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Harvest Buffet: Diverse tastes of the Orient at Harvest Buffet

Steak is a usual item. There was porterhouse cut into half-inch thick strips the night I was there. Prime rib had been carved before you the weekend before. Italian (pizza) and American (New England clam and a side of baked salmon) seem to be staples.

On a Saturday night at 6 p.m. I had to wait for a table, but no one seemed to mind. The buffet bars take center stage with dazzling bright lighting through out. Once seated and my bubble tea from Taiwan ordered, I headed for the sushi bar.

Two sushi chefs are on duty. They provided an extra-stuffed tofu pocket one night and seaweed cones another. There's a nice selection of sashimi tidbits and sushi with eel, shrimp, octopus and a scallop pinwheel. There is also a hot casserole, the kind that simmers in the middle of the table in winter in the Orient, with squares of tofu, hollowed out, stuffed with crushed shrimp then batter fried. There's scallion pancakes cut in wedges. At the far end of the sushi bar, there are trays of oysters on the half shell, clams too, and all the go-alongs - lemon wedges, cocktail sauce and more.

Next, I sampled the buffet bar at the east end, which featured Thai items including chicken, steak and a casserole with coconut milk and curry.

Meanwhile, to the right and to the left, people were carrying plates heaped skyward with crab claws to their table. Crab claws here larger than usual, and are one of the main features. Plates of shrimp are another (I'll take the jumbo shrimp with roasted walnuts or batter-dipped oysters). And I noticed that small (the meat is more tender) Little Neck clams stir-fried with black bean sauce are becoming a really hot item.

On my second visit I counted six intriguing hot soups. There are mussels numerous ways including in a Tom Yum sauce - tangy and wonderful - as are fried frogs legs with garlic sauce.

The green vegetables (always two green ones) surprised me. One night there was Chinese broccoli, utterly delicious, and the next visit, mustard greens, but just the white rib - so tender and good. Mushrooms taste extra special.

On the salad buffet there are mini octopus, a delicacy. (They don't grow any bigger). Transparent jellyfish salad is excellent. And seaweed salad, which as much as I like seaweed salad, didn't thrill me. The rest of the salads were very American - egg salad and Waldorf salad for instance.

Harvest has a dessert bonanza. I skipped the mini chocolate mousse tarts, the napoleons, the barrage of layer cakes and the soft ice creams and did as the Chinese do - had a cold (or hot) porridge that is considered a soup/dessert (tong sill). Warm tapioca with taro was the ultimate. And another night I had a frosty tapioca smoothie - coconut with red beans (red beans are to Asians what chocolate is to Americans) and a mini cream roll with a puff pastry finger, chocolate frosted. Hong Kong napoleons were another treat another night - waffles, cut in fingers, cream filled. Hot coffee and tea is there for the pouring.

Holidays are celebrated at Harvest Buffet with style. Fire crackers hang on high for the new Lunar new year celebration, and special items were added to the menu, including roast squab, suckling pig and steamed jumbo oysters on the half shell.

Hearts were on display for Valentine's Day and there was a special menu, too. For birthday parties the waiters/waitresses march single file to the table clapping and singing. Gift certificates are available. For takeout, just fill a plastic box and have it weighed to be priced per pound.

I shall return. But I'm bringing chopsticks, and then it will be perfect.

The Bottom Line

A great selection of all-you-can-eat gourmet Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes. Some Italian and American. All ultra fresh looking, tasting. A dessert bonanza. Bubble teas and smoothies. Holidays celebrated. Takeout by the pound.

Harvest Buffet

14 Northern Blvd.

Great Neck

516-498-1888

fax 516-498-1999

Chef's Choice

Buffet entrees

Grilled Chilean Sea bass with Terriyaki Sauce

Grilled Salmon with Saffron Sauce

Korean Style Veal Chops

Little Neck Clams with Black Bean Sauce

Thai-Style Chicken Rolls

Jumbo Shrimp with Roasted Walnuts

Grilled T-Bone Steak

Sea Scallops with Black Pepper Sauce

Batter-Fried Jumbo Oyster

Lunch: Mon-Fri $9.95. Sat $11.95

Dinner: Mon-Thurs $17.95, Fri-Sun & Holidays $18.95

Brunch: Sun $12.95

Carry-Out Buffet: At least 3 items per takeout-Mon-Sat: L $4.95/lb., D $5.95/lb., Sun $5.50/lb.

Only seafood $9.95/lb

Cuisine: All-you-can eat gourmet buffet--Chinese, Japanese, Korean, some Italian & American

Setting: Brightly lit tables, well labeled

Hours: L Mon-Sat. D 7 days. Brunch Sun

Reservations: Mon -Fri

Parking: Wrap around lot

Location: Just over city line. S side

Dress: Casual

Children: Under 10, 1/2 price. Under 2 free

Takeout: By the pound

Off-premise catering: None

Private parties: To 150

Smoking: None

Noise level: Fri & Sat pleasantly noisy

Handicap access: Yes

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