Wild Rice buffet is one of the latest contenders in the Central Florida rebirth of all-you-can-eat Asian buffets. The restaurant is on Lee Road in Winter Park in what once was a night club. It’s not too far from the famed Del Frisco’s Steakhouse, but the area is a little shabby and run down. The building, too, is also a bit worn. If you’re on Lee Road, you can’t miss it. The two-tone orange building and the near purple lettering of “Wild Rice” is something you couldn’t miss if you tried.
I’ve had the occasion to eat at Wild Rice a few times. My son lives in old Orlando, and when we get together, he wants to eat at Wild Rice or 4 Rivers Smokehouse. We haven’t had the patience to wait in line at 4 Rivers, so Wild Rice wins every time.
Despite its outer appearance, the restaurant is super clean and the quality of the food is good. Wild Rice has a lot to offer for a surprisingly good price, especially if you’re an all-you-can-eat kind of diner. There’s a hibachi grill that offers a variety of meat, seafood (at lunch, too), vegetables, and noodles cooked to order. A soup bar, something I’ve never seen in an Asian buffet, I think, offers something like a cross between Vietnamese Pho and miso-egg drop-won ton-hot and sour soup. (I admit; I found this confusing.) The sushi bar is impressive, and the sushi is made on the premises as you watch a sushi chef prepare and plate sushi and sashimi. The salad bar is fairly impressive with a large array of lettuce and vegetables. Then there’s one of my favorites, the chilled shrimp and oysters, kimchi, and octopus salad (I start at this bar).
The majority of the food is Chinese, but there are many American dishes, too. In addition to fried rice, lo mein, and steamed dumplings, you will also find chicken nuggets, french fries, steamed clams (yum), crawfish, chicken wings, ribs, corn, green beans, ham, pizza, and much more. There’s also a dessert bar, ice cream with assorted toppings, fresh fruit (I like the bananas with the red glaze), and pudding.
The service is awesome. Servers keep the tables clean and the glasses filled. Lunch is $7.95 a person; dinner is $11.95. That’s not bad for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Wild Rice accepts major credit cards but not American Express. Check out the menu at http://www.wildricebuffet.com/.