When I was a kid, an all you can eat buffet would have sent me into paroxysm of delight. I loved to eat, and was pleased by the simplest things (I still giggle uncontrollably when I see a #10 can of pudding at the grocery store. Imagine all of that pudding!). Food was love and I loved it right back.
These days I avoid most buffet style eating. Heat lamp warmed greasy crap isn't my idea of a treat. I do however, have two local exceptions (and am open to finding more of them).
One is the lunch buffet at both the East and West locations of Maharajah. The Westside has impressed me more, and made me happy many times. I remember going with my bf when we first dated - we met for lunch after he went to a job interview. He came wearing a tie and bearing gifts, so actually I remember less about the food there than I usually do. What I do remember about that visit is that I was introduced to the chili sauce. The bf is a huge fan of culinary heat, and will put chilis or hot sauce on nearly everything.
The Eastside buffet has been very tasty the few times I've gone, but so far I have yet to see my favourite Westside dish, Chili Chicken. I will keep a stiff upper lip and go back again and again until I find it.
I recommend Maharajah for regular dining as well, but do yourself a favour and hit the buffet sometime. It's well worth it. They have a new (new to me as I haven't been, but open for a while) all-vegetarian restaurant too, Danbar, I think it's called. I'd guess it is just as amazing.
A couple of weeks ago bf and I went to catch the second to last showing of "Don't Come Knocking", which is Wim Wenders' latest. Before hand we met at the Peking Palace, a Chinese Buffet place. I've always enjoyed eating there, and although many of the dishes succumb to the greasy buffet thing, they have a few gems that always make me smile. There are green beans that are always cooked just so, and remain just crunchy enough, and these mushrooms in oyster sauce that are incredibly simple and really delicious. It's usually pretty quiet when I go for dinner, but the time I went for lunch the joint was hopping.
These pictures are from Peking Palace. In the bottom picture you can see the mushrooms at 10 o'clock, the green beans at 11, with Chinese vegetables following @ 12, a dumpling at 2 o' clock General Tso's Chicken at 4 and 5, Chicken with black bean sauce at 7, and a fish fritter at 8 o'clock. The top picture is bf's plate, so I'm not as intimately acquainted with it, but it looks like the green beans, some fried rice, a bowl of hot sour soup and a spring roll (watching him eat his I had to get one too. They were good, a step above serviceable but far from transcendent).
I think I might be hungry now...