September 9, 2022 | OPINION | By Sam Treat | Photos by author
For many, the large neon sign that adorns the massive building (although complex might be a more fitting term) that King Buffet inhabits is not an invitation to dine but a warning to stay away. Many have argued that buffets and buffet-style restaurants are nothing more than testaments to the gluttonous nature of the modern American. Exactly, I would say. While sure, all things in moderation –– to not indulge is to not live.
Anybody who has not had the pleasure of patronizing an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet may not understand the echelon of decor and ambiance displayed. Allow me to enlighten those so woefully left in the dark. The first eye-capturing piece is a ten-foot-tall tube fish tank. However, despite how it may appear to some, none of the fish in the tank are real. In fact, if there were to be a thread of continuity in my experience at King Buffet, it’s that nothing is as it seems.
Your instincts, for example, may tell you to avoid the Colorado Springs Buffet sushi — your instincts are wrong. At a minimum, I recommend at least one plate full of sushi. One highlight of the sushi-eating experience at King Buffet is the copious amounts of ginger and seaweed salad, something that many sushi establishments may skimp on. Another must-try is the sesame chicken, which is battered, crisp, and always restocked (as it is their most popular item).
For the more adventurous eaters, I would point you in the direction of the Mongolian grill section. There, customers create a bowl of raw ingredients (including the meat of their choice) and watch as a chef masterfully cooks those ingredients on a hot stone in front of them. The sizzle and pop of the stone gave me confidence that my meat would be fully cooked, and thankfully, I was correct.
The choice of sauce is perhaps the most important aspect of the Subway-esque options one might be faced with, and there are a staggering nine options to choose from. Furthermore, if your creation disappoints you, you have nobody to blame but yourself –– another beautiful life lesson from the King.
There are, unfortunately, several things I recommend avoiding at King Buffet. As many prolific buffet explorers know, in order to truly stretch your dollar to its utmost extent, one must approach the food with strategy and foresight. Avoiding fried items (especially the fried seafood) and rice is key, as both will fill you up before you have the opportunity to truly take advantage of the American need for consumption epitomized by the rows and rows of food before your eyes.
If you do make the mistake of over-consuming, or for some strange reason you test your luck with any of the three differently colored jello (really, three of them?), the bathroom line is out the door. You won’t be alone in your intestinal misery.
Dessert, being the most important meal of them all, is not forgotten at King Buffet. In fact, an entire station is devoted to indulgence in a strange medley of sugary creations, from the chocolate fondue fountain to the Chinese donuts. The only theme of the dessert station is mass consumption.
The dining experience at King Buffet is worth your time. To sit in a room surrounded by Colorado Springs locals and observe the different choices and methods of buffet-eating is a beautiful thing in itself. This recent trip to King Buffet included sitting there while groups of rambunctious children with no parental oversight repeatedly threw food at me and ran circles around our table, with their fingers and mouths covered in what appeared to be a concoction of chocolate and sweet and sour sauce. That’s just something you just can’t get at Rastall.
Far too many of my compatriots refused to even consider joining me on my foray to King Buffet. I believe it is time to put those preconceived notions aside, and for once in a while, to indulge. However, in a word of warning from a friend who did join me, “I am glad I went drunk.”