Saturday, May 5, 2012
Golden Corral good option for buffet meal
Some people like buffets. Some don't. I know people who absolutely refuse to eat at buffets because other hands come into contact with the utensils. I'm cautious, but not paranoid. If I see a kid at a buffet stick his fingers in something, I'm not going to eat it. But, in reality, you never know who is touching your food in the back of a restaurant. You never know how many hands an item has gone through before you purchase it at the grocery store. For the most part, restaurants that serve buffets are diligent about keeping things clean and well-stocked.
I like buffets because of the variety. In upscale restaurants that have brunch or lunch buffets, it's a good opportunity to get a taste of several menu items. That can also be a downfall, though. Sometimes there are many mediocre things and not many good things. Buffets are also often a good value if you have big eaters in your family. I have no qualms about trying a buffet as long as the place is clean and a good effort is made to keep dishes at suitable temperature.
On Easter, my hubby was working and I wasn't expecting any company and I decided to take the day off. Although I knew of a few places offering extensive brunch buffets that I would have liked to have gone to, I wasn't willing to pay $16 per child/$28 per adult because I was taking five children. That's a bit pricey for one meal out. If I wanted to spend that much I'd go to a nice Japanese steakhouse or seafood restaurant. But....I also wasn't willing to go it alone in a five star restaurant with five children while hubby was at work. I needed something casual and quick. I couldn't imagine waiting with all of them for a half hour for meals to arrive. I also had a variety of tastes to satisfy, so a buffet seemed perfect. I'd never been to Golden Corral in Schererville, Indiana so we decided to give it a try. I really wasn't expecting too much. I figured it would basically be like Old Country Buffet, lots of bland stuff that the kids would eat, but not much that would wow me.
I was pleasantly surprised. The steak station had beautiful looking cuts, cooked to order (the website shows that steak is available for dinner only, so this may have been a special offer for Easter.) I made a couple trips as did three of the boys. I figured that justified the buffet price even if we didn't eat anything else. It was $6.99 for the younger kids. Adults (which includes kids over age 12) were $11.69, plus an additional $2.09 for soft drinks. Kid meals included drinks.
Most restaurants I take my kids to have kid meals for $5 or under (chicken tenders is usually the meal of choice), which usually includes a drink or we'll take them on a night when kids are free with an adult purchase. So, $7 for a kid to eat is more than I'd usually spend. At least when steak is an option, I feel a little more like I'm getting my money's worth. The kids also dug into pizza, potatoes, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese and a few other items.
Shrimp was another option, which they cook to order along with pasta and a variety of sauces. It was well-cooked and comparable to what I'd get in a casual Italian eatery. That was another plus. I admit, I didn't eat much else. A few veggies, which were nothing to rave about. Salad bar has the standard fare. The kids loved the dessert table with a chocolate fountain to dip cookies and marshmallows in as well as soft serve ice cream.
I would definitely go back. The place was constantly being cleaned and filled and staff was very friendly, even with the busy holiday lunch rush. I can go and feel I'm getting a worthwhile meal of steak, seafood and pasta and the kids are free to choose among dishes they like and get their fill of their favorites. And when dining with kids, the less wait time for the food, the better. We had about a two minute wait in line to get in and then we were free to eat. Check out their website, goldencorral.com for special offers. It shows that currently, two adult meals are $20, which does not include a beverage or tax.