Eat this: Best buffets

A roundup of the best buffets in the Twin Cities.

Joe Cristo

College kids rarely eat until they’re full. No money means small, short meals punctuated by long stretches of “malnourishment.”

If you’re like me, you eat one meal a day, and that meal needs to be huge.

What better place to revel in variety and infinity than a buffet.

For this round-up, I decided to collect my thoughts on my favorite buffets in Minneapolis.

Gorkha Palace

This is already one of the best Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities. During lunch hours on Fridays, they bring out an extensive buffet filled with the best Nepali, Tibetan and Indian food. At $11, it is the cheapest way to try a great deal of Indian entrees.

The last time I went, I had the classic chicken tikka masala and the goan shrimp curry. The chicken tikka masala is hands-down one of the tastiest I’ve ever had. That’s no easy feat.

The goan shrimp curry was something I’d never had before. I am perpetually averse to “creamy” things — especially if they’re spicy. Once again, Gorkha didn’t disappoint. The sweetness of the tamarind blends nicely with the spicy flavor of the curry.

Gorkha’s biggest claim to fame is the very special momo. Momos are Nepali dumplings that are difficult to find around the Midwest. Gorkha’s version is filled with either organic turkey or bison, or you can get the more traditional veggie option. Either way, your choice will be a good one.

Marhaba Mediterranean

Mediterranean food has become my new favorite cuisine. Everything centers on the all-important olive. As an Italian-American, that’s something I can appreciate.

Marhaba’s buffet is stacked with incredible meat and seafood dishes. Its lunch buffet is $11 and entitles you to stacks of lamb and ribs.

When I went, I started with the famous lamb shank — easily one of the best treatments of lamb I’ve ever eaten. I’m used to the Italian ossobuco version, but this easily beats out the traditional fare. Be careful though: You can only take one lamb shank. If you take more, you’re charged extra.

The restaurant is admittedly a little run-down. Tables are dirty, service isn’t great and the signs saying which food is which are not in English. Usually, you can take this as a good omen — instead of focusing on the state of the restaurant, it focuses on your food.

Teppanyaki Grill and Supreme Buffet

My favorite food is sushi. Like most people, the steep price usually means I can only get a few pieces if any at all. That’s why I love going to a sushi buffet and gorging.

At Teppanyaki, there’s an entire section of maki-rolls and nigiri. You can try various fish on rice, or you can try the classic California roll. Everything sits beside a vat of ginger, a huge bowl of wasabi and bottles of eel sauce and spicy mayo.

As the name suggests, it has a teppanyaki bar as well. For the uninformed, teppanyaki is essentially a hibachi grill that chefs use to cook fresh food on. Since it’s a buffet, you choose what you want added to your concoction, and the chef puts it all together right in front of you.

Teppanyaki also has a disgusting array of various American food-stuffs as well: pizza, chicken wings, alfredo pasta and mac and cheese. Beware of these gross attempts at “food.”

Teppanyaki is only $9 during lunch. There is no deal better than that if you’re craving unlimited sushi.

Food cooked fresh is always better, but beggars can’t be choosers. That’s why buffets are the perfect way for college kids to binge-eat at an affordable price. They also offer an opportunity to try things you may not have thought to try since there is little financial risk.

Buffets are revolutionary, man.