Arang Korean/Sushi Buffet
I just wanted to say a quick thank you for all the emails I’ve gotten, many of them with some great suggestions. A lot of those suggestions urge me to branch out farther and farther from the places I have already reviewed. 9th avenue, the high 30s, Koreatown. Someone even suggested I go to Chinatown if I wanted “real authentic Chinese food“. Apparently she didn’t fully grasp the meaning of my blog’s very complex title. It is very confusing…
I kid, I kid. Although every day I struggle with where to draw the boundaries with this blog. I could say 8th ave. on the west, and 42nd St. to the south. But what if there’s a great place to eat on 41st. Am I really not going to walk the extra block? So the truth is, I’m not going to set any boundaries. And the reason is simple… No boundaries means I have an excuse to go all the way down to 32nd st. in Koreantown to write about my favorite all you can eat buffet… Arang.
One of my favorite styles of eating is the all you can eat buffet. The variety, the concept, the trying to beat the game by pushing your personal eating limits as far as they can go. What’s there not to like? (Besides how you feel afterwards). And nothing is going to get me to travel 16 blocks away from work like a $9.95 face stuffing Korean and Sushi extravaganza. Which is precisely what you get at Arang.
For those who work on the southern part of Midtown 32nd St. btw. Broadway and 5th Ave. is no big deal. But for those of us a little farther north, here’s the way I see it. There’s no ordering, and you start eating immediately… so- 20 minutes down, 20 minutes to eat, and 20 minutes back. It’s a full proof scheme.
Arang is what I refer to as a “small scale” buffet. Don’t expect Minado (the gigantic Japanese buffet on 32nd btw. 5+Madison, which sadely has been bought out by Todai) or some sort of Super Buffet. This is one of those small places with fewer items… but because it is small- you hope the few things they do have are done well.
What they have, the pictures and +/- after the jump…
Being that it is mainly a Korean place (and situated in the heart of Koreatown), there is a great selection of banchan. Those are the little dishes of pickled vegetables you get at any decent Korean place. They have kimchee (of course), bean sprouts, spinach and others. They also have a few hot Korean staples like Bulgogi, which is fair to decent depending on how fresh it is when you get there.
Then they had a bunch of nondescript Asian dishes that were definetely not Korean, but not exactly Thai, Chinese or Japanese. They had two noodle dishes, one which sort of resembled Pad Thai, and another that sort of resembled Lo Mein (the Lo Mein stuff was actually pretty good), a sweet and sour something, mussels in some sort of sauce, fried rice and a few other hot dishes that I didn’t try.
For finger foods, they had scallion pancakes (referred to as Pa Jon in Korean), a nice selection of shrimp and vegetable tempura, Fried chicken wings, fried zucchini , and some potstickers (which I ate 136 of- they go down like popcorn). Nothing was spectacular, but everything was edible, and seemed fairly fresh (something that might vary depending on what time of day you go).
As for the sushi, what do you expect? The buffet costs $9.95. I’m pretty sure none of this stuff was flown in from Japan- but it wasn’t that bad either. It’s especially helpful if you like rolls, some of which were surprisingly elaborate- and not stacked with so much rice like many buffets tend to do (that’s how they getcha!). If you like Eel rolls, any roll with tempura in it, or salmon and avocado- you’ll do just fine. It’s about the same quality as any of the fast food take out sushi you get at a decent deli… but it’s all you can eat! They also keep it covered in plastic- a nice touch that keeps it a little fresher.
THE + (What people who like this place would say)
- Nothing is great, but nothing is terrible… and if you really like Buffets, Korean food, and cheap sushi- this place is a great deal at $9.95
- Clean and seemingly fresh… especially considering the price (the freshness may vary depending on what time of the day you go- but I’ve been on a Saturday at 2:30pm and it was pretty fresh… so I’m guessing any time for lunch during the week you should be all right)
- The sushi and Korean banchan make it a little healthier then most Asian buffets… although if you’re looking for healthy, you probably shouldn’t be eating at buffet (just a little tip)
- Sit down eating, and a nice atmosphere, but it’s still a quick lunch (because it’s Buffet, and you don’t have to wait to be served)
THE – (What people who don’t like this place would say)
- There’s better and cheaper Korean food in the area… (it’s just not all you can eat)
- Nothing was very good (especially the hot korean food)… everything was just mediocre
- I was looking for a good, quality sushi buffet… and this place is not good sushi.
Arang (or A Rang) Korean & Sushi Buffet, 9 w. 32nd St. (btw. Broadway & 5th Ave. on the 2nd Floor.)