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Monday, September 7, 2009

International Gourmet Buffet - San Jose

Updated 12/18/2011
We passed by about a month ago and this place has already been closed down.

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This establishment opened about more than one month ago. We passed by one day when we we were going to Ross/Target in the same shopping mall (The Plant). At that time they were not open yet and we couldn't wait for it to open. When it finally opened, their reviews on Yelp weren't convincing so our curiosity kinda ebbed away. Then last week, hubby won a free meal voucher for two for this restaurant and we got excited to have a chance to try it.

From reviews on Yelp, patrons were complaining about the price that was too expensive for the selections available. The first thing we noticed when we got there was the Sunday Brunch for $12.99. It was available from 9 am to 3:30 pm. We went there around 12:30 hoping to catch a bigger lunch crowd but the place wasn't packed.

We were seated on a huge sofa booth that was set up for six which we appreciated. But we were wondering why the hostess seated us there considering there were a few four seats tables available. We noticed later a family wanted to seat on the same booth setting and had to wait for one to be cleaned up for them. The decor of the restaurant was nice and looked expensive. The furniture don't look like those regular buffet restaurant but more like those white table cloth establishments. There was also a bar there which I don't know how exactly it works on a buffet setting. Later on we found out that Sunday Brunch price of $12.99 includes champagne. The place looks bigger from outside but inside wasn't that big. They also have some patio seatings which work out well on a nice day.

Okay enough about decor and setting and let's talk about food. Because the ambiance and decor could only get you so far if the food doesn't even support it. That's how we felt about this place. There were only two rows of food and a small area against the wall with little muffins, croissant and bagels. There was a set up for omelette to order but I only saw the guy manning it every now and then. Not too many people seemed to be interested in it. The first row of food was meat/poultry/fish and cooked food. The second row was salad/fruit and dessert.
For my first plate I took vegetable lasagna, chicken kebob, chicken fajitas, and salmon. The lasagna looked kinda of dry so I put some marinara sauce on it. Chicken kebob and chicken fajitas was good and tasted freshly made. Baked salmon was fresh but dry and tasteless.
There were not too many selections for soups. There were menudo and another weird looking soup. I chose menudo because it was labeled but the other wasn't. Hubby chose the other and surely enough it tasted as weird as it looked. It had lentils, spinach and noodle. Hmm..I don't know why they don't go by more safe (read: common) soup like chicken noodle soup or minestrone soup. My second plate I decided to check out the other row of food. I got some usual lettuce and potato salad. One scooped of marinated mushroom, two dolmades and shirazi salad. I love mushrooms so the marinated mushroom tasted fine to me. I can't say much about the dolmades because I haven't eaten enough to know how it supposed to taste like. Same thing with the shirazi salad which was chopped cucumber and tomato salad with some spice. The shirazi tasted good actually but I found it a bit oily. The dessert was very questionable. None of them were labeled. There was a platter of cut bananas with gooey syrup. Hmm.. I picked one that looked like donut (or Italian donut) but tasted stale. I picked something looked like baklava but it was a bit too sweet for me. Hubby picked up two different balls, one brown and one white but they both tasted horrible. We laughed at it and felt like we were in one of Andrew Zimmern shows. :)
The waiter was attentive and stopped by a couple of times to asked how we were doing. But I was surprised the first time she stopped by she didn't offer to take my dirty plate away. She also didn't offer to get us more water which I think was fine since we didn't drink that much. I just don't understand if she made an effort to stop by and asked, why didn't she offer to get us water ?

International Gourmet Buffet at The Plant Shopping Mall
101 Curtner Ave, San Jose, CA 95125 (408) 564-6778