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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet-Newport Beach

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet Newport Beach
4200 Scott Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Near John Wayne Airport
(949) 851-5888

I recently visited Hokkaido Seafood Buffet in Newport Beach. This restaurant is located across the street from the Benihana's that appears to be under construction, in the building that I think used to be Marie Callendar’s. We went around 7:00 PM on a Saturday night and there wasn’t a wait. They have a lot of tables here so there actually seemed to be a lot of open seating.

Hokkaido advertises themselves as a seafood buffet with sushi, Chinese food and Mongolian BBQ. I was really excited to try this buffet because I really love all of these foods. They have a really great price for an all you can eat place like this too. Only $15.95 for dinner!

As soon as I was seated, I jumped up in eager anticipation and ran to go look over the buffet. This is what I saw…

Hokkaido Salad Bar
Salad Bar

Hokkaido Cold Seafood
Cold Seafood

Hokkaido Hot Seafood
Hot Seafood

Hokkaido Sushi

Hokkaido Chinese Food
Chinese Food

Hokkaido Chinese Food
More Chinese Food

Hokkaido Monglian BBQ Bar
Mongolian BBQ Bar

Hokkaido Monglian BBQ Bar
Some Kind of Raw Fish and Jalapenos

Hokkaido Mongolian Cook
The Mongolian BBQ Cook

Hokkaido Fried Food
Fried Foods

Hokkaido Desserts
Dessert Bar

I decided to start of my meal with some of their sushi. I sampled their Philadelphia Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Inari Sushi, Tamago and the Super Spicy Roll. All of the sushi tasted pretty bland and generic. It’s something I would expect to get from a grocery store. The best of the bunch though was probably the Super Spicy Roll that was filled with spicy tuna and fresh jalapeno and then topped with more spicy tuna and diced fresh jalapenos. It was pretty spicy.
Hokkaido Sushi

Next, I decided to get some Mongolian BBQ. They had some toppings that I don’t get at my regular Mongolian BBQ place like jalapenos and udon noodles. However, they didn’t have some of the toppings I’m used to like celery and tomatoes. I ended up getting a simple dish with beef, pork, udon noodles, onions and green onions. The cook stir-fried it up on the grill and added some brown sauce that I am assuming was soy sauce based. The Mongolian BBQ left something to be desired. It was very bland.

I decided to move on to the seafood and Chinese food. I got myself some steamed crab legs, salt and pepper frog legs, BBQ pork ribs and fried rice. Everything was disappointing. The crab legs were a waterlogged mess and they barely contained any meat. The frog legs were chewy and sticky. The fried rice was extremely bland and the BBQ pork was tough.

I pretty much got everything on the buffet that I was interested in but I was still hungry. Even though it wasn’t that good, I finally decided to go back and get another plate of Mongolian BBQ. I got the same limited ingredients, pork, beef, noodles and onions. The grill was a lot busier now though. The Mongolian BBQ cook was extremely busy. Not only was he in charge of cooking the food, but he was also apparently in charge of replenishing the food. He took turns tossing food on the grill and running back in to the kitchen to get more meat and various toppings. He was so busy that he was trying to cook too many orders at the same time on his small grill. This resulted in it being hard for him to keep everyone’s dishes separate. One lady that was clearly a vegetarian, (No CP, it wasn’t my wife) handed the cook a plate of vegetables and asked him to cook it on the other side of the grill away from the meat. He stared at her as if he didn’t speak English and then threw her food in the middle of the grill. He then grabbed a bunch of other orders and surrounded her food with meat. He was frantically cooking and tossing food everywhere. He was trying his best to keep all the food separate, but he wasn’t doing a very good job. I could tell the vegetarian was freaking out. He handed me my plate. I was disappointed that they didn’t have pocket bread, so I grabbed something called a “biscuit” that was next to the Mongolian BBQ.
Hokkaido Busy Mongolian Cook

I got back to the table and looked at my food. In addition to the ingredients that I originally had in my Mongolian BBQ, I now also had pineapple, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, jalapenos, bean sprouts and cabbage. The food was still bland. I added a lot of soy sauce and it tasted a little better. The biscuit actually turned out to be a fried sugar doughnut. It was actually the best thing I had tried, so I went back and got a few more of those and filled up on them. Maybe this place wasn’t worth $15.95 after all. This definitely wasn’t the worst buffet I have ever had, but I’m not jumping up and down to return anytime soon.

Hokkaido on Urbanspoon


Diamond Dog said...

Oh My God, that Buffet is one of the worst looking buffets I have ever seen. I am so glad you took yet another one for the team!

I would never eat sushi off a buffet. Do you know how many parasites and bacteria you can get from improperly prepared sushi??!! A real Japanese sushi chef apprentices and makes rice for 3 years before moving on. I doubt their chef (Jose "San") went through all those classes and such.

That Mongolian BBQ grill looks like a playground for cross contamination!

I hope you didnt get sick off of all this.

I would have thrown up in my mouth if I touched most of that food!

Diamond Dog said...

I'll bet this place is owned by Chinese. Chinese restaurant owners will just put any crap out there for people to eat whether it belongs or not. Probably got everything from the day old racks and various Asian grocery stores and Stater Bros

Christina said...

Hello 'Diamond Dog,'

It is evident from your post that you are not only ignorant, but also racist, to state your assured belief that this place is owned by Chinese people.

I have not been to this restaurant before, and only happened to stumble across this blog. However, I believe your comments only go to show that some people in this world only busy themselves with snubbing their noses at places, and people, they deem too inferior for their tastes.

If you find this restaurant's quality to be sub-par and less than impressive, you are entitled to that opinion. I don't believe it is appropriate, however, for you to make a back-handed, derogatory comment about Asian people. There are plenty of stereotypes about Chinese people in particular, and comments like yours only perpetuate racism and hatred. There are people out there who enjoy this restaurant, I'm sure, otherwise it would not survive. The way I see it, whoever owns this restaurant works very hard and offers low prices of which many customers take advantage. Disappointed customers surely will not return, so I don't see a problem there.

As an American with Asian heritage, I am offended and shocked to come across your statement on a blog that should be about food.

Anonymous said...

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