Sometimes I like to go fancy. I’ll put on a shirt with a collar, pants without any holes and shoes instead of sneakers and dine at a place with tablecloths and an actual waiter. Other times though, when I am really hungry and don’t want to spend a lot of money, I’ll look for a place where I can just chow down on the cheap. Enter Old Country Buffet.
I have to say that I am a big fan of this place. A lot of buffet places roll out pretty bad food, but OCB really makes an effort to offer edible items. And sometimes, the food is actually really good!
To make it an even better deal, I usually wait until I get one of the coupons that are sent to me as a result of signing up with their e-mail club. Then I arrive hungry and ready to dive into the many treats here.
The food isn’t all as fattening and unhealthy as you might think. My first stop here is usually at their well-appointed salad bar. Besides the many vegetables, toppings and dressings, there are some interesting prepared salads, like the broccoli salad, for example.
Now that I’ve had some vegetables, I usually move on to my friends’ favorite area – the make-your-own taco bar. The taco bar has everything you need to make great-tasting tacos, from taco shells and chips, to spicy ground beef and shredded chicken to vegetables and toppings. I would imagine that this station would be a hit with the kids as well.
After all of the good salads and starters, the entrees here are a little bit of a letdown. Avoid some of the dishes like the runny macaroni and cheese and the tasteless fried fish and go straight to the meats. Although they have a pretty good carving station with tender baked ham and not-so-tender steak, the best thing you can get is their great fried chicken. The chicken comes out at regular intervals, so it’s always warm and it comes out perfectly fried and juicy, without being greasy. If you want to jazz up your food, you can visit a condiment table nearby called “Spice Market.”
Regulars at OCB know not to overdo it with the entrees to be able to leave room for their super dessert stations. You can enjoy everything from fresh-baked cookies to bread pudding and cobblers to cakes and brownies to soft-serve ice cream (with toppings). They’ve even been offering new desserts like a tasty tres leches cake. Who knew that Old Country Buffet was innovative? My personal favorites are the carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting), the chocolate cake and the tres leches cake. Yum.
Note that the policy for drinks being included with the price of the meal was changed recently. While the price of meals was slightly reduced, it no longer included drinks from their “drinks bar.” So if you want to have drinks included with your meal, you have to pay an extra fee. I can be happy with just getting water, but they do have a great selection of sodas, including Cherry Coke, Mello Yello and grape soda, which are hard to find in restaurants. They also have an “Icee” machine, for those people who want that with their meal. There are also some coffee drinks offered.
Old Country Buffet remains popular because it serves its purpose of offering good food at a low price well. If you can avoid the occasional bus tour, you could do a lot worse than this place for the price.
Old Country Buffet
7820 Richmond Highway
Alexandria, VA 22306