What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a buffet? For me, it is a copious amount of people, trays of food half served and waiting in lines to eat in hopes that the dish you noticed when you first came in will still have food left. As you can probably tell from my viewpoint, I am not the world’s biggest fan of buffets by a long shot. With all of this being said, I would like to offer a review of a recent visit to a buffet that somewhat changed my long held views.
Recently, I had the opportunity to a visit a restaurant quite a bit out of the way of my normal route. This particular place is located in Litchfield, Illinois and it is a quaint buffet style restaurant that goes by the name of Chinatown. Given the generic name and the somewhat benign exterior of this place, I’d be lying if I said I was excited upon first glance. The group I was with however, seemed more than happy to be stopping, and the children that were a part of my group seemed overjoyed at the idea of going to a new place that they had never before entered.
When we made it into the restaurant, we found ourselves inside of a nice foyer type area that had lovely etched windows and quite a few decorations that we’ve come to expect when visiting a Chinese restaurant. Decorations aside, it did not take us long to be greeted by a very gracious host, who quickly had us seated and had taken all of our drink orders. We were surprised by how nicely and efficient everything had been handled and even more so to find that the restaurant itself was not packed. It was not empty by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t packed either. Along with two other groups, we had a rather large dining area to ourselves and that was a welcome respite from what I myself had expected.
The host came back a short time later and informed us that we had chosen a good time to visit for lunch, and that we were more than welcome to visit the buffet area whenever we were ready, and that if we had any questions he would be a short distance away and more than happy to help. We nodded our thank yous, and began to make our way to the main area. My first thought was that everything was quite nicely “stocked” for lack of a better word, and that the plates and silverware themselves were very clean which did help to ease the apprehension that I have typically come to associate with most of my trips to this type of a restaurant.
With a few items chosen to try, I found myself heading back to the table, only to notice a sushi bar in the corner. When I went by to see what the selection was, I found a sushi chef a bit farther back behind the display stirring wasabi and finishing a new round of sushi that appeared to be quite fresh. As a side note, I would like to point out that the idea of eating sushi at a buffet style restaurant does not appeal to me, as I assume most of the sushi has probably been out for a bit as it is not usually the first thing to be sampled, and most restaurants find themselves keeping other areas that are more often used, stocked well for the patrons. Because I had noticed the chef, I decided to be a bit more daring than usual and give it a try.
I was more than happy that I had decided to give the sushi a try. It was quite chilled, and every piece that I sampled was extremely fresh. The other food I had decided upon from the buffet was also very fresh and quite warm. The group that had the original idea of trying the restaurant seemed quite content with the selection and quality, and thanks to the lovely ambiance, we found ourselves having quite a nice lunch, much to my surprise. Towards the end of the meal, the head hostess came by the table to inquire about our lunch and to thank us for choosing their restaurant as our lunch destination. We found this to be a welcome surprise, and after she left we reviewed our bill. We had decided on separate bills before entering and upon review, I found myself shocked at the low prices. Even with the size of our group, nothing we had purchased exceeded 10 dollars, and I found myself pleasantly surprised all the way around.
While I was settling my own tab, I found myself listening to the cashier as she offered a brief history of the location. It was nice to have a bit of background on the location and she even offered me a card as she was welcoming our group back anytime. It was a very nice end to a surprisingly lovely lunch, and I myself would recommend this location to anyone looking for a nice lunch that is not only budget friendly, but also extremely welcoming. I myself would give this particular lunch venue a 5 out of 5 stars for food quality, cleanliness and hospitality. I am very glad I overcame my “hesitation” of buffet style restaurants and I forsee another trip in the very near future.
Author: Jessica Kirk-Gregory