Friday, June 22, 2012

Astaria--San Mateo, CA (Father's Day buffet)

For Father's Day Jenny surprised me with a buffet at Astaria. Buffets aren't the norm at Astaria, but exceptions have been made for Mother's Day and, in our case, Father's Day. To accommodate the buffet, the food was served in a large dining hall in the neighboring Draper University. Astaria aimed to make this a "man's brunch" and with the amount of meat available, I thought they achieved that goal. 

My favorite dish of the day, though, wasn't a meat but the eggs benedict. The first one I tried was right on the mark--very soft but without liquid. Not able to believe Astaria could do this twice in a row, I tried another. Alas, it was very runny. I have the following observations of other dishes:

The spicy sausage (there were three other types) had a lot of heat, but it was great. The cream corn was delicious and crunchy. Dark meat chicken, served with other barbecue items, was tender an had a rich smokey flavor. It was my second-favorite dish of the day. Of the ribs, two were tender and scrumptious but one was tough. Chicken was also served deep fried, but tastefully so--it was deboned and tender. It could have used a little more salt, though.

I really have to credit Astaria for their presentation of some of the items. The shrimp cocktail was a work of art and another delight was the seafood pasta, loaded with mussels and clams.

The kids' favorite was the fruit (blueberries, strawberries and melon), which Astaria did a great job displaying. Astaria also had the requisite omelet station. While good, it wasn't anything above and beyond.

As for the desserts, what stood out the most was the chocolate bark. The sweetness from the chocolate went well with the embedded pretzel bits.

Sunday was hot and I'd been feverish for a day. As such, I wasn't active Father's Day and our visit to Astaria was the highlight of my day. I'd love to go again, but that said, at $39 per adult and a whopping $15 per seven-year old, it's pricey. There were add-ons, too, that were at least mildly annoying. Orange juice was extra, at $3 per glass, whereas virtually every other buffet in this price-range would offer complementary drinks. Finally, it was with some gall that they charged 18% service. I say "gall" because we were just a party of four and this was, after all, a buffet where we got our own food. That said, service was very attentive.
Astaria Restaurant
50 East Third Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-9444