With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.
Images on the video screen swell right along with the singer as she reaches the chorus of "Livin' on a Prayer," inciting her friends to stand up from the wraparound booth and pump their fists. It's a typical evening at Austin Karaoke, where visitors belt, croon, and warble their favorite songs until 4 a.m. on weeknights and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Nine karaoke rooms accommodate small parties of up to 8 or large parties of up to 50. Ensconced in these private studios, songsters search the computerized catalog for their standard baroque numbers, grab the microphone, and then pour their souls into a premium sound system.
Open an Asian-American dialogue with the guidance of a wide-ranging menu and the goodwill of taste-bud ambassadors. Start off with an order of spicy Thai Dynamite shrimp served over Asian slaw (S $5.49, L $8.99) or potstickers—dumplings filled with pork, green cabbage, scallions, and ginger and served with a citrus soy dip (S $3.99, L $6.99). Rice dishes and noodle bowls, such as Spicy General Fu and Pad Thai, are priced by main star, with chicken, beef, or tofu for $8.29, shrimp for $9.29, or veggies for $7.29. After selecting a hunger weapon, dive into the eastern seas of flavor with a wok-sizzled order of fried rice, which includes bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, egg, chopped broccoli, and brown sauce, or a spice-tastic Singapore noodle bowl with rice noodles tossed in a spicy yellow curry with carrots, onions, scallions, celery, garlic, and basil. A gluten-free menu and two special seared entrees are also available: seared ahi tuna steak, encrusted in sesame and served over a bed of sautéed spinach ($14.99), and flat- iron steak, marinated in a red-wine soy sauce and served on a bed of red bell peppers, mushrooms, and green and yellow onions ($12.99).
The neatly assembled sushi at Tadashi is almost too pretty to eat. We say almost, because the immaculate presentation isn't enough to deter visitors from indulging in fatty tuna, snow crab, and quail egg. These rich ingredients sit atop mounds of rice or get nestled inside specialty rolls alongside complementary ingredients such as avocado and spicy mayo. The chefs don't stop at raw eats, though. Hot and cold plates share the spotlight with kushiyaki and entrees of miso pasta with scallops and shrimp, and new york strip steak with yuzu truffle butter. Tempura helps round out the menu with delicious offerings of shrimp and veggies by itself or as a sidekick to bento boxes.
The seasoned chefs at Texas Brisket BBQ fan the flavor-imbuing flames of oak-fueled carousal pits as they slowly smoke a menu of traditional Texas barbecue, supplemented by a smattering of authentic Korean dishes and fresh cornbread made with a hint of cheddar cheese. A smoky selection of meats by the pound includes brisket, pork ribs, and chopped beef, which ensnare the body's six most sauce-sensitive senses with a tangy, made-from-scratch glaze. Chefs chop, mix, and simmer home-style trimmings daily, compiling 1-pint mounds of creamed corn, red-potato salad, coleslaw, or green beans, and a duo of decadent desserts, such as cheesecake and pecan pie, permeates palates with a sweet finish to counteract the tongue's natural proclivity to recite saucy haikus.
At Tiger Pop, kimchi and other traditional Korean ingredients mingle with influences from the Americas. Chefs layer authentic Korean KimPop rolls, which resemble sushi but contain only cooked ingredients, with pineapple-sautéed ham and american cheese, and draw from Mexican recipes to whip up spicy burritos and tacos with Korean kogi steak. Sunlight pours through the eatery’s tall windows, and cheerful bright walls and an absence of haunted suits of armor create a welcoming atmosphere.:m]]