Hibachi Buffet offers great breadth, little depth

Categories: Restaurants

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Mo Perry
Hibachi Buffet is now open on Lake Street, serving up everything from pizza to sushi to chicken nuggets
It didn't take long for word to get out about the newly opened Hibachi Buffet. The Hot Dish paid them a visit this past weekend, and the cafeteria-sized joint was hopping, full of families looking to get some bang for their Saturday lunchtime buck. There's no question that the restaurant delivers good value at $9 for adults and $2 to $7 for kids for the all-you-can eat buffet lunch. But what if you're looking to stretch your dollar and enjoy a quality meal? Read on for the lowdown on what's available, what's good, and what not to touch with 20-foot tongs.

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Mo Perry

With five serving islands in addition to the sushi bar and hibachi grill station, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope of options. The beauty of a buffet is that you can, in theory, eat everything. But who wants to work their way through seven mediocre dishes before landing on one that's truly delicious? Let us do the sifting for you.
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Mo Perry
Grilled bread, lo mein, fried chicken, egg roll, chicken and broccoli, Japanese chicken, and a dumpling

One trip to the buffet yielded this plate, the contents of which were uniformly cold and bland. The dumpling contained a mysterious gray meat, the Japanese chicken was tepid and rubbery, and the grilled bread dry and crusty.

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Mo Perry
The sushi counter offers 10 rolls

The second trip to the buffet was more successful, as we went straight for the food that's supposed to be cold: sushi. The sushi counter boasts 10 rolls, and the few that we tried were perfectly serviceable. Not quite Fuji-ya quality, but better than what you might find at the grocery store. This is where the value is best--all the decent sushi you want for the price of one roll at most restaurants.

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Mo Perry
The Hibachi chef works the grill

The success continued with a third plate filled with fresh, hot magic from the hibachi grill. The serving station offers various meats, vegetables, and noodles, and the chefs then whip it all up to your spice-level specifications. The results are hot and tasty without that signature "been sitting in a bucket under a heat lamp for 45 minutes" flavor.

If you don't mind lukewarm temperatures and suspect textures, by all means help yourself to the mayonnaise shrimp, mussels, and sweet and sour chicken. But we suggest that if you find yourself peckish on Lake Street at lunchtime with $9 and a craving for a good meal, bypass the buffet islands entirely and load up on the sushi and freshly made hibachi grill dishes.

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