Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mizuki Buffet - a much too "sweet" and "pungent" Seattle adventure

I know.
I know.

But I am not a foodie with really refined taste buds and I must admit that I do enjoy occasional splurge on mediocre quality food at large variety!
(come on, regardless who you are, you must have craved for McD fries or delivery pizzas for at least once at some point of your life... something "junkie"...;) you know I am right!)

My brain, in response to my recent dieting (btw, reached my goal of 100lb!!!) urged me to get a fatty buffet fix to award myself for reaching my ideal weight.
Since Jordan and I have planned my last states trip before I head to UK for schooling - I thought I'd take this opportunity and find myself a vegas style buffet in the states with unlimited seafood!
My all time favourite Eagle's buffet at Tulalip Casino has gone down the hill tremendously (and no seafood on Friday night) so I had to search for a new place and that's when I came across Mizuki Japanese buffet.

Located in a deserted strip mall near the Sea-tac airport; Mizuki is surely a neighbourhood's fav because 1) it is one of the few surviving business in that strip-mall (most of the places are empty and out for lease) and 2) the place started to fill up quickly at 5:00pm Friday night.

The restaurant is quite large with a huge dining hall.
The bathroom is also fairly clean (at around 5-6pm; not sure how it will be after...)

Jordan and I started our meals with some salads/veggies.
The field greens were of good quality as I didn't find any wilted or rotten leaves in my salad.  There was also a caesar salad, a coleslaw, a beet and onion salad; as well as some cucumber and tomato salad.  Condiments were placed right next to the salads which consisted of Italian, French, Caesar, Ranch... etc.
Over all, I find the salads to be decent quality and I enjoyed the sprouts tremendously (love sesame sprouts!!) 

I ventured into the Chinese food and sushi/sashimi section after I finished my salad.
Here is a list of things I remember from the buffet table (this is for references only as it seems that the buffet table changes quite often)I will add in my comments with bold so you can do a quick read.

From the inner most station (the one directly across from the main entrance): 

Fried items, chicken teriyaki, crab cakes, grilled sausages, roast beef, grilled pork ribs:

Tried the crab cake and ribs here.  The ribs were pretty decent.
The rest of the items there looked dry and a tad gross so didn't bother trying anything else.
Crab cake was passable.

Next station (after the see-through grilling kitchen:
Veggie spring rolls, pot-stickers, deep fried frog legs, fried wonton wrapper with cottage cheese filling, imitation crab meat au gratin, steamed mussels, and pizzas

The spring rolls were good - crispy and light.  The pot-stickers had good tasting pork and cabbage filling but the skin was so dry that I couldn't chew through.  Deep fried frog legs were cooked really dry too; though the salt and pepper coating is still crispy. 
Steamed mussels - the exposed edges of mussel flesh were completely dried up; it was hard.

3 soups:
Hot and sour, miso soup, and cream of broccoli soup and steamed rice

Tried the hot and sour soup. It was your standard Knorr soup package.

More fried items!
 French fries, chicken wings,  some other fried items I cannot recall...(yam?), deep fried salmon bits, stir-fried green beans, fried dough (no idea what it was... could've been sweet?)

I did not try anything from this station... The entire table seemed really unappealing..

Chinese food station:
Chicken and broccoli stir-fry; fried rice; general tao's chicken (???? sweet and sour pork?); hibachi beef (more like beef cubes stir-fried with mushrooms); some sort of fish, stir-fried rice noodles; seafood stir-fry; clams in black-bean sauce, shrimp in Chinese wine sauce, steamed Lobster, Snow crab legs (cold), mussels on half shell, kelp salads, beet salad, various potato and cole slaw (unhealthy) salads.

Steamed lobster was quite disgusting - first of all, there was a lot of the body pieces which not only have minimal amount of flesh in them but also difficult to extract. The few tail pieces I found tasted really mushy and had foul smell to them perhaps due to the fact (and I truly hope this is the reason; not that because the lobsters are bad....) that they didn't bother devein the lobsters.
Snow crab legs had some funky smell to them too.  Though the legs were nice and large, the flesh for some reason were stuck to the shells that made it really difficult to eat.
Shrimps in Chinese wine sauce were also quite mushy and they were also difficult to eat because of the hard to peal shell (I am beginning to think it is their strategy.... haha)
Clams in black-bean sauce was good - at least the flesh wasn't stuck to the shell!  It wasn't gritty (phew) and the clams were fairly large. The sauce was a tad towards the sweeter side.
Mussels on half shell was laughable - defrosted previously frozen mussels (I doubted its safety...)

I only picked broccoli from the chicken broccoli stir-fry and I liked it.  I love over cooked broccolis for some reason so, if you are not a fan, you will probably hate it.
Hibachi beef was cloyingly sweet.  Though the beef chunks were nice and tender and mushrooms were surprisingly NOT over cooked (hooray!) but the sauce was much too sweet.  It tasted like sugar coated beef chunks.. This is where we began our "sweet adventure"..
General Tao's chicken was horrendous - I can almost swear that it was sweet and sour pork; wait, substitute pork with dried freezer tasting things; and there you have it.  This deep fried thing in this ultimately sweet sauce.
The kelp salad had a foul smell to them too (kind of like, mop after it has been wet and sitting there for too long)
Seafood stir-fry was Okay.  It was quite sweet too.

Japanese food station: located right to the left hand side of the restaurant!

Oysters on half shell; and scallop sashimi on half shell
Various rolls including BC roll with salmon or crunchy tempura left over on top.  Various sushi/sashimis i.e. scallop sashimi, salmon, tuna, tuna tataki, squid, octopus, snapper,sweet shrimp.. etc etc...)

Oysters on half shell was definitely disgusting.  Please do not try them.  And I am afraid that they might kill you (I don't know what possessed me to actually try it...) Thank you mother for an iron-like digestive tract that I am still alive to write this blog.
Scallops on half shell was mushy and tasted like nothing. (previously frozen - honestly those cannot be used to make sashimi...)
The salmon and tuna sashimi were too fatty and too dry, respectively.  The only palatable sashimi there were amaebi (sweet shrimp) and squid.  There was also a larger scallop sashimi that still tasted mushy and quite disgusting. (no sweetness that you'd expect from a scallop sashimi)
For some reason they like to drizzle this really sweet sauce (no idea what it is...) onto all of their sashimi items that made them quite unpleasant.
Seaweed salad was really sweet. (REALLY sweet)so were the other japanese inspired salads.
Various rolls were actually Okay (rice doneness aside) - some rolls were actually quite enjoyable.

I did not bother trying any desserts because they had minimal selection and baked goods and they had tab ice-creams for self-serve.

Over all, I did not enjoy my experience here at all.  I guess for $24pp, I was expecting way more considering mandarin Buffet at Redmond is only $15 and serves up way better quality buffet food.  I am just glad that I didn't get sick from this experience because it seems that they will definitely fail the health inspection on handling of many of their food items.

It is understandable that their targeting the locals and I do like Americanized Asian food but their version is simply way too sweet even for someone with high sugar tolerance like me. 

Food - 1.5/5 - I am really sorry, it was just bad; +0.5 for the effort of offering lobsters and snow crabs for buffet in a local joint 
Service - 3.5/5 - our server was tentative and did what she was supposed to do; quick and efficient
Ambiance - 3.5/5 - the restaurant at least appeared really clean with a really clean bathroom (very rare for an asian restaurant)

Mizuki Buffet on Urbanspoon

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