Feb 10

Emerald Buffet in Vanier is hardly a gem!

They’ve got real stones to call this an Emerald!

With Emerald in its name, you might think it’s a jewel
But I can’t really say that this place made me drool!

While it may be true that their variety can’t be beat;
You know there’s more to good food than 10 types of meat?

Thus, if you’re drawn by the bling you’re a fool!

If you are a regular reader, I know what you’re thinking: “For a guy who claims not to favour buffets, what is he doing going to yet another one?” My response is to say that our ‘Supper Seven’ group is more of a plutocracy than a dictatorship and the majority of the group seems to gravitate towards them. Since the ‘buffet’ choice seemed to be a fait accompli on this particular Friday evening, I thought that we should at least change things up a bit and revisit one that we had not frequented for a couple of years to see how things had progressed (or not).

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Where we went: There are quite a few buffet-style restaurants in Ottawa’s East End and we have reviewed most of them over the last 11 months. One that eluded us until recently was the Emerald Buffet on Montreal Road in Eastview Plaza in Vanier. Although it is on a main route, it is a little tucked away (on Selkirk Road actually) and therefore, you have to know it is there or you will almost certainly pass it by. This establishment was known as DuBarry’s in a former life and should not be confused with the YangMing Buffet in Emerald Plaza on Merivale Road, though I can’t help but wonder if they are connected somehow! 

The Usual chinese buffet plateWhat we got: As buffets go, Emerald gets top marks for sheer variety of food. Crab legs, mussels and frog’s legs were items featured here that one seldom sees together at other locales. Also, many of the dishes were not as awash in sweet syrupy sauces as can be found elsewhere. As well as fresh sushi, there is also a Mongolian-style flat griddle where you can select fresh ingredients and have it stir-fried as you wait. My contention remains, however, that the vaster the quantity, the poorer the quality. Emerald Buffet did little to persuade me otherwise!

Worthy of note: Service was not horrible but in stark contrast to the staff at Ruby King Chinese Buffet in Orleans, the servers here seemed considerably less happy in their work. Those who were clearly either owners or managers seemed more like security guards than hosts. Smiles and friendly chit-chat were definitely not the order of the day. One bright spot was the desserts which were above average in selection and quality as compared to their competition. The creme caramel was a particular favourite although the blueberry and mango ice creams had more simulated colour than authentic flavour. Although a lot more pricey on the weekends, their Monday thru Thursday special at $10.95 is a steal. One good test of a satisfactory buffet is whether the 3 girls ask to go back there in the near future. We will see if they do….

Summary

  • Positives: Probably the largest seating capacity of Ottawa Chinese buffets, so no wait time. Wide selection of food. Above average desserts. 
  • Negatives: Staff seemed stand-offish and not particularly happy! Signs posted warning diners not to waste food?! Owners overseeing like prison warders.
  • Recommendation: It’s a fairly run-of-the-mill Chinese Buffet. Not great nor horrid but I, for one, am in no rush to go back! N.B Check out the Urbanspoon widget below, as of this posting only 20% voted favourably!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality ** Only fair
Price $$ Standard
Decor *** Underwhelming
Service ** Going thru the motions
Overall Rating ** You can do better!

Emerald Buffet on Urbanspoon

Frivolous Foodie Facts

The term buffet originally referred to the French sideboard where the food was served, but eventually became applied to the meal. The buffet became popular in the English-speaking world in the second half of the 19th century after the Swedes had used the smorgasbord in New York.

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1 ping

  1. […] in Orleans, for example, there simply is no menu. The buffet is the only option. Likewise for the Emerald Buffet in Eastview, though they do at least have a Mongolian Grill option where you can select fresh food […]

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