My first encounter with the King Asian Buffet was last year. Then it was my understanding that Shine’s, a small store-front sushi and order-from-the-menu Japanese themed restaurant, had expanded and taken over the previous operation. Last summer we made an exploratory visit to the Shine’s new facility in Wasilla. We were pleased enough that we returned several times during that summer, always pleased with the offerings.
Shine’s Wasilla is larger than the Eagle River restaurant, large enough that they have a walk around, serve yourself, all you can eat bar. One section has self-serve sushi featuring many of the most commonly ordered items. Small amounts were offered at a time, frequently renewed, and the selections looked and tasted fresh. There were a large number of hot item in a fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes as well. Over all the food offered appeared to be a cut above the usual all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets. Also included in the hot food section was Shine’s signature tempura shrimp, a definite plus. An adjacent wall serving table was covered with many dessert items including fruit, puddings, Jell-O, cakes and cookies. The dining area is well lit and uncrowded, the staff quick to greet, bring beverages and keep the cleared of used plates and provide clean plates for second helpings.
Last year’s visits were pleasing experiences, enough so that the twenty mile drive did not seem to be unwarranted. The food was very good and of high quality, the service excellent. The twenty mile drive to revisit King Asian Buffet this year, however, was a bit excessive for the quality of the food offered. Last year the buffet food was near the quality of order-from-the-menu fare. This year the food is of the same class as most other all you can eat Chinese buffets. Also missing were the Shine’s tempura shrimp.
do not know if Shine’s is still the owner and operator or if they have just modified their offerings and focus. The present menu offers a large selection of order-from-the-menu items including sushi, Chinese dishes, and confusing to me, a selection of Shine’ Dinners, featuring teriyaki and tempura dishes ranging in price from $10 to $16. I must admit that I have not sampled the menu offerings, though I might sometime in the future. An interesting item on the take-home-to-go menu is all-you-can-eat to go sold by the pound. Seafood limited, lunch $5.29 and dinner $5.99. Seniors and military with ID are offered a 10% discount.
Although this year’s visit found the food to be of lesser quality than previous visits, the staff was attentive and catered without being obtrusive. Although a meal at King doesn’t warrant a long drive, were I passing by on other errands about lunch time, I would consider stopping by for typical all-you-can-eat Chinese food buffet food.