Oct 04

Thunder Falls Buffet – Niagara Falls, NY

310 4th St

Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Located near our hotel, at the Seneca Casino Casino Resort, the Thunder Falls Buffet serves up various types of food including Asian, Grill, Mediterranean, Pizza, and Dessert. Costing only $26 per person for a Saturday night, the price seemed fairly acceptable, especially having a buy one get one free coupon in hand. After paying, we were guided by a hostess to our table where our server took our drink orders. Oddly enough, the hostess asked if we wanted to sit in a smoking or non-smoking section, and I of course chose the non-smoking section not knowing that smoking sections even existed in restaurants still.

Having went around the buffet, we were able to try various types of food offered. The rice in the Asian station was quite hard and did not taste fresh. I avoided the remainder of the Asian station because all of the food looked old and unappetizing. The salmon was juicy with a nice crust. The fried chicken was one of the highlights of the meal as it was both juicy and fresh with a crispy crust. The mac and cheese did not have much cheese on them, and there was not much flavor except from the plain pasta. The pineapple BBQ chicken thighs were juicy and tender, but you could not taste any pineapple, only regular BBQ sauce. The swai fish was extremely dry and salty. The prime rib was available from the carving station with a pot of au jus on the side. There was a large chunk of fat from the prime rib received, but neither the au jus nor the meat itself had much of any flavor. I felt like the meat and au jus were not seasoned at all. The meatballs were dense and had simple Italian seasoning, but did not taste special at all. The penne pasta was plain, but the tomato sauce did taste fresh. The pepperoni pizza was doughy and you can taste a Cesar flavor in the sauce, but was plain tasting overall. The chicken noodle soup came with lots of tender chicken, but you can only taste the celery. The pasta bar was interesting, but there was a long wait with only one person cooking and quite a few people in line. I ordered a shrimp spinach Alfredo pasta, which came out tasting delicious, but extremely buttery and unhealthy. The soft-serve vanilla ice cream tasted very cold and was not completely white, but went well with the Oreo crumbs. Other than the ice cream, the cherry chocolate cake tasted moist, and various other options were available such as pie and creme brulee.

Overall, the food at the Thunder Falls Buffet was quite disappointing. There were hints of good tasting food amidst a large quantity of disappointing food. Having tried out much better casino buffets, I was quite disappointed in the quality at this establishment. While waiting for the pasta bar, I noticed staff taking food out of heating ovens where large trays of food were already cooked and ready to be dumped into the trays. Since the food was already prepared, most of the food did not taste fresh. If you are in the Niagara Falls, NY area and are looking for lunch or dinner, I advise you to look elsewhere if possible.

Sep 30


2028 H St

Sacramento, CA 95811

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Around the corner of 21st Street on H Street in Midtown and behind two red doors, Moxie serves up a variety American fare not even listed on the menu. As we entered the restaurant, we were quickly greeted by the vibrant owner and brought to our table. A small menu was provided and drinks offered. The restaurant is well decorated with its red walls and low lighting that progressively dimmed as the night went by. After a couple minutes of reviewing the menu, the owner came by to discuss the meal and offer various specials not listed on the menu. He eloquently described each dish with enthusiasm and the variety of items spanned the various meat types and preparations.

Today, after listening to the specials, we decided to order the crab cake appetizer, rib eye steak, sea bass, and the caramel pecan cheesecake. The low light proved a challenge to properly display the food in the photos, but each dish was presented in classy fashion. After ordering, we were provided with complementary fresh warm sourdough bread with a side of softened butter. Each piece had a crunchy crust and soft center. The bread tasted delicious and quickly set a great tone for the meal. The two crab cakes then arrived and appeared fairly large with grill marks across the top. Two sauces sit next to the cakes atop some olive oil. Each crab cake consisted of large amounts of fresh crab and breadcrumbs. Each bite tasted delicious and savory. There was a tartar-flavored cream sauce on top of both cakes, which was extremely delicious with each bite. On the side, there was an orange sauce available, which is similar to the sweet special sauces in sushi restaurants, but a bit spicier. The crab cakes tasted great on their own and with the tartar-cream sauce. Having finished the first basket of bread, the server quickly offered a refill for additional fresh bread.

Soon, both of our entrees arrived. The large rib eye looked to be at least 16 ounces with a hearty sauce, mushrooms, and blue cheese on top. A side of beets, summer squash, carrot, and beans finished off the plate. A side of horseradish mashed potatoes accompanied the dish since there was no more room on the plate. The rib eye was cooked medium-well as requested while still tasting juicy and fresh. The sauce did taste a bit bitter, but that could have possibly come from a red wine reduction. Each piece of beef tasted delicious after getting used to the sauce. The vegetables were all cooked properly and looked very fresh. The horseradish mashed potatoes did taste quite different since we have not had horseradish in my mashed potatoes before. There was a large chip sticking out of the mashed potatoes, which acted as a great looking edible garnish. Next, the sea bass came with a deep orange sauce with the same sides of vegetables and mashed potatoes provided with the rib eye. Each bite of the fresh sea bass tasted juicy and soft, cooked perfectly and not dry at all. The orange sauce was different, and I could not pinpoint the type of sauce used. I would have preferred the fish without the sauce or with a different simple glaze, but the existing sauce did not take away from the fresh fish flavor. After we finished our entrees, the owner came back to check on us and to see if we wanted dessert. We allowed him to vocalize us the specials for desserts, just as he did the rest of the meal. In addition to the two items listed on the paper menu, the owner also listed another ten or so items to finish off the meal. After listening to the menu items, we decided to try out the caramel pecan cheesecake. The cheesecake arrived with a large sugar-art heart atop a slice of twice-sliced cheesecake with a garnish of creme and caramel. Each bite tasted rich from the decadent cheesecake and sweet fresh caramel. There was just enough crust to hold up the fresh cheesecake. Once the check arrived, the owner also brought along a shot of drinkable rich chocolate to complete the meal.

Overall, Moxie served up some fresh delicious cuisine in a very friendly environment. The specials really span the palette where you will definitely find something you will like. The owner is very charismatic and adds some fun to the meal. The server is on point and professional at all times. Even with the slightly different flavors we were not used to, we definitely enjoyed the experience here at Moxie from the service to the food. If you have never tried Moxie before, then you definitely need to give it a try some time.

Sep 27

Pooja Indian Grill

1223 Merkley Ave

West Sacramento, CA 95691

Rating: ★★★★★ 

In an odd location in West Sacramento, Pooja Indian Grill serves up authentic Indian cuisine in a great lunch buffet concept. In addition to the lunch buffet, the restaurant does offer a standard menu as well. Having made a reservation the day prior for our large group, we arrived right at opening time with a table already set for our group. Water was quickly poured for our table as we left to gather food.

Indian Naan bread was provided as part of the meal, which went well with any of the sauces from the meat dishes. We also ordered Garlic Naan, which added an amazing flavor to the bread and also went well with the meat sauces. Of all the items at the buffet, I mainly tried the meat dishes and the rice. The Biryani rice was well seasoned and was flavorful. I could have ate without the rice since the Naan bread went so well with any entree. The bright red Tandoori chicken was plentiful and came in many different types of pieces. Each bite of chicken tasted tender even though it looked dry on the outside. The chicken masala (butter chicken) tasted extremely tender and you can definitely taste the butter in the chicken. The sauce went best smothering the chicken and the naan. The lamb curry also tasted tender and the sauce delicious. There were many pieces that had a lot of meat, but also had chunks of fat, but that did not deter from the fresh aromatic flavors. The goat curry was similar to the lamb, but tasted even fresher and the sauce slightly different. Many of the pieces had a lot of bones, but you can eat around them. The fried fish tasted fresh and the batter was extremely crispy. You can taste a bit of spice in the batter used that also made the outside look redder. For desert, the gulub jamun are basically donught holes swimming in sweet syrup. Each hole tasted soggy on the outside and cake-like on the inside. You can taste a condensed milk flavor in the syrup, which tasted delicious. The mango ice cream soft serve was very light, and you can catch the mango flavor as an aftertaste. The ice cream is very solid and seems to have a lot of water content.

Overall, Pooja serves up some of the best Indian dishes in a very economical way with a $10 lunch buffet. Considering all the different entree options available for such a low price, Pooja offers so much food at such a great value. Having tried other Indian lunch buffets before, Pooja definitely serves up the best in the area. Service was consistent and friendly with multiple water refills performed throughout the lunch service, and naan refills provided when necessary. Most of the curries were not that spicy and were in more of the mild range. If you never tried Indian food, you definitely need to try it here. If you already tried Indian food, then you still must come to Pooja for the best Indian lunch buffet in town.

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