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AAA Buffet First in Phone Book, Secondary Quality

New Chinese all-you-can-eat restaurant has spacious interior, good customer service but lacks in tasty varieties.

The new in Lakewood is the perfect meal ticket if quantity is what you're looking. But don't expect a quality food experience at this all-you-can-eat Chinese establishment.

Rarely does a buffet impress me. It's been years since I revisited the , a classic to Lakewood residents.

But I'm an Asian food lover so away I went.

They claim to have more than 150 items to choose from. I wanted more to select from, but I ran into a dead end.

U-turn.

I sampled the chicken, beef, noodles and a few other foods but Nothing stood out. I started wondering if the best thing going for this place is their top listing in a phone book, an archaic resource tool I'll probably never use again.

Sure my belly was happy. That's usually the case after a run-in with a buffet. I wasted no time finding a plate and loading up a plate of food.

Then another plate.

Visiting AAA Buffet reminded me that people eat food for two main reasons; because you're hungry and because you want to taste great food. You feel obligated to load up because a to-go box is out of the question.

There were a few positives, however.

The place was clean. You will enjoy the large space and pleasant customer service. A nice gentleman coasted over from his post and picked up my plate.

The layout is organized. Soft Chinese music played as I meandered looking for other food to eat. I ran into the sushi bar and hibachi grill.

AAA Buffet has a couple added features others don't. They have a fairly extensive menu for ordering a regular lunch or dinner plate as an alternative.

If poking around the buffet isn't your thing, freshen it up with some meat and vegetables hot off the grill. You can order Mongolian beef or sweet and sour chicken ($7.95).

Just don't expect the knife-flying, flame-blazing experience that a Sakura or Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse offers. You're not getting authentic Chinese food because, well, it's a buffet and the cook wasn't Chinese.

I'll be back, because I'll always have a spot for Chinese food. But don't expect quality here. It was decent, and that's where I draw the line.

Name: AAA Buffet

Telephone: 253-983-8833

Location: 10310 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood WA 98499

Hours: Monday through Thursday (10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.) Friday - Saturday (10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Walter Neary October 14, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Had a much more positive experience than you did when my wife and I stopped by last night. AAA is certainly a step up from the previous Chinese buffet in Lakewood in the old pizza place. There's a huge selection, and compared to other buffets I thought they had a more extensive collection of seafood and sushi. The selection of stuff that you can pile on a plate and watch a cook prepare in front of you is pretty broad. That was a serious deep dish of garlic to work from :) Also, not to quibble, but I'm not sure someone has to be Chinese in order to prepare "authentic Chinese food." Surely someone who grew up in China who is not of Chinese heritage could prepare authentic Chinese food, and perhaps someone who had lessons from a great cook could prepare authentic Chinese food.
Marques Hunter October 14, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Walter - you're definitely right it's better than the previous Chinese buffet in town.
Jennifer Chancellor October 14, 2011 at 07:18 PM
I am picky about buffets, but I LOVE the Super Buffet in Dupont. It has everything you could want in a Chinese buffet, along with sushi, desserts, fresh fruit ... It's fabulous.

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