With all of the excellent Asian options lining blocks in the Mills 50 district, it's beyond me why one would opt for a mediocre buffet serving underwhelming steam-table grub, but after visiting KoyWan Hibachi Buffet in Altamonte Springs at a packed lunch service, I guess I kind of get it.
At $7.95 ($4.25 per pound for takeout), the lunch buffet is a steal – especially considering the 15 kinds of sushi available, the custom hibachi offerings and the massive buffet tables waiting behind the grill tops. (Dinner is $10.95 or $5.25 per pound for takeout.) Unfortunately, most of the dishes I tasted weren't worth going back for seconds.
The sushi (priced by the piece for takeout, 60 cents each) was fine, and I was happy to take freshly made rolls from the sushi chef behind the counter rather than scoop up the ones that looked like they might have been sitting there since 11 a.m. While I left most on my plate, I took bites of insipid steamed buns stuffed with cloying bean paste, overcooked salt-and-pepper shrimps, and a strange crab-and-corn casserole baked in a blue crab shell that was tasty, but decidedly Western in flavor. I did enjoy a Chinese eggplant dish, as well as the chicken with mushrooms, both heavily doused with basic garlicky brown sauce.
If a Chinese buffet fills you with childhood sentiment (as it does me), by all means, fill your plate and gullet with memories of a simpler time before quality was a big deal.
KoyWan Hibachi Buffet
945 W. State Road 436, Altamonte Springs