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Wah Ha Ha

 

The Pluses and Minuses of Wah Ha Ha

Wah Ha Ha + indicators :

Wah Ha Ha - indicators:

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Mr. Han's

 

The Pluses and Minuses of 101 Downtown

101 Downtown + indicators :

101 Downtown - indicators:

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Yummy House

Superior lunch includes secret ingredient

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

YUMMYHOUSUEsf2016 It was a good day for a lunch advneture I was thinking to myself looking forward to meeting GLOB Content Editor Lynn Dirk, Sweetberries Eatery and Frozen Custard owner  Jane Osmond and her hiusband Mark Olson.

Emblazoned on the Yummy House website's home page is a statement that defines my Yummy House experience: "Our Continued Focus on Quality"

 

YHdimsum1

From the time the friendly maitre'd seated us and until our leftovers were in a box, I was feeling like a very special customer. Starting with several dim sum carts circulating the dining area, from which customers may immediately select numerous appetizers to begin eating rather than waiting on food from the menu, this Asian restaurant has lunch figured out GLOBers.

Of course being Yummy House first timers, we didn't have that 'quick lunch' process figured out until after we ordered. But that's OK because the YH menu was an incredible cornucopia of choices including a YH 'secret ingredient' that contributes to making this lunch stop special.

 

YHdimsumTOPSHELF

Literally meaning "to touch your heart," dim sum consists of a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes, and other goodies. They are similar to hors d'oeuvres, the hot and cold delicacies served at French restaurants.  It was fun to watch Jane and Mark perusing the dim sum carts that circled our table and tryinb to decide what their Chinese hors d'oeuvre lunch would consist of.

 

YHfavoriteTOPPER

Lynn ordered a fried tofu appetizer (image at top) that included the Yummy House Signature Salt and Pepper Mix. This condiment has been named a 'Top Appetizer in Tampa Bay' and includes green onions, cilantro, roasted garlic, and minced chili. There are seven Salt and Pepper appetizers available, but i'm thinking that soice mix will go on anything I order in the future. I'm telling you, little Grasshopper, this mix of YUMMY-ness stole all the applause and made everything else taste just a little bet better and more delicious.  The tofu was crispy on th outside and actually fluffy on the inside as opposed to the usual curd-type texture.  But it was all to hold the spice mix, which Lynn discovered had a lot of tiny roasted pieces of garlic that she though was the real secret by giving a bit of crunchiness, and yes, according to one of the servers, the garlic is roasted by the restaurant.  At the same time, the freshness of the green onions and cilantro kept it light.  However you try to describe it, everyone at our table agreed it was magic.

 

YHfriedRICE

Lynn and I ordered variations of fried rice. I selected the BBQ Pork Fried Rice that included diced BBQ pork, egg, green onions and cilantro with jasmine rice for a reasonable $8. Lynn ordered the Vegetable Fried Rice with mixed seasoned vegetables, eggs, green onion and cilantro with jasmine rice. Lynn is picky about her rice and she was very pleased with the texture.  Also, the fried rice was not greasy. There is a Yummy Housae menu at the restaurant link at bottom.

 

YHdimsumCANISTERS

With these servings, even the dim sum, all being big enough to share, the Gainesvile Lunch Out Blog table as usual became a tasting universe as all four lunch outers shared our meals. We hungrily and happily feasted on pork and Shrimp Steamed Buns, BBQ Pork Puffs, and a very good, beautifully fried-to-perfection something or other -- maybe it was the Chinese Style Fried Cruller. whatever it was, it was the 2nd best thing.  When Lynn and I got the gumption to order a dim sum dish, we probably picked the least successful one -- baby short ribs that were too chewy.

 

YHpepperSPICE

The fried rice was very good with the added YH Salt and Pepper Mix. Dim sum was a fun adventure in Asian tastes, textures, and flavors. Next time I will print up the dim sum menu from the website and take it with me because there wasn't one provided at the restaurant -- then I will be more prepared to continue the adventure.

The Pluses and Minuses of Yummy House

Yummy House + indicators : YH Salt and Pepper Mix, Dim Sum selections.

Yummy House - indicators:  Lunch time is busy, parking is horrendous

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YHshrimp

Yummy House, XO Sauce true to billing

By: Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

Sometimes I am overcome with such cravings that regardless of the dinner I planned to cook for myself, I cannot shake off this desire. Recently, I had an overwhelming hankering for Chinese food that I knew my homemade stir fry would not satisfy. My roommate, Alyssa, seemed to coincidentally have the same craving. Either that or I am very persuasive when I get hangry — yes hangry — and I thought that it merited an occasion to try a new place, specifically a place that had great ratings that I have been wanting to try.

True to form, Yummy House, close to the corner of Tower Rd. and Newberry Rd., resembled many other Chinese food establishments upon first glance: small, very long menu, the works. However, the dining area was definitely a few steps up from your typical greasy Chinese take-out joint, and that was refreshing. Now to deciding what we wanted to eat...

 

YHdining

After weeks of hearing about shrimp cravings from Alyssa, ordering something involving shrimp was an absolute certainty. I couldn't help but glance at the appetizers and, lo and behold, there was a dish to satisfy her craving and lend to our love of spicy food: The Wasabi Shrimp, image at top of this feature. The cooked shrimp was sautéed in a surprisingly light wasabi sauce, which actually turned out to be the perfect amount of sweet and spicy, as anyone who has tried wasabi before knows that just a smidge too much can clear out your sinuses immediately.

 

YH1pepperAlyssa decided on the Spicy Hunan Beef, which was your typical Chinese fare of mixed vegetables and plenty of beef. It was evident, though, that the quality of the meat was very good, as there weren't any chewy or stringier pieces amidst the heaping amounts of sauce, protein and veggies. However, Alyssa and I both noticed that the "spicy" dish wasn't exactly spicy at all, and it was actually quite mild for such a title. While tasty and high quality, it was not exactly unique.

YHfriedRice"Our signature fried rice dishes are the best in town." Now that is a claim I've heard before: best of this and best of that. This was one claim that was made a reality for my dining experience. I do not steer toward the fried rice side of the Chinese menus typically, as I find that fried rice tends to be quite dry or fake tasting at many take-out Chinese establishments. However, the Seafood Fried Rice with Spicy XO sauce was too intriguing not to order. It turned out to be the best fried rice I have ever had, a flavor so captivating I kept finding myself battling my chopsticks for more.

YHxosauce"XO Sauce is one of the most expensive sauces in Hong Kong Cuisine" was another intriguing claim I could not ignore. Made with dried scallops, shrimp, ham and chili with five different spices, the XO Sauce was not as overpowering as I thought it might be. In fact, it gave the fried rice just a brush of spiciness that carried throughout the dish. Alyssa noted, and I agreed, that with each bite of the fried rice dish a new flavor popped, from the freshly cooked shrimp, scallops and calamari to the bite of the green onions and savory egg.

I also agreed with Alyssa that we could have just ordered the fried rice dish with the wasabi shrimp appetizer and been fully satisfied. Now we just have heaping amounts of leftovers, minus the Wasabi Shrimp which we finished immediately, which is not a bad thing unless Yummy House is only appetizing upon serving and not reheated. I shall find out tomorrow!

The Pluses and Minuses of Yummy House

Yummy House + indicators : Extensive menu, something for everyone, high quality food, not your typical fast Chinese dining, large portions

Yummy House - indicators: Can get a tad pricey (can probably share one meal with another person, though)

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China House

 

The Pluses and Minuses of the China House

China House + indicators :

China House - indicators:

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China Bowl

CB's large portions lack authenticity, flavor

ChinaBowl

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

On a recent trip to the residence of the GLOB Content Editor, Lynn Dirk, to look at a roof leak, I met up with Mike the GLOB Master at GLOB Central Offices to go over the farm report.

As usual, the subject of food came up. Mike suggested we do a 'lunch out' at the Asian restaurant on Millhopper Rd. called China Bowl.

I call it new because it said GRAND OPENING on the menu. Upon entering the Bowl, I noticed how clean the place was.

We went to the counter to place our order, and what was nice was the kitchen was open to full view.

You could see the large woks and the 'Wok Master' working the lunchtime meal. Lunch was in progress in this Asian Food On the Run location.

CBdiningWe looked over the menu, which was real pretty. The lunch specials had pictures and was easy to order from.

So we ordered our lunch.

I ordered the Shrimp Lo Mein -- I really love good Lo Mein. Mike ordered the China Bowl Daily Special of Bourbon Chicken, photo at top of this feature story.

The Bourbon Chicken was a lot of slices of white chicken breast flavored with a New Orleans bourbon sauce with vegetables served over a fluffy bed of white rice

Now it was on to our lunch table. Which was also very clean.

My first thought about China Bowl was, this must be an important carryout, Food On The Run kinda restaurant. Why you might ask. In the time we were in the Bowl, the front door was getting a good work out with walk in customers and carry out orders.

For the dining in customer, there was a little tray of sauces in little packs on all the tables. This would mean my fingers are going to get a workout opening these plastic containers. Personally I prefer bottled soy sauce over the individual packets when it comes to soy.

On to the food.

When our lunch arrived, it was in aluminum containers, not bowls.

My thought was, A bowl is a bowl. And an aluminum tin is for cooking turkeys in the oven.

CBlowmeinMy lunch looked just like the picture of Lo Mein on the menu. The three shrimp that were on top of the Lo Mein noodles were heaped on top of the yellow rice and looked very tasty.

Yellow rice! To my surprise there was more rice than noodles in my Lo Mein noodle entree.

The meal was good, however a little bland for me, and certainly not the kind of Lo Mein I'm used to.

My experience says Lo Mein noodles should have oyster sauce and sesame oil along with a little ginger and some hidden seasonings. I didn't taste these ingredients in my lunch entree.

This made me think that if people tried authentic Asian food, they wouldn't like this lunch too much.

The lunch was good, and my fingers had a great workout opening those little packets of soy sauce. I don't usually use soy on my food, but I did at China Bowl trying to add in some additional flavor.

While we were eating our lunch, the place came alive with customers coming in for take out orders.

That tells me something about the China Bowl food. A lot of people like this place. If food is bad, people don't come back for a second and third time to order more disappointing food.

The Pluses and Minuses of China Bowl:

China Bowl + indicators: Perfect Food On The Run location, large portions.

China Bowl - indicators:  CB lacks authenticty, flavors could be enhnaced.

Editors Note: Editors Note: Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer, AKA The House Doctor.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about China Bowl.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

 

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Sushi CHAO

Sashimi sends F. Bubba back to the islands

By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent

Editors Note:  Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer, AKA The House Doctor.

SushiCsfA new year and a new GLOB look!  As they say in Texas, 'Ain't that great'!  The GLOB Master and myself went to our first lunch of the year last week.

Our lunch stop is Sushi Chao, right in the middle of the Gator Nation in the University Plaza on University Avenue.   The owners of Bento Cafe have added a jewel of a restarant to their business portfolio. 

It's always fun to try a new sushi restaurant and see just how authentic it really is.  We arrived at the right time -- just after they opened at 11:30.  It must have been that classes were still in session so we didn't feel rushed. 

Mike broke out his camera and let them know who we were and we were there for a Sushi CHAO lunch.  We got the green light.  While Mike was making his pitch, I was checking out the food, starting with the raw fish.

Before I go on, let me just say, my living in Hawaii planted a good seed in me for what sushi and sashimi should taste like.  And there IS a difference between the two:  Sushi is raw slices of fish, mixed with rice, vegetables and wrapped in seaweed.  Sashimi is simply raw fish.  Having said that, it's on to describing our lunch feast.

SchaoBUFFETSushiCHAO is a fast casual cafeteria line style restaurant, and it’s really neat the way they have started the lunch selection line right inside the door.  First, you have the raw section, then the steamed or boiled section, and finally the fried section.  Each item wasn't floating in water or oil like in other buffet style lunch stops.  That's one thing I look for.  Taking care to be sure the lunch entrees don’t look like they have been ‘under the lights’ a long time and having a small amount of entrees available, tells me the food is cooked fresh.

I started with the steamed food. which was a mix of chicken, tofu, lo mein noodles and vegetable dishes. I'm not a big fan of fried or heavy battered foods.

 

SCHAObubbaLunch

On my plate was a variety of tasty treats. The beans had their own taste and were separated from the rest of the food. I always start my with Lo Mein noodles. Kind of a must for FarmerBubba. One vegetable dish had broccoli, snow peas, carrots and baby corn. The other was lightly breaded tofu, and topping my dish off was a type of Szechuan chicken. Each had its own taste. Which is a plus for me (I can’t say it enough!). As a matter of fact, I couldn't taste the oil the food was cooked in. Another big plus. To me, this is what separates Sushi CHAO from other places we've visited. When I finished ALL of that, I went back to the raw food section for more.

In other words, I went through the line twice.  I couldn't help it.  It all looked so good and the S. CHAO staffers preparing my lunch weren't from Texas – they really knew what they were doing.

 

SchaoRAWFISH

My raw selection was The Spicy Tuna-Salmon Don Sashimi Bowl -- photo at the top and to the right of this feature story.  A half tuna, half salmon bowl with avocado, celery, masago, roasted sesame seeds and topped with some very good wakabe salad and a dollop of powerful wasabi on a bed of white rice. And don't forget to include the soy sauce for your S. Bowl.

At SushiCHAO you are charged for your lunch by the ounce.  That was interesting.  Mike made a good point that, if he had known they give you a complimentary side order of rice at the cash register, he wouldn’t have asked for the fried rice from the line.  Rolls and bowls are priced separately.  There is a complete SushiCHAO menu available at the bottom of this feature story. 

The lunch was unreal.  Mike and I have been to several Asian lunch stops on behalf of fellow GLOBers, and  SushiCHAO is right at the top of GLOB list of places with good eating.

Here’s an Asian food tip I learned in Hawaii.  You should be able to taste each item on your plate without adding additional sauce, spice, or flavorings.  Another cooking point I learned was that each type of fish should have its own flavor.  That's why I try a bite of each vegetable and fish ‘naked,’ with nothing on it,  before I ‘dress’ the food.

And what about the rice?  In Asian food, the rice shouldn't be hard and dry or too wet.  It also has to have its own taste.  That’s another plus for SushiCHAO.

 

SushicdiningWe had our lunch outside in front of SC, which was a plus, and everything I ate was a big 10.  While enjoying our food, the sights of campus life were all around us.  This place is an obvious hit with UF students. 

Like I said, we arrived before class let out, but before we left S. CHAO had became packed.  

I'm proud to say the only thing I carried out in a cool, black to-go box was the rice. In my experience, The only eating that would top this was when I was on a fishing trip in Hawaii.  We caught a good size ahi tuna fish.  The deck hand cut it up, put it in a bowl, added some soy and handed out chop sticks, and then joined the captain and passengers in a sashimi lunch that was as fresh as you could ever get.

The mainland boys from up north, to put it lightly, were hanging over the side of the boat ‘chumming.’  Hey, that meant more sashimi for the rest of us.

SushiCHAO should be a must visit for anyone wanting to try good sushi.  The servers were nice and very helpful; they made GLOB Master Mike and myself feel welcome.   I will be going back for another Sashimi Bowl.

The Pluses and Minuses of Sushi CHAO:

Sushi CHAO + indicators: Authentic sashimi and sushi.

Sushi CHAO - indicators: None noted

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Volcanic Sushi and Saki

Friend, lunch stop makes for great lunch

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

VOLCANICsfI don't have high hopes for sushi or any seafood for that matter in Gainesville. We are not on the coast, and you really want to have the freshest seafood if you're about to eat it raw. Dragonfly Gainesville is a little overhyped, although they do have good cocktails, and Ichiban Sushi does have some memorable rolls, like the Aji San with baked salmon and banana, but it is a tad pricey. So there are a few good spots, but I am always on the hunt for better.

When my long-time friend, Dylan, said he wanted to visit on leave from the Navy, I knew, as a sushi lover, that he would want his fix. I took the opportunity to take him somewhere I had been meaning to dine at, as well: Volcanic Sushi + Sake, located in the smaller, more upscale space in Haile Plantation around some highly-esteemed food counterparts, like Patticakes. Walking up to Volcanic Sushi + Saki, the small shop could have been easily passed if I had not known what I was looking for.  I was pleased to see a decent number of tables outside the front area, as it was comfortable weather to enjoy Gainesville outdoors. A few tables inside the dimly lit interior were full as were some of the outdoor tables.

As soon as our server approached, it was friendly service through and through. In fact, two servers came out to check on us at any given time despite having a decent number of tables occupied on an early Saturday afternoon. The sushi roll menu was not extensive; it was mostly simple but satisfying ingredient combinations, and there were only a couple pages of everything else, such as appetizers, soups, curry, teriyaki, and noodle meals. The simple selection of rolls was OK with me, since I am the most indecisive person ever and wanted to try a variety on my first visit. There is a complete menu at the restaurnt link below.

SushuGREENgoriz

The first dish, the Kanisu Deluxe, an appetizer, sounded too fresh to pass up. A combination of thick chunks of krab, tuna, salmon, avocado, and masago were rolled together in a thin cucumber slice and separated into 6 pieces. I love trying rolls without rice, and this is one of the better I have had, the fish clearly quite fresh. I wish the sweet vinegar sauce had come on the side for dipping instead of being already on the plate under the sushi, as the sauce was just OK.

 

CpmboAs far as the sushi menu rolls, each was tasty and unique from the other. The first thing I noticed when they arrived, other than the timely food delivery, was the presentation. It was clear that the chef took as much effort in making the food visually appealing as it was enjoyable to eat. Dylan's face when he took his first bite of the Sweet Monster roll was self explanatory. These 12 smaller fried balls filled with cheese, krab, salmon, squid, and white fish packed a super flavorful punch, the cooked fish comprised of many textures set off by the crunch of the breading on the outside. The Haile Roll also occupied this plate of fried tastiness, and it was just as pleasing as the Sweet Monster in its own way. This roll was the crunchy roll, comprised of salmon, crab and asparagus then fried, with "special tuna" on top. Baked salmon is the complete opposite of its raw counterpart, and both happen to be great in a roll. There was also a crispy garnish of sorts shaped as a wheel perched on top of each of the six pieces that gave it a textural and aesthetic edge.

SushiHORIZ

The final roll, a traditional Rainbow Roll seen at many sushi establishments, was a welcome refreshing contrast from our fried rolls. Volcanic Sushi's rendition included a California roll with strips of tuna, salmon, avocado, and white fish alternating the 12 pieces. Once again, the quality of ingredients showed through, but it was a bit underwhelming compared with the other more inventive rolls we ordered. However, there is almost nothing that can't be cured with a little spicy mayo.

I've heard the cooked dishes at this restaurant are pretty good too, so I'm sure I will be back at lunch time for one of Volcanic Sushi's very reasonable lunch specials. It was not the best sushi I have ever had, but I was pleased considering what Gainesville has to offer. A'xin Mahzu Sushi and Sushi Matsuri are sushi joints closer to me and so more on my radar, but I will say that the friendly service and nice space overlooking the Haile Village Center were very pleasing.

The Pluses and Minuses of Volcanic Sushi + Sake:

Volcanic Sushi + Sake (+) indicators: Good quality, decent sushi, some unique rolls, good lunch specials, good value for rolls, friendly service, good indoor and outdoor seating.  Sushi roll prices varies from $9 and $12.

Volcanic Sushi + Sake (-) indicators: Not a ton of roll choices, OK renditions of some rolls, uptown may be out of the way for those central to the university.

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Happy Buddha

 

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Good Fortune

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Good Fortune.  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

The Pluses and Minuses of Las Americas Latin Cafe:

Good Fortune (+) indicators:

Good Fortune (-) indicators:

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Ocean Buffet

The OB is an Eating Professional's paradise

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

OBstoreFrontI walked into the Ocean Buffet Asian lunch stop on the corner of the Oaks Mall Plaza, and the first thing I saw was rows, and rows of lighted food trays. Lunch time customers were busy scurrying from the lines of food trays searching out their favorite ABE.  That's Asian Buffet Entrée for the non-eating professional.

You have to trust me, GLOBers. I was witnessing a lunch-time professional eating convention where the weak, or timid lunchouter could be trampled, kicked under the buffet line, and left for the afternoon clean up crew.

 

OBshrimpVerticalThe Ocean Buffet has EVERYTHING!: Appetizers, soup, low mein, chow mein, egg foo young, beef, chicken, vegetables, and even a line of American dishes like pot roast, baked ham, baked fish, roasted turkey, and non-stir fried vegetables.

Ocean Buffet also has a complete sushi and sashimi bar, a raw bar of oysters and an assortment of crab and crab claws.

Last but not least, there is a spectacular dessert bar!

Of course all of this is subject to change as the eating professionals (EPs) attack these islands of gluttonous, masticating delights.

 

OBriceThis isn't my first buffet foraging rodeo, so I had a strategy.  I casually strolled the isles searching out my favorites,  AND making sure sure I didn't miss any special yummy entrees gems that would pleasantly surprise my taste buds.

 

OBcroquetes

I quickly adopted the EP assumption that this lunch would be a two-trip visit to the food islands. My plan was to first select my favorite lunch time goodies, and then capture a second helping of my buffet world favorites.

 

OBbeef

My mother would have been proud of the OB choices I made on my first lunch plate creation (pic at top), which consisted of fried rice, a vegetable medley of broccoli, carrots, baby corn, peppers, and mushrooms. For proteins I selected some stir-fried pork, fried shrimp, and an interesting looking raw oyster. I added a dollop of some of the hottest Chinese mustard I have tasted in some time.

Stir-fried veggies done right have to be the crispiest, most colorful, crunchiest and flavorful way to please a homo sapiens palette. Mixed with the fried rice, the veggies won the GLOB Master best lunch entrée of the day award. The pork was just OK, with an unremarkable taste. Still, I ate all my pork. The fried shrimp were too heavily battered for my prawn pleasure. I think the oyster was of the smoked variety, albeit on the dry and chewy side of yummy. There is an image of my first lunch plate at the top of this feature.

I also picked out a spring roll for the same reason I always order a taco in Mexican cafés. When in Hong Kong . . . ? The roll was crunchy and provided a nice  scoop for the Chinese mustard. How hot was the mustard? Imagine one of those Looney Tune cartoons where the top of your head explodes.  Imagine your sinuses swelling and burning so bad you can't breathe. 

Then I went back for a second Ocean Buffet plate of gastronomic pleasure. It would be disrespectful not to try all the entrees or at least as many as possible, correct?

I did get some more fried rice and veggies the second time and they were very good. I also went American and tried the sliced pot roast and gravy. The pot roast was ok but a little chewy and on the dry side. (Just like that unusual looking oyster!!)

 

OBdessertsI skipped the dessert bar, however there were some baked goods that ALMOST pulled me into their web of sugar love.

The buffet lunch is nominally priced at $8. It is easy to see why this is such a popular lunch spot for serious Hogtown eaters.

I'm going back to Ocean Buffet -- but not any time soon.

The pluses and minuses of Ocean Buffet:

Ocean Buffet (+) indicators: A zillion lunch time choices; fresh, crisp veggies; and excellent fried rice.

Ocean Buffet (-) indicators: Crowded, lunch line-like attitude; I ate too much.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about the Ocean Buffet. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

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