Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hawaii Restaurants~Palace Buffet

For our last meal in Hawaii before going up to Illinois, Lauren and I went to lunch at Palace Buffet, a Yakiniku restaurant in Mililani. It was $12.95/person for lunch, which was quite reasonable for the amount of food they had.

Someone told us that this restaurant was Michelle Wie's favorite. That's actually why we ended up going to it. I think that they were slightly misinformed. I'd venture to say that Ms. Wie has probably never been to this restaurant. There was an article in the Midweek about Palace Buffet, and it mentions that Michelle was a fan of the owner (who also owns another restaurant). But it doesn't say that she liked this restaurant. Also, if I was making 19 million a year , I'd probably eat at some place better.
The hot food line (shown above) was just okay. The fried shrimp was soggy, oily, and its consistency suggested it may have been fried the day before, and steamed in the morning to heat it up. That is saying a lot, because I really like shrimp. Actually, a lot of the fried items were soggy, which was disappointing because I thought they would have been excellent if they were freshly cooked. I'm giving Palace Buffet the benefit of the doubt here and saying that it was just a bad batch of fried stuff. We did get there just as it was opening, so I'm sure that as they made more food throughout the day it'd be fresher and better. The meat jun was good though. Since I'm in the complaining mood, I'll complain a little more and get it out of my system before I move on. Complaint #2, there was a fly in our food (shown above). It was dead and a little bit smashed. Okay, so you're probably thinking "Isn't it a buffet? Don't you take your own food? Why would you take food with a fly on it?" My opinion is that there should not be food out with flies on it on a buffet line. And, we took several pieces of lettuce together, with the fly smashed between them. Kind of like an Atkins fly-sandwich.

Last complaint. The ice cream machine was broken. It was like condensed milk with honey added frozen to a sticky, melty-gooey slush. Okay, complaints are done.

On to the good stuff. The yakiniku meats (kalbi, bbq beef, and chicken) were excellent! If I go back to this place, that is all I am going to eat. Some people think it's silly to pay to cook your own food, but I really enjoy eating great stuff when it's hot and juicy, right off the grill! Plus, what you're really paying them for is to clean up after you :).
The panchan was also really good. Kimchee tasted great!
This is some of the other food that we had. There were more than 2 people in our party. Lauren and I can't eat that much! Lauren's plate is shown below.
Keep in mind that despite the fly incident, I did enjoy my experience at Palace Buffet, and would in fact recommend it. I can hear the detractors now saying "oh my gosh, he would recommend a restaurant that serves flies." But let's be honest here people. Most restaurants are going to have bugs get into their food sometimes. The key is to know which restaurants it accidentally happens in, and which ones it regularly happens in. In my opinion, Palace Buffet falls into the "accidental" category, or I wouldn't recommend it. To have a good experience, you just have to stick mainly to the meats. That way you don't have soggy fried stuff, and if there is a fly in your food, at least it'll end up being a cooked fly!

How much would I pay?

Mike: $8-for my experience that day. $17-no flies guaranteed.
Lauren: $10, because I'm a small eater and do not really eat meat.

Palace Buffet
94-780 Meheula Parkway
Mililani, HI, 96789
(808) 623-3000


Nate-n-Annie said...

There are very few buffets that impress me nowadays. For me, it's not the size of the menu as much as it is the quality of the food that matters. And at most buffets, they emphasize quantity over quality.

I like the buffet at the Plumeria Beach Cafe in The Kahala (formerly Mandarin). Annie and I used to go there for special occasions.

chou said...

Good distinction between bug incidents.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Nate-n-Annie, thanks for the recommendation, sounds good! Lauren and I will have to check out the Plumeria Beach Cafe sometime. I agree that the quality of a buffet is important. There's no sense in having a lot of options if you don't enjoy eating any of them. I do think though that part of what I expect from a buffet is quantity and variety with a small (hopefully not too large) drop in quality. Sometimes it is fun to have a lot of food :). But if I was only concerened about quality, I'd order ala carte everytime.

Mike said...

Thanks Chou! If we ever have bugs in our food again, we'll be sure to classify the restaurants :).

Mike said...

Chou, I like your picture, what kind of pizza is that? It looks tasty.