Since we’re not sure how to swing this whole Plaza Fiesta thing, Ash, Steve, Adam and I started with the infamous Asian Pearl. They have billboards all over, advertising the large multicultural buffet. It’s also easy to spot from the street, and since two of us had skipped lunch that day, it seemed like a great place to start. “Seemed” being the operative word.
The place is fairly big. Besides the double-sided cold buffet, which is shaped like a boat, there is the hibachi buffet, sushi buffet, and probably four or five hot bars of food. The physical atmosphere is pretty typical for a buffet… fake plants, TVs on the wall, etc. But the whole place was a bit sticky and not quite clean, which was not encouraging.
Then we had some problems getting seated. The restaurant is decently sized, but the waitress kept trying to seat us on top of kids. Like, the table is full, the kid is in a high chair in the aisle, very close the the adjacent table, most of the tables in the restaurant are empty and they tried to sit us at the table where you would have to lift heavy plates of food over small skulls, while squeezing into the table. After we said no thanks, we were escorted to another table. With the exact same problem. So we awkwardly rejected it again and sat ourselves a little farther away.
This place was packed with kids. Like most childless twenty-somethings, I do have a (potentially unfair) aversion to hordes of children, especially when they are left to wander all over the restaurant. So this wasn’t adding to my experience either.
And then there was the food. Oh geez. I am fairly certain most of this food had been sitting out for hours. A lot of the items were hard, crusty, or at a questionable temperature. What was okay, was just average, not great, and these dishes were either the standard fare of buffets, or something you can’t really screw up, like jello. Ashley had the some stuff from the hibachi grill and said the shrimp definitely tasted funky. Which is probably true, but speaking for myself, I was so skeezed out at this point, everything started to seem very unappealing and questionable. I have a hard time believing that their last health score really was 83. Since I wasn’t looking for a brush with certain death, I skipped the raw oyster bar – I’ll try it somewhere more reputable.
|Check out the cold crust on that stuffed crab. Rubbery.|
Being thoroughly grossed out at this point, I barely touched dessert, though I did try some rice pudding. I love rice pudding but – and who knew this was possible – this rice pudding smelled like a hot, sweaty, unwashed, high school gym. No, joke, my dessert smelled like BO, and I almost died. Okay, I lived, but I was very concerned. You see, I caught a big whiff right as my mouth was closing – too late to take evasive action. After choking that bite down, I was done. Luckily for me – and unluckily for the Pearl – we were all done.
You can keep your $10 buffet, Asian Pearl. If that’s the best you can do on a Friday night I see no need to ever visit you again. I am still surprised that none of us got food poisoning. Adam’s quotable quote on this eatery is as follows: “We tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, but it refused to take it.” A quick glance at some online reviews shows me that many people have shared this experience over the past three years, with no attempt at improvement on the part of Asian Pearl. Forget it. A unanimous 1.5 stars.
Asian Pearl Buffet
4166 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30345