It's hard to stand out when you're an Oriental buffet restaurant in a metro area such as Augusta that's overloaded with similar places. Asian Buffet, 611 E. Martintown Road in North Augusta, differentiates itself with a build-your-own stir-fry station.
You fill a plate with a choice of chicken or beef, fresh vegetables and noodles, pick your sauce, and hand your plate over to the chef to cook it just for you.
I was impressed with the result on my first visit with a lunch companion. This is his favorite Oriental buffet, and I could see why. The stir-fry was crunchy, tasty and sublime.
I was less impressed on a second visit a few days later with Lunch Buddy Donna: The dish was a bit greasy.
Asian Buffet also offers a larger-than average sushi station, if you like sushi. I'm no fan, so I passed.
As for the regular buffet, it has all the usual fare. Donna and I judge an Oriental restaurant by its hot and sour soup, and Asian Buffet offers a decent version. The other dishes sampled were average.
The restaurant is clean, open and bright. There is fake greenery in a trellis on the main dining room ceiling.
Servers are attentive and prompt in refilling drinks and taking away used dishes.
The price is right, too. The buffet costs $6.29 Monday through Saturday (it's $9.55 all day Sunday).
Overall, Asian Buffet is worth a visit for a quick lunchtime break during the work week or a more leisurely weekend lunch.
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THE LUNCH LINE
WHAT: Asian Buffet
WHERE: 611 E. Martintown Road, North Augusta
REASON TO GO: Stir-fry station, sushi selection, hot and sour soup
CALL: (803) 278-1668
INSPECTION GRADE: 99
ONLINE EXTRA: To see recent health inspection scores for other restaurants, go to augustachronicle.com/metro/data/restaurants .