Lin Buffet & Grill located near the Karns in Hampden Centre has been open a few years now, but this past Sunday was my first visit to the large eatery, which features a buffet with a mind-boggling array of choices.
When I arrived during the lunch hour, I was struck by the steady stream of people coming and going as I scratched my head and pondered over the size of the establishment. It turns out that the restaurant is much larger than it appears from the outside. I found out later that it seats approximately 300 and spans 9,000 square feet.
The first thing we laid eyes upon when entering were two attractive waterfall walls and an attentive, smiling employee who greeted us and led us to a seat in a room in the back of the restaurant. As I walked through the establishment, I couldn’t help but admire the décor, which I would describe as contemporary with clean lines. Focal points included a color-changing “swirled” wall in the front seating area and a white ceiling above the buffet backlit with pink and blue LED lights.
As for food selection, I could spend quite a bit of time enumerating the many dishes available, but your eyes might glaze over, so I’ll touch upon the highlights starting at the salad station, which featured typical choices found at most salad bars. Seasoned buffet denizens tend to give the salad bar short shrift, but isn’t it nice to have options?
Other lighter choices include a variety of seafood, from the popular crab legs (which I’m sure many make a beeline for, judging by the note asking guests to take only five at a time), to options like salmon, whitefish, cod, peel-and-eat shrimp, clams and even crawfish.
Those who like their food cooked to order can head to the stir-fry station to choose the protein and vegetables they want and watch the chef cook up a customized dish.
Adjacent to the stir-fry station is a sushi bar, which features a choice of at least a half-dozen varieties of rolls for the taking.
Popular Asian dishes are also available and range from General Tso’s chicken, to beef and broccoli, Lo Mein, shumai, kimchi and more.
Those on a high-protein diet will have plenty of options as well, like pepper steak, duck, pulled pork, chicken on a stick and Italian sausage, to name a few.
Winter is a good time to warm the insides with a nice cup of soup, and Lin offered several selections when I visited: WonTon, miso, hot and sour and clam chowder.
There are items that will appeal to the children as well, like pizza and hand-dipped ice cream, not to mention the chocolate fountain complete with long sticks for dipping cookies, fruit and marshmallows.
We filled our plates with a variety of dishes. I chose garlic shrimp, chicken on a stick, shumai, pepper steak and sushi. The chicken on a stick was delicious and moist, and the pepper steak and sushi were flavorful as well. I was a little disappointed that the shrimp wasn’t deveined in the garlic shrimp dish, so do keep that in mind.
My dining partner enjoyed the duck, pulled pork, BBQ ribs and the garlicky green beans in oyster sauce. He said the kimchi was the best he ever had.
Meanwhile, employees made a point to keep watch over our area to ensure that drinks were refilled and plates were removed in short order. I also noticed that they quickly refilled items on the buffet as they were depleted.
Before ending the meal, I decided to return for a little something sweet, and the coconut macaroons were calling my name, so I gave them a nice dip in the chocolate fountain, which was a good decision.
Not only did we leave happy, but we were able to skip dinner that evening, as well, and the price was right at $13.99 per person (less for a child’s meal). If you want to save a few dollars, you can visit the lunch buffet Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and pay only $8.59 per adult.
For those who have friends, or family who are picky eaters, Lin’s is a destination that offers a little something for everyone.
Next Up: Dinner at Scalles in Carlisle