Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Mizuki Buffet

Needing to fill our tummies before jumping on an evening flight to Los Angeles, my family went out in search of a buffet. My dad discovered Mizuki on the internet and the reviews were okay so we took a risk (Asian buffets, you know?) and gave it a try. In short, it wasn't a bad idea!

Seating inside Mizuki Buffet
Once we entered the restaurant, we were surprised at how many people were having lunch on a Monday afternoon. We noticed that there were especially a lot of Asian customers, most of which were Korean or Mandarin speaking. There wasn't much of a wait, just a minute or two for a waitress to escort us to a table. There are a lot of tables in the restaurant, so it can fit a lot of people. However the noise level can get loud because there isn't much insulation in the ceiling to reduce the noise (ew, physics...) 

My sushi plate vs. dad's sushi plate

In many reviews, people seem to think the sushi is the best part of the buffet. I kind of disagree though. Yes there are at least five chefs constantly making sushi but I didn't really like the sushi. I'm pretty sure they don't use real fish roe. Neon green 'fish roe' is rather sketchy to me. The sashimi is mushy and flavourless. 

Here is my thoughts on what I ate:

 
Fried salmon - Filets! Thick chunks of tempura battered salmon with a drizzle of teriyaki sauce. This was great because it was purely salmon.

Fried smelt fish - It is one of my favourite dishes at dimsum restaurants, and not every restaurant serves this. Mizuki does it perfectly (maybe because their chefs are Chinese...). I kept going back for this. Even after desert (couldn't help it, it was freshly made!)

Sushi cone - The seaweed was soft so it became tough to bite through. the inside was stuffed with rice and salmon sashimi. But the sashimi was mushy and felt like it was pounded or mashed. Did not like. 

Cold tofu with dried pork fluff - This was rather strange to me. Cold soft tofu drizzled with sriracha sauce and mayonaise... While I wasn't quite used to the combination my brother seemed to like it.

Fruit salad - I was very surprised to see fresh mango and large blueberries in this salad. There was actually a romaine lettuce base but picked out the fruit parts. As I was finishing my lunch, I saw a chef madly chopping mangoes and apples for this salad. Yay for fresh fruit!

Sashimi - The ebi (shrimp) was okay but the texture of the toro (tuna belly) was too mushy. I once passed by the sushi station and saw the sashimi chef torch the tops of the sashimi. By torching the raw fish, it cooks it a bit and I assume that lowers the chance of passing on food borne illnesses.

Tamago egg nigiri- Oops, I misspelled it on the photo... Sweet egg on top of a ball of rice, one of my brother's childhood favourites and he got to eat unlimited amount of it. It tasted like the tamago egg from a regular sushi restaurant so that's good.

Pickled ginger - It's from a package but the fact that they have a massive bowl of it makes me happy. I have a new appreciation for picked ginger, it's a good palate cleanser (that's what it's for). 

Wakame salad - Seaweed/kelp salad seasoned with plenty of sesame oil. I LOVE THIS STUFF! Peanut Crumpet also loves eating kelp, as seen in our Sushi California post. Wakame salad is pretty expensive to buy at the supermarket, Costco sells a tub of it for $12. Mizuki most likely buys this from another company and it tastes the same as the kelp I buy from T&T Supermarket. Unlimited kelp salad, win!

Rice paper roll - The rice paper was rather thick and chewy. The filling was the generic fake crab stick and avocado but it had some lettuce and was topped with some sauce. Eh, it's okay to try but no need to purposely waste precious stomach area on this.

From the sushi side of the restaurant, I recommend the unagi roll, avocado roll, tamago nigiri, fried smelt fish (the whole fish with a ton of eggs inside!), fried salmon filets, fruit salad, and wakame salad. Oh, and get a good helping of pickled ginger too, yum~

A few items from the hot food and salad sections

I didn't sample that much from the hot food section mainly because I tend to avoid the stereotypical 'Chinese' food items like mushu pork and other dishes I never see at authentic Chinese restaurants. Apparently on weekends Mizuki serves more seafood, but that is at a much higher price per head. I'm content with the selection on a weekday lunch.

Crab stuffed mushroom - White button mushroom stuffed with a fake crab meat mixture. This wasn't bad, slightly on the salty side but other than that, it was okay.

Baked banana - I tried this purely out of curiosity. Didn't like the mushy texture and the cooked flavour of banana. Wouldn't recommend this.

Kabocha tempura - The tempura batter used at Mizuki is not the best and it starts getting oily. My dad says it's probably because the oil used to deep fry the food isn't hot enough. However, I was very happy with the types of vegetables they used. I went back for at least three pieces of kabocha (pumpkin) and a few sweet potato. When I start getting tired of eating fried food I peel off the batter part. My mom scolds me for being wasteful. But hey, it's a buffet and it's just flour..

Baked mussel - The mayonnaise/cheese mixture on top made this very salty. 

'Mandarin-style' sauteed clams - I'm pretty sure that's what it was called, but my parents and I were pleasantly surprised at how many clams were available in this dish. The manilla clams were juicy and mostly sand-free. The sauce wasn't too heavy, overall a good seafood dish.

Coconut chicken - Drawn to the word 'coconut', I just had to try at least one piece. It wasn't actually bad. The batter wasn't super thick (ahem, Panda Express...) and the sauce really tasted like coconut milk. I wouldn't eat a whole plate of this but one or two pieces won't hurt, haha!

Their salad section is one of the weakest I have ever encountered. Ice berg lettuce with a few cherry tomatoes and picked beets (which are really good, by the way) but compared to Sweet Tomatoes, this is a very limited selection.

Alfalfa sprouts - This is the first time I've seen sprouts at a buffet. Peanut Crumpet could probably just eat a big bowl of this and be happy. 

Coleslaw - I like coleslaw and this was very basic. A bit heavy on the dressing but I was using it to dress the sprouts anyways. That's how I avoid using salad dressings, just mix it with an already-dressed salad.

Kimchi - My Korean friends scrunch their noses up at all store-bought kimchi because homemade is so much better. Unfortunately, I have yet to try homemade kimchi so I don't know the difference. I just like eating pickled food and this wasn't too bad :)

Fruit and dessert at Mizuki Buffet
Unfortunately for dessertatarians, but Mizuki's dessert section is just as sad as the salad right next to it. My dessert was mostly fruit, as seen above.

Fruit - There was a wide variety of fresh fruit available. Kiwi, strawberries, oranges, honeydew, watermelon, and cherries. I (heavily) sampled all the fruit and all of them were really good. My favourite was the watermelon because it was really sweet. I ate so much my tummy stuck out from all the water. The cherries were pretty small and didn't have much flavour, but at least they were a choice.

Almond pudding - Or was it coconut milk? I don't remember but it doesn't matter because it wasn't very tasty. 

Chocolate mousse - Out of all the little desserts in the display fridge, this was the only one that looked...okay. I'm a spoiled and dessert fanatic so cheap cakes made with who-knows-what doesn't appeal to me. This wasn't that bad; it tasted like instant chocolate jello though.

Chocolate fountain - This is fun to have, I dipped one marshmallow and a few strawberries in it. Skewers are available right next to the fountain. The chocolate hardens really quickly on the cold strawberries.

During the weekdays, lunch is $13 per person. That is the only time I'd be willing to come to Mizuki because the dinner and weekend prices are much too high for the quality of the food. I would be perfectly happy eating thirteen dollars worth of wakame salad, fried smelt, kabocha and watermelon. Which, I kind of did..

My dad says we'll most likely be back for another weekday lunch if we happen to be in the Tukwila area (by Southcenter Mall and near SeaTac Airport). It is a good deal and there is good food to be found. Evidently, many people agree as seen by all the Asian customers at the restaurant. Mizuki is one of the best Asian buffets I've been to, and I've had my share of really bad ones. -shudders at the memory- 

I'll end the post with a few looks at what types of food is available at Mizuki Buffet:

Chocolate fountain, dessert selection, ice cream
Hot Food

Soup & white rice, carving station
Sushi rolls, specialty rolls, sashimi

Americans seem to use Yelp a lot more than Urbanspoon, so check Yelp when doing foodie research for the US of A. I also use Yelp to search for beauty salons, gotta get my mani-pedi when on vacation~

Mizuki Buffet on Urbanspoon

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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