Shanghai Avenue Super Buffet: New BA eatery's owner speaks through his food
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, January 17, 2013
3/28/13 at 7:48 AM
When Huang Min came to the United States from China in 1996, he first worked on a farm in Hawaii, then followed friends to Shawnee, Okla., where he eventually would open a Chinese buffet restaurant.
"He had some building problems and was going to have to relocate the restaurant," said Dr. Xiling Wang. "We are good friends, and I had this spot open in the shopping center, so he decided to move here."
Wang, part owner of the shopping center where Huang's new Shanghai Avenue Super Buffet is located in Broken Arrow, served as interpreter for our interview. The restaurant is in a building that formerly held another Chinese buffet.
"He had to start from scratch," Wang said. "It had to have all new plumbing, a new fire suppression system, everything, so it took months to get it renovated."
Shanghai Avenue has a lengthy menu, but as with most of these types of restaurants, 99 percent of the customers go for the buffet.
The five food stations hold a pretty standard lineup of dishes, with a heavy emphasis on chicken - honey chicken, chicken teriyaki, cashew chicken, curry chicken, chicken wings, sweet-and-sour chicken, General Tso's chicken, coconut chicken, chicken and broccoli, etc. The only seafood I saw the night we dined there was spicy grilled shrimp, mussels and peel-and-eat shrimp.
My wife filled one plate, and I loaded two-plus plates - someone has to be the hero - to try as many items off the buffet that we could.
I passed on the mussels but had both shrimp dishes, and they were fine. Other items that stood out were the chicken teriyaki (much more flavorful and tender than it appeared to be), lightly fried honey chicken, fried green beans, cashew chicken (with chunks of zucchini and carrot), fried rice with egg, beef and broccoli, barbecue short ribs, tapioca pudding, and a chocolate mocha mousse cake.
I expected General Tso's chicken to be spicier, but it was mild and heavily breaded. Moo goo gai pan seemed to have an off flavor of some sort, and egg rolls were tiny and nondescript.
Among dessert choices were soft-serve ice cream, cookies, puddings and peach cobbler.
Youthful servers were quick to pick up used dishes from the tables and refill drinks when needed.
Wang said notables in the kitchen are Yiao, a chef from the Guang Dong province of China, and part-timers Zhang, who also works at P.F. Chang's China Bistro, and Guo, who also works at Southern Hills Country Club.
The restaurant seats 150, and a large room can be reserved for private functions. Children's birthday parties include a cap, cup and a trip to a treasure chest.
The restaurant is located just south of Kenosha Street (71st Street) on Aspen Avenue (145th East Avenue).
SHANGHAI AVENUE SUPER BUFFET
803 N. Aspen Ave., Broken Arrow
(on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
Lunch, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4-10 p.m. Monday-Friday,
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday-
Sunday; lunch $6.45 ($3.69
ages 4-10), dinner $7.95
($4.69 ages 4-10); accepts
all major credit cards.
Original Print Headline: Culinary language
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
General Tso's chicken with broccoli, rice and egg drop soup from the buffet are served at Shanghai Avenue Super Buffet. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
The buffet food stations feature a wide variety of hot entrees, vegetables, salads, bread, soups and desserts. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World