I have fond memories of Golden Corral. I used to love it, but for some reason my friends hate it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, so we went recently. Now, it’s sad to say that I agree with my friends. Back in the day, I was very picky and didn’t have a wide range of tastes. I was also very poor, and going to Golden Corral was such a treat! Now that I’m not poor and I have a huge range of tastes, I think I’ve outgrown the place. Also, there were things that I loved that they no longer do. I think they’ve gotten lazy and cut some corners. I have a higher standard these days and they don’t meet them at all.
You used to be able to go up to the steak station, pick a steak, and they would cooked it right there in front of you. The station is still there and they do cook there, but it’s not like it used to be. They just cook a steak and toss it into a bin, where you just pick one from the bin to eat. The steaks are piled on top of each other, juices dripping out, basking in the steam, drying out. As soon as we got it to the plate, it was dry, rubbery, with no seasoning. We used to like the steaks, but now it’s not worth it. My husband calls it a “steak sauce kind of steak”. We typically don’t use steak sauce on a good steak, but this steak wasn’t good.
They used to bring you out a fresh basket of yummy rolls. I used to LOVE the rolls. Now they sit under a heat lamp and you just grab them off the pan. The roll was stiff on the bottom and mushy in the middle. It was disgusting. I tried two of them and they were awful.
The mashed potatoes and brown gravy was good, but it’s kinda hard to screw that up. This is what it’s like at all buffets. It’s a staple and it’s generally fine. Although, it’s pretty sad to say that the mash was the best thing on the buffet! It’s a pretty big buffet in general with lots of choices, which made it great for going with a group of people. Perhaps it’s too much to keep up with? I’ve been to some good buffets, so “it’s a buffet” is NOT an acceptable excuse for the lack of quality.
I decided to try the rotisserie chicken and it was fine. It was tender enough. It wasn’t all that flavorful, but it salvaged my dinner. I’ve had way better rotisseries recently, and this did not stand up even a little bit to it. The corn on the cob wasn’t that bad either – just add some butter and salt.
My husband prefers sweet corn to corn on the cob, and with some salt and pepper he thought it was fine. He also decided to try the meatloaf since the steak didn’t go over well. He put some brown gravy on it, and it was eatable. We’ve come to appreciate a good meatloaf and we’ve had far better than this. It was more bland than it should have been and not tender enough. It’s not as aromatic and flavorful as we’ve had elsewhere.
After a disappointing dinner, my husband had the bright idea to have dessert. First of all, is it too much to ask that they clean up the area? That’s messy and standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria. Take some time to run a towel over it and clean up that water!
My husband loved the banana pudding. He loved the fresh bananas in it, and said it was very banana flavored. It’s a shame that this was the best thing at the buffet for him. With his glowing review of the pudding, I decided to try the chocolate pudding. If you can get banana pudding right, then chocolate pudding should be easy….. right?
I hated it. Most buffet puddings are awful, which is why I typically don’t have it. I wasn’t surprised that it was lumpy and stale tasting. It’s a real shame! I used to love coming here, but now it’s not worth my money. For the same cost, we can go up the road to Cracker Barrel and have a far better meal. Part of it’s draw was American comfort food, but Cracker Barrel has that with a better cook, better service, and a better dining atmosphere. Why spend at Golden Corral when you can opt for something better? I guess I owe my friends an apology for doubting them. I’m sorry.