

    I definitely agree on the Crab Rangoons though….they are weird and yucky. I have not found a truly great rangoon in this area since the glory days of Chef Wong’s on rt 60 in Saint Albans. I like mine with a lot of cream cheese a medium amount of crabmeat and nothing else, I dont know why these places pack in the onions/celery/whatever.

  2. I agree with Mike about the preferred crab rangoon construction. I really miss the ones at China Buffet. I think you would like them, if you haven’t tried that place yet, try to make it there when they re-open. Today, I am hoping to dine at Taste of Asia…in my opinion, the best sit-down Asian food in the area. They have Chinese, Japanese and Thai menus so you can get whatever you are in the mood for. Based on Ron’s review of Main Tin, I doubt I’ll get the chance for a follow-up review. lol.

  3. I went to the China Gourmet up at Southridge today, I had never been there before. They have a pretty decent spread. The Crab Rangoon there is really good if you can get them when they are fresh, when I first went up to the buffet the pan was almost empty so the Rangoon I got was kinda cold. I went back up there after I saw them refill the pan and got a fresh one and I have to say it was the best Rangoon ive had in a long time.

  4. Pingback: “L21 with Hot and Sour Soup, Please” - Main Kwong « Fork You…

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