Battle of the Buffets

When faced with the quality of Kyojin Buffet, the Mongolian Grille goes up in smoke

Or I'll just compare it to buffet places like the nearby Kyojin Buffet, a new Japanese all-you-can-eat located in the old Moran's spot in Boca. Like Mongolian Grille, the Kyojin has a grill where cooks will make you a stir-fry. One of the differences is that here, the meat, chicken, and shrimp aren't sliced until you request them, and then the whole dish is cooked properly: first oil, then meat, then veggies, then a touch of sauce. The result is a plate of tender, steaming food, full of flavor that you wind up tasting during the meal rather than smelling in your hair afterward. Best of all, you don't have to stand and wait for it. The chefs bring you the dish when it is finished -- and they don't shove a tip jar in your face for the courtesy.

Kyojin has other distinct characteristics as well. Chefs stand behind the sushi bar and continuously make the 30-odd selections fresh, replenishing them constantly as the diners deplete them. The choices range from white tuna to seared mahi-mahi to conch. Rolls are generous and inventive -- try the crunchy salmon roll with a deep-fried crust -- and hand rolls are available on request.

Soup and salad come with the meal here too, but the soup is a bowl of soba noodles with tempura shrimp. You add the broth on the spot. And the salad is seaweed, a bit more appropriate than iceberg lettuce and carrots with ranch dressing.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

Map

Kyojin Buffet

21073 Powerline Road
Boca Raton, FL 33433

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Boca Raton

Kyojin Buffet

3485 N. Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Wilton Manors

Details

Lunch Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. till 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon till 3 p.m. Dinner Monday-Thursday from 5 till 9:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday from 5 till 10 p.m

Call 561-218-1708

21073 Powerline Rd., Boca Raton

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As with any buffet, Kyojin has one notable flaw: It's not yet busy enough to keep the hot food from becoming stale. A shrimp dish had a skin on top; spring rolls tasted refried; tempura vegetables were doughy. But items like the sesame chicken retained both moisture and heat, and fried rice and a mellow noodle dish with cabbage were pleasant companions. This problem will improve, I'd imagine, as more customers discover Kyojin's upside: The made-to-order sushi buffet, which in my opinion is pretty much the only scenario under which a diner should be handling the raw materials.

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