Saturday, December 30, 2006

12/22 Jin Buffet Saugus.

2 of us went last night to check out Jin. 8pm on Friday night.

I will try to give an accurate report for those who have not been.If you have been to weylus you know the scene, this is a huge, fancy/glitzy chinese pagoda type palace up on a hill. Made you feel like you were in vegas or something. Pretty cool actually. How often do you go to a restaurant with its own escalator inside!?Friday night at 8, not too many people there, I guess they are earlier eaters mostly. There was the end of some companies holiday party and perhaps a few dozen others.

Buffet is layed out as follows. Going around the outside perimeter.Sushi station-we dont do sushi but i checked it out for my friends who do. Looked fresh with perhaps 10 different types of rolls. Seemed to be all/mostly roll type items.

Rawbar- little necks and oysters.

Grill area- they are setup right behind the buffet w/ the grill. Beef,chicken skewers. Tiny steaks,asst chops. We both tried the chicken skewers and thought they were eh... All dark meat and fatty.

Next to the grill area are several fish dishes, all looked pretty dried out.

DimSum area- Here there were about a dozen stacks of steamers. Items include shumai, chicken feet, tripe,tofuskin roll, several types of bao. I wanted hargau or anything shrimp but they were all out. We did get a steamer of yellow bean bau and they were rather tasty. Most the stuff was way over steamed and didnt look appealing.

General area- Next area had all your basic americanized chinese. Crab rangoon, spring roll, fried shrimp, chicken fingers, all your basic apps. Several noodle dishes, rices, etc.. All the fried items were lame. The spring roll i swear was empty. I had the panfried noodles which were just a cold greasy mass. DC thought the lomein was ok.

Soup station- aprox 6 soups including hot and sour, udon, shark fin, wonton, etc.. DC had a bowl of hot and sour, took one bite and left the rest. Said it was cold and blah.

Carving station- Here a woman sits and carves peking duck and prime rib. The peking duck was decent, she carved one up right as we arrived. They had the pancakes, and scallions, etc.. The prime rib was pretty much gone. 2 leathery slices sat there untouched the whole time we were there.

Then in the center they have one buffet table with in my opinion the best stuff. Ginger scallion lobster had to be timed right. 1st time i got 2 dried up claws that were nasty. 2nd trip up, a little better still pretty lame. 3rd trip up, i scored a fresh batch and filled a plate with tail pieces, claws, etc.. This made the entire night worth it as it was very good. Even with only a few dozen people there was quite a bit of competition as everyone/like me was waiting to get some of this. Also on that bar several shrimp dishes with large shrimp, sea scallops, abalone, frogs legs, fish, crab legs, about a dozen decent dishes total.

Cold station - there is a buffet with various cold chinese delicacies on one side. Things like beef tendon, octopus salad, peel and eat shrimp, etc.. On the other side asst puddings, jellos, tapioca, glass jelly. Also a section with typical salad type stuff.

Desserts- there is a 2 door sliding cooler with asst fresh fruit, a long 2 tier section with asst cookies, bean paste buns/pastries, various things you would find in a chinese bakery. There is also a smaller cart with asst pastries with bean or pork fillings. There is a lame icecream station with only 4 flavors. Choc/vanilla/strawberry/orange sherbert.

Price was $25/per person. I felt it could have been really good but we went too late and most everything except the most popular dishes was dried out, greasy and bad. The saving grace for me was the one good batch of lobster that i got. For my GF, it was a waste as she probally ate about $5 of food and didnt really enjoy it at that. The buffet seems really big at first but soon you realize its alot in the way its spread out and the amount of open spaces. For instance for the rawbar of oysters/clams they take perhaps a 15ft section of ice/buffet. For the seafood lovers i think its a good deal if you time it right. If your not into seafood probally not that good for you. By comparision i regularly go to Hudson Super Buffet. It is 1/2 the price and has just as many if not more items with the exception of the lobster. Also at HSB the dishes are hotter and fresher. I would go again, but earlier with a group of my guy friends who are seafood lovers. In all fairness, 8pm on friday night was past their prime and too late to go