08 April, 2011

On Golden Corral

You've probably heard of, or been to, Golden Corral.  It's a chain of inexpensive all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants that are short on frills but offer fairly decent food.  We visit only occasionally because like many restaurants of their kind, they are loud, crowded, and teeming with kids, and to be honest, with Lynnafred now in her early 20s we've more or less outgrown the genre.

And yet...

While they do have their shortcomings, Golden Corral does do a bunch of things very well - better even than some more expensive places.
  • Their spare ribs are very good - big, meaty St. Louis-style ribs, tender and crispy from the grill, with just the right amount of tasty barbecue sauce.
  • Top sirloin steak is always on the menu, and while that isn't  at the level of porterhouse or NY strip, it's decent quality and they cut it an inch or so thick. The guys at the grill station are friendly and pleasant, and will cook your steak exactly to order.  You want the living hell cooked out of it?  No problem. You want it barely seared, red and bloody inside? No problem there, either.
  • Golden Corral's yeast bread rolls are heavenly - soft and pillowy and always warm from the oven. You have no idea how hard it is for me - keeping an eye on the carbs - to resist eating a plate of those delicious bastards.
  • When their fried chicken is good, it's awesome. Sometimes they cook it a little too long, though, and it gets a little dried out, especially the wings.
  • Their panko fried shrimp are fantastic.
  • The black pepper flounder (fish fillets breaded in a heavily-black pepper-seasoned crumb coating) is totally aces.
  • The servers - who lift empty plates from the tables and offer free drink refills as they flit from table to table - are always friendly and kind despite being subjected to some really rude, demanding, and douchey customers. 
  • Their baked desserts are excellent, and as far as I know, they're all made in-house. Try their brownies, they're like fudgy squares of heaven.
What are the not-so-good things?  Well, there's the crowds of rude, demanding and douchey customers for one thing.  The food stations sometimes get longish lines.  And there always seem to be kids running around underfoot.

The Seafood Newburg.
Oh, yeah...and don't get the seafood newburg. It wasn't spoiled or anything...it was just nasty.


Anonymous said...

So when the Golden Corral commercial says, "If you had seafood Newberg, you'd be my hero!", would the heroism be in them not slopping it onto their customers at all!? Honestly, before I saw the commercial I'd never heard of Newberg before?? But I figured it was bad when you have to actually put 'seafood' in the name!?! That pic above looks like baby vomit!! Thanks for the heads up...

Nikki said...

Where is there a Golden Corral in CT? I checked their website and it shows none in the state. It sounds pretty good-that, and I super miss Ponderosa.

Anonymous said...

^ Hey Nikki, try Springfield, Mass.

Dave said...

I live in Enfield CT; the Golden Corral we go to is the one off Rt 20 in Springfield MA near the Eastfield Mall.

Dave said...

The Golden Corral in Springfield, IL has fewer chirrun than doddering oldsters there for the Senior Citizen pricing. If you go between 2 pm and 4 pm during the week you can get the "Early Bird Special" which includes your drink for a really good deal. Plus if you're there at 4 o'clock you can enjoy the dinner offerings - including steak for the El Cheapo price.

And the breakfast buffet on the weekends is not to be missed. Damned near any breakfast buffet offering you can think of - plus cooked to order eggs, omelets and waffles. PLUS the full dessert bar.

Fropa Jones said...

Thanks for the info! I will definitely try it next time I'm up toward Mass. I don't get up there all that much-I'm in Danbury.

Unknown said...

Tried the Seafood Newburg yesterday in Charlotte, NC. I loved it & went up for seconds.

gretchen said...

Seafood Newburg in Midwest City Oklahoma was delicious. Maybe you just didn't have the taste buds for the Newburg sauce at your place???