Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why do you want Beef and Broccoli now?

There's an episode of "King of Queens" in which Doug becomes nonplussed at the very thought of having a brick pizza oven installed in his house. Nice touch, but for me, I'd like a grill like the one at the Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, the successor to the late, lamented Old Country Buffet in our neighborhood.

When you dine there, you get to wait for a little while, which just adds to the fun. It's people-watching at its finest, and helps to build your appetite. Plus, there's an indoor fish pond with a big aquarium right next to it, so you have the fun of wondering if the fish in either habitat envy their neighbors in the other  accommodations.

Then, when the magic time comes that your number is called (I liken it to the Pearly Gates, but Peggy says I'm overly dramatic or theological, or both) you are whisked to a seat and then set loose upon the buffet. They might not offer fried yak or butterfly eyelashes, but they pretty much put out everything else for you here. I always go for a plate of cold shrimp just to get the old jawbone limbered up. The real attraction for me is the grill itself. You take an empty plate, go to a salad bar sort of area, and pile upon that plate what you wish to have stir-fried. Veggies, sure, and then shrimp, chicken, pork, beef: you name it. Really, go ahead and name it "perfection" and add that you also get a show along with your chow. I've seen the grill man working as many as seven piles of food at a time on his grill. You just hand him your plate and he dumps it on the grill, and then gets a huge spatula in each hand and beats out a rhythm that Sheila E. would love to copy. In between tossing, flipping and chopping, he darts around refilling the huge tureens of bean sprouts, pea pods, rice, broccoli, and meats to meet the demands of the burgeoning line - and nothing ever burns or gets overcooked. I don't know how he multitasks all this cooking and replenishing at once. On a slow day, he could probably pull out the floor buffer and add a little sheen to the tiles, but that's just conjecture, because this place doesn't have any slow days.

But if you care to go, and you're not a Ravens fan, well then, judging from the amount of purple and black garb on display last night, dining there during a Ravens game might be the best time to go!

I always mean to take a picture of my finished stir-fry meal for you, but I never seem to get around to it. Unlike the more sedate restaurants we frequent, this place is not the kind of place where you feel like whipping out the camera to snap a shot. This is the kind of place with food that Must Be Eaten. Now!

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