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Dining review: Bites between reps and reprimands

The Osaka Seafood Buffet is the latest offering to those who like their protein and those who object to 'all you can eat.'

September 28, 2012|By Rebecca Bryant
  • Osaka Seafood Buffet offers a wide variety of sushi.
Osaka Seafood Buffet offers a wide variety of sushi. (Raul Roa/Staff…)

The Chinese buffet looms large in certain circles. Bodybuilders blog about how to load up on protein, with articles like “A guide to getting huge on the cheap.” For obesity researchers, the Chinese buffet is the mecca of behavior analysis, where they discover obese customers are more likely to sit facing the food and less likely to use chopsticks than are normal-weight diners. And for the rest of us? We tend to fall into two camps: the squeamish and the ravenous. Those who wouldn't eat sushi from a buffet line if Nobu Matsuhisa himself inspected it first, and those who throw elbows to be the first to grab from a replenished tray of yellowtail.

Osaka Seafood Buffet is Glendale's newest hot spot for bodybuilders and obesity researchers, and yes, for the rest of us too. It's housed in the spot that used to be the Rusty Pelican, and more recently, and briefly, Minx nightclub, snuggled into the intersection of the 2 and the 134 and next to In-N-Out. The exterior is rock walls and sailcloth shades, and the interior a jumble of wood planking and marble. Long table after table now cover the recessed area where the Minx crowd used to dance, and serving stations snake where the thirsty once perched on their bar stools.

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Osaka, that's Japanese, you're thinking. Yes, but the food is a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American and more. Think French fries plated next to kimchi and you've got the idea.

The food's also a hit-and-miss proposition. Some items (short ribs) are good enough to fill your plate with, while others (spicy calamari) you might strongly consider depositing discreetly in your napkin.

Let's start with the short ribs. They're the best thing in the place, with tender, flavorful meat, just slightly sweet. But the chicken one tray over is a bit too salty. Keep going and you'll run into the Mongolian barbecue station, with an overworked cook trying to keep up, now cooking for one mountain of a man who's loaded noodles and a few vegetables on one plate and a pile of beef onto another, pretty much depleting the paper-thin curls of beef on one stainless tray. Mongolian barbecue, while tasty, is as much of a people-watching experience as it is a culinary one.

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