East Buffet Proves Big Money Items Are the Way to Go

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NYC Food Guy’s not a buffet man, never has been, never will, unless Peter Luger’s decides to go middle America on us. If I am going to hit the buffet though, you better believe I’m going to East Buffet in Huntington Station, Long Island, where $35 (after tax and a 12% service charge) allows you to eat your weight in sushi, shrimp cocktail, steamed crab legs, and Peking duck.

But that’s just the beginning. With three massive buffet stations, a sushi bar, a wall of Korean BBQ, a raw seafood bar, and a wall of desserts, it can be overwhelming figuring out a plan of action. Enter King of Ketchup who’s eaten at East at least 15 times and has the buffet strategy down to a science.

King of Ketchup’s strategy, like Zach’s at Midtown Lunch, is all about beating the all you can eat. A lot of it is a result of trying everything East Buffet has to offer and deciding what’s best but…

Four simple concepts are essential for success at every Asian buffet.

  1. Don’t eat the salad
  2. Don’t order a drink
  3. Don’t eat the American Food
  4. Don’t eat the bread

East Buffet Plate #1 – Seafood

Shrimp cocktail, steamed crab legs with melted butter for dipping, and a few barbecued prawns make a great appetizer.

De-shelling all this seafood makes every bite more satisfying and makes you even hungrier for plate two. If you’re really famished, I’d go 2 rounds on this plate before making a move to plate 2.

You can see the self-serve presentation of the shrimp and the crab legs. If supplies are running low, mention it to the staff and it’s usually quickly replenished. My only issue with the shrimp is that they’re not deveined, more work for us. The cocktail sauce is very mild unless but you can add some of extra horseradish from the buffet, as you can see in the photo at left.

The crab legs take some work to actually enjoy, but once you get through the shells with the crackers on the tables, you’ll find juicy, hot crab meat just begging to be dipped into some butter sauce. The best time to grab these is when they bring them out fresh, so keep an eye out. Monday is the worst day to eat any seafood, most of it is leftovers from the weekend, so avoid East on Mondays because seafood plays a big role in beating the buffet.

East Buffet Plate #2 – Sushi

From left to right: California roll, Shrimp Tempura roll, boiled shrimp Nigiri.

I’m not a big raw fish guy as you can tell from the plate above, but you can see from the sushi bar at left that the selection is wide-ranging. King of Ketchup, a true sushi eater, raves about the quality of the raw choices and considers this aspect of the buffet to be one of the strongest. Everything I ate was well made and tasted very fresh. I liked the California roll better than the shrimp tempura, the latter of which was a heavy on the batter and avacado but thin on the shrimp.

East Buffet Plate #3 – Entrees

Clockwise from bottom left: Orange Beef, sliced Peking duck with Hoison sauce over a bed of sliced scallion and cucumber, sliced rack of lamb, sliced pork, barbecued prawns, Korean-barbecued shrimp on a skewer.

The duck and the prawns were the stars of this show, followed by the orange beef in order of deliciousness. The prawns, once you de-shell them, are succulent and crisp and the sauce has a nice tang to it. The orange beef was deep-fried and sweet. It was crisp on the outside but slightly dry on the inside, tasty, but in the end not worth the stomach space. No orange flavor was detectable, which I prefer. Don’t be tricked by gummy General Tso’s and lightly sauced chicken and broccoli at this station. Grab a couple of Crab Legs at the far end of the steam table, snag a few barbecued prawns, and move on.

And speaking of moving on, quickly breeze past the generic Chinese food steam table. This is where I found the dry and bland sliced pork. Sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, egg rolls, greasy, cold mozzarella sticks, fries, and onion rings, and really poor attempts at Italian food (e.g. chicken parm) also stand as obstacles in your quest to beat the buffet. Avoid this area at all costs.

The skewered shrimp was tasty but unimpressive. It’s just one of the many offerings on the ledge of Korean barbecue. Everything here is great in concept but low in quality. Despite the allure of charbroiled meat, fatty and dry are the two most applicable adjectives.

I saved the duck (below) and sliced lamb for last because they’re served together at adjoining slicing tables. Sadly, the duck skin was dry and slightly tough, but the meat beneath was moist and decadent. They offer steamed buns (in steamer basket) for you to make little duck sandwiches with, but bread is against the beat the buffet rules. Instead snag some sliced cucumber and scallion, dollop on some Hoison and enjoy it all together. It’s messy but delicious. The lamb on the other hand is an item you can pass on. It’s dry and not very flavorful. One disappointing note about this slicing area, the absence of bone-in prime rib, a delicious item which unfortunately East Buffet no longer offers.

East Buffet Grand Finale – Dessert

Now there are some who will get to this part of the post and say, but wait, I thought you were trying to beat the buffet? Why eat dessert? Well, in all honesty, King of Ketchup’s plan of action involves constructing a soft serve ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup and whipped cream and walls made of thin and crisp coconut cookies. While at East I follow the King’s lead, which is spot on. This sundae is definitely the best possible creation amidst a mass of mediocre cookies and cake. The ice cream is self serve and you can find the cookies further down the dessert wall. The whipped cream is at the end of the salad station buried in ice. You can pass on the chocolate covered pirouette cookies, they’re very generic and don’t add anything to the sundae.

There you have it. A fool proof step-by-step plan for making the most out of East Buffet’s myriad of culinary possibilities.

Let’s review the DOs and DON’Ts:

Do

Go for big money items (duck, sushi, shrimp cocktail, crab legs)

Do Not

Eat salad, bread, drink beer or soda, eat American food, generic Chinese food, or go on a Monday

————–

East Buffet

179 Walt Whitman Rd. (Rte. 110 N.)
Huntington Station, NY 11746
(631) 385-0800
Link to prices page
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34 Responses to “East Buffet Proves Big Money Items Are the Way to Go”

  1. Doctor Dyspepsia Says:

    Outstanding contribution, my man! Been to East a several times, and certify your review as comprehensive, accurate, beautifully illustrated, and replete with strategies to optimize the patron’s omnivorous experience. Properly planned and executed, an evening at East allows one to gorge on high-quality and varied food in a decent atmosphere, and all at a very reasonable price.

    East used to be my twice-a-year extravaganza. I agree with your criticism of the new omission of the prime rib bones- big mistake in my usual group of patrons, who particularly looked forward to that. Those bones, along with the unlimited Peking duck and suckling pig, were always the foci of my assault. Love that fat! Inquiry to the management revealed a business decision to stick with the boneless cut. Bad move. Yes, the beef is properly cooked, sliced to order, but for many of us, the bone’s the best part. (Please, guys, spare us all the inevitable puerile homophobic commentary. Too easy when someone says “bone”.) Absence of this highlight tempers my former unqualified enthusiasm for East, and I hope the management hears this complaint from others and corrects their error.

    Anyway, my compliments on a great review. Surely destined for the “Best of NYCFG” anthology.

    Doc

  2. Ulla Says:

    I went to the all you can eat sushi place in NYC the other day.
    I was under impressed. My sister says that Sushi park on LI is a great deal and has great sushi. I will have to tell her about this place too.

  3. Celestialnyc Says:

    NYC Foodguy-
    Oh pelase. We all know you didn’t just go up only 4 times. So wheres the pictures between plate 1 and plate 3? 😛

  4. Stuck_in_NYC Says:

    Wow, don’t know how you can recommend a place that doesn’t devein the shrimp for you. $35 is a lot of money for a buffet, even if you get sushi and crab legs. I’d rather eat at Old Country Buffett in Levittown for $10.

  5. third person Says:

    if you’re gonna be a total douche and refer to yourself in the third person, at least get your verb tenses right in the first sentence…

  6. medical question for doc Says:

    doc, wtf are u doing up at 4 am?

  7. Doctor Dyspepsia Says:

    Not your business.

  8. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Doctor,

    Thanks. Sorry for your loss in the prime rib department.

    Ulla,

    If you’re going to straight sushi, this place is great, but it won’t floor you.

    Celestial,

    For once in my life, I actually just ate until I was normally full. Crazy I know.

    Stuck in NYC,

    Yea I hear ya on that. Once you scrape out the little veins and start chowing down you forget the injustice.

    Third person,

    Thanks for the heads up. I wrote this review late last night and I thought it sounded a little off.

  9. Veiny Says:

    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  10. Tater-Tot-Tara Says:

    do they have tater tots at this east buffet place?

  11. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Tater Tots,

    No tater tots at East Buffet. Sorry Tara.

  12. sushi samba Says:

    any good? what are you top sushi spots nycfoodguy?

  13. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    sushi samba,

    ive heard nothing but bad things about sushi samba… too crowded, too sceney, too loud, sushi’s not that good… only people Ive heard good things from are women, so if that’s you, you may enjoy it for the expensive pink drinks and the crowded young scene…

    other than that, I’m not a huge sushi guy, more of a woman’s accesory to sushi. I’ve heard good things about a place called Hane Sushi on 1st Ave and 20th and also a place called Japonica near union square, both places have been recommended to me for great value and big rolls…

  14. east = incredible Says:

    east buffet is thefucking SHIZNITE

  15. Krista Says:

    Dude, I went to high school in Huntington. Why am I only hearing about this place now??? Looks fantastic. Will have to see if I can give it a try next time I’m back in NY, visiting the fam.

  16. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Krista,

    If you’re a buffet fan this is the place for you. I’m not huge into it but as you can see from the review, East is seriously delicious. I strongly recommend you stick to only the high-cost items, however, nothing you can get at a chinese take out place is worth eating except the barbecue prawns and maybe the orange beef if it looks fresh.

    Are you living in London now? What are some other spots in Long Island that you do know about and swear by?

  17. The Frugal Gourmet Says:

    East has a few locations! Yes people I know of at least 3. There is the original one in Flushing, one off Queens Blvd. and the one on the island. I’ve been the one in Huntington and the one in Flushing.

    Did you know that the do dim sum too for breakfast and lunch? Dude the dim sum is awesome! Get someone Chinese speaking to go with you so the good stuff doesn’t pass you by.

    The absolute BEST time to go to East is…Chinese New Year. It’s more expensive but I can tell you that I’ve BEATEN the buffet and it was expensive. They served abalone, escargot, deveinned shrimp, fresh hot peking duck, sushi made to order… My eyes are about to roll behind my head. All I can say is that when I was finished it was hard to get down the steps and out to the car. :o)

  18. Master Says:

    To my surprise, the East Buffet buffet in Huntington has been closed since August 11th due to a kitchen fire. It saddens me that I occasionally drive by just to find it empty and desolate, even 3 months later, which is driving me insane. As soon as it opens up again, I’ll be there piling up the snow crab legs, yum.

    I wasn’t aware of them getting rid of the prime rib (it was there every time I went), but if you want cleaned, deveined shrimp, try the shrimp in the white lobster sauce or the shrimp dumplings in soy sauce. They’re usually located in the aisle where the crab legs are, but in the middle. By the way, I like Food Guy’s guide. Seasoned eaters here tend to master their strategy. I sometimes pay the extra few bucks and get that steamed lobster in butter sauce.

  19. Dr. Dyspepsia Says:

    Awwww…… empty and desolate? Master, you’re too literary for this group, but good for you! When it opens, please, NYC Food Guy devotees, please let the rest of us know, and we’ll support the team. Except, I still resent them withdrawing the rib bones.

  20. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Master,

    Thanks for the heads up. Where else do you like to eat out on the island or in the city? Where’s the best buffet you’ve ever been to?

  21. Master Says:

    Please excuse this long post, but to answer Food Guy’s questions, here are some of the places I would endorse:

    Chipotle Mexican Grill – There’s several in the city and they’re growing in Long Island starting last year. You can pick tacos, a burrito, burrito bowl, or salad, with lots of toppings. They advertise no-growth hormones in all of their meat products, with the options of chicken, steak, carnitas (pulled pork) and barbacoa (shredded beef with a touch of spicyness). I’ve personally never tried the chicken, but everyone tells me it’s great (cooked with adobo). My preference is the barbacoa burrito, it has the best flavor by far…with extra meat, of course (an extra $1.50). And the barbacoa is seasoned for 4 hours, then cooked for 6+ more hours, so it has to be delicious.

    Ted’s Montana Grill – If you’re into burgers and all-american food, this is the place to check out. There’s only a few locations in the entire country, but this one is on 51st street and 6th ave near Radio City Music Hall. It’s owned by Ted Turner, and all of the bison meat comes from his ranches in the mid-west. You have the choice of a beef burger or a bison burger (with the option of medium-rare), with about 20 different selections on the menu. My choice is the bison Kitchen Sink burger, which includes ham, bacon, mushrooms, cheese, and even a fried egg! Ted’s also offers various grilled chicken selections, but I haven’t tried them yet.

    L & B’s Spumoni Gardens – The only location is in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and it’s been family owned for over 60 years. There’s a restaurant area for their italian dishes, but they have a lot of seating outside, which is great for the summer time. Located on 86th street between West 10th and 11th, between Avenue U and Avenue V, this is by far, the BEST sicilian pizza I have ever had. The sicilian is unique because they cook it with the dough, then cheese, then sauce on top, but it’s an excellent and tasty combination, especially if you eat it right away (when it’s fresh, the dough is very soft, try not to leave leftovers). Oh, and don’t forget to wash your meal down with their spumoni-flavored italian ice…also the best.

    Well, that about sums up some of my favorite places in the New York/Long Island region. As for the best buffet, the East in Huntington definitely tops the list. I tried the one in Flushing, but the food choices are just different (but they currently have a 50% off special if you eat in under 1.5 hours). There’s other buffets that are half the price of East Buffet such as Old Country Buffet and Tong Fu’s Chinese Buffet out in Riverhead, but when it comes to the selections and quality, I’ve realized you get what you pay for.

  22. Phil Says:

    Master – thanks for such value-adding contributions. Will be certain to check out Ted’s Montana Grill.

    P.S. – Foodguy thanks for recommending the tim tams…. greatest thing i’ve ever eaten.

  23. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Master,

    I echo Phil’s sentiments. Nice work.

    I’ve been to all three of those places and with the exception of Chipotle (the burritos sit there like a log in your stomach), I’m down with the other two.

    L&B is excellent. I think I could eat 3/4 of a Sicilian Upside Down Pie on my own. The sauce is great and the cheese underneath is a nice touch. The crust is what makes it though, airy, crispy and delicious. There’s a place called NY Pizza Suprema, on 31st and 8th ave, which also has a Sicilian upside down that’s pretty good. Check it out.

    Ted’s is right near my office and while the food is good and the menu decent (not much that stands out), the prices are high. You will spend at least $12 on a meal at Ted’s. I’ve also found that their delivery tends to be a bit haphazard, something’s always forgotten. Just something to think about. That being said, the chicken sandwiches are quality. I get the one with cheddar, fried onions and bacon. It’s pretty tasty. Just make sure to ask for your fries and onions well done. The onion rings are also interesting, as big as bangle bracelets, and spiced well, although sometimes they err on the salty side. Never had dessert or appetizers although people like their salads and bison meatballs.

    Chipotle used to be an old favorite but it just went down in quality and experience every time I went. Either the meat portion would be too small or the construction of the burrito would just be a disaster. Whatever it was, the meal itself ended up being a bit lackluster. Here’s my recipe for what I feel is the best burrito there: Flour burrito, black beans, pork, pico de gallo, corn salsa, a little hot salsa, and guacamole. You may also want a bag of their lime-salt chips to scoop up leftovers. This meal will induce food coma, so be warned.

    Master, great comment. Keep it coming. How about BBQ and Burgers any thoughts?

  24. Master Says:

    Food Guy, are you saying you can eat 3/4 of a half rack (12 slices) or a full rack (24 slices)? 9 is my max, but if you put down 18 slices, then I would be very impressed. I’ll be sure to check out Pizza Suprema. As per your suggestion, I went to Target yesterday, and the Tim Tams are excellent!

    As for BBQ and burgers, I think I’ll have to read through your site and visit your best picks in NYC. On Long Island, if you’re willing to take the trip, there’s The Good Steer out east in Lake Grove/Stony Brook and Smokin’ Al’s in Bayshore. I’ve been to The Good Steer twice, the pork ribs are pretty good and they’re big portions, the burgers were decent too. I haven’t been to Smokin’ Al’s yet, but I’ve heard great reviews on their pulled pork and brisket of beef, the only downside is that it’s a small place and heavily crowded…you may expect waiting times before being seated.

    You know what food I miss the most in the city? The big red Hallel food truck down on Wall Street and Pearl Street. The gyros are a whopping $3, and you can pick seasoned chicken (never tried it) and lamb chunks (the way Greeks are supposed to make it, not that sliced stuff), all cooked right there on the truck. The lamb is delicious!!! The only problem: the truck is only parked there during work hours on Monday-Friday…no weekends or late night, argh!

  25. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Master,

    Hell of a job by you again. I’ve heard great things about Smokin Al’s, definitely need to get out to Bayshore soon to check it out. You know what, now that you say it, in regard to L&B, maybe my eyes are bigger than my stomach, I think I could handle 9 slices as well. 24 is just absurd.

    Never heard of the Good Steer but will definitely keep it in mind.

    Also never been to the halal cart downtown, not a big fan of the cart food, although a I’ll try one that has been recommended. I also want to try the Calexico cart which won the Vendy awards.

  26. Master Says:

    I’d like to mention a few side notes if you don’t mind. The food fight video, hilarious!!! And sorry to hear about your Chipotle misfortunes. After your post this morning, I went aggressively looking for any articles on the Halal food truck, I hope you don’t mind if I post them here.

    The truck is called “Express Power Lunch,” this link is the Wall Street location and reviews ($5 rice platter, but $3 gyro): http://www.yelp.com/biz/express-power-lunch-new-york

    Food Guy, if your previous post is correct, and your office is in Midtown (by Ted’s?), here’s a spot that may be much closer to you: http://www.yelp.com/biz/express-power-lunch-new-york-3

    I guess that about wraps it up for now. It’s kinda funny how this East Buffet thread went off on a tangent. My bad.

  27. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Master,

    Great comment as always. I don’t mind you posting these links at all. I don’t spend much time down on Wall Street eating and if I do, it’s not going to be for Halal. Thanks for the reccs, hopefully someone will be able to put this to use. I’m honestly not a big halal guy in general, it’s the last kind of street food I’d really splurge for, then again, I’m not a big street food guy in Manhattan either, although I do want to try Calexico. No worries about the tangent, its all good food talk, thats what its all about. Keep the good stuff coming.

  28. NYCherub Says:

    Uh oh, my friend and I were planning to go to East in Huntington today, does anyone here know if it’s still closed? We’re going to be traveling from elsewhere on the Island, and there is snow predicted, so if it’s not open, I’d sure like to know before we get there!

    Just the thought of East being closed…. *sniffle*

  29. east fanatic Says:

    you can go to the east in flushing…it’s not as good as huntington was, but its still pretty decent..

  30. Master Says:

    I figured I’d make an update on the East Buffet in Huntington. I drove by yesterday and saw some commotion going on. It still hasn’t opened yet, but the signs for East Buffet are back in place…a few months ago it was shut down and completely desolate…no signs of life. My guess is that they’re finally starting to fix it up. I’ll keep everyone posted.

  31. Master Says:

    Food enthusiasts, rejoice! The East Buffet in Huntington is back in business with a grand opening two days from now on March 19th. They’re back!!!!

  32. omg!!! Says:

    MASTER I LOVE YOU!!! AND I LOVE EAST!!!!! about freakin time they open back up…..it[s all about the crab legs, duck and sushi there…cant wait

  33. Master Says:

    lol, no problem, omg!!! I’m heading there tomorrow for some finger-licking hot steamy crab legs in juicy butter sauce! :O

  34. Dr. Dyspepsia Says:

    Has anyone returned to this temple of overindulgence? Is it worth the trip?

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