Monday, April 25, 2011

Tin Tin : Charlotte, NC

Buffets aren't usually my thing.  I prefer quality over quantity and buffets generally do the opposite.

But my Dad is more adventurous about trying out Chinese buffets and thought that Tin Tin buffet was worth a look.

Certainly they've got the variety in spades, offering your standard Americanized Chinese favorites, beef and broccoli, fried rice, and lo-mein and also your Chinesified American favorites: chicken wings, pizza, French fries, and various desserts like jello and chocolate cakes.

Like other Chinese buffets, they also feature sushi, which like other Chinese buffets, suffers from the fact it sits out en masse.

They also offer a more "healthy" salad bar, which is decently fresh.

And here's where it gets a bit interesting, at least from a variety standpoint.  They have a Chinese noodle soup area, where you can pick out your vegetables, meats, dumplings and they'll put together a noodle soup for you.

Here is what I grabbed: shrimp, boiled egg, chicken, egg noodles in a chicken broth.  (I think I would try something different next time: the shrimp was overcooked and the broth was so-so).

They also feature a grill area, frying up dumplings, scallion pancakes, and chestnut and radish cakes for you.  (Also, spotty from a quality standpoint.  Dumplings were dried out and the scallion pancakes and radish cakes were cooked more towards the Americanized side.)

What was surprising to me was that some of the buffet entries were not your standard Chinese buffet offerings  and furthermore, that quality-wise, held up.  Below is a beef tendon stew served inside of a (banana?) leaf bowl.  Given that this was a stew, this could have flown in an entree-driven restaurant.

... and here is a shrimp taro stir-fry, which also was surprisingly good, probably my favorite of all of the dishes in this place.

Below, they offered mango sticky rice, which though did not quite hit the mark (overly sweet, mushy rice texture, not so sweet mangos), did receive some points just for the fact that they offered it at all.

They also offered rice porridge, which was on par with some of the versions that you can get at an average dim sum place.

Now, clearly, some areas in Tin Tin could use more care (the noodle and grill areas were two of the obvious places) and I would still not voluntarily request to go here over trying out other places. However, so far as Chinese buffets go, this is probably the best one I've been to, at least seemingly trying to not let quality flag so badly, while pushing on the variety front.

Tin Tin
10215 Park Road Charlotte, NC 28210-7828 (Maps)
(704) 341-2293

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