Fairview Park, OH

Buffets Are Better with a Friend

Isla Chiu

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Photo by the author

The first few times I went out to eat at a restaurant by myself, I felt embarrassed when the host or hostess would ask, “Table for one?” because I would have to mumble, “Yes.” When I was a kid, it was cool and exciting for me to do things alone because it showed that I was *growing up*. But when I became an actual grown-up, I found it neither cool nor exciting to do things alone because the insecure little voice in my head thought people would look at me in pity and think, Look at this chubby sad girl eating a meal and two appetizers by herself. What a pathetic loser.

Thankfully, now, I’m (mostly) over this ridiculous fear, and I’ve realized that most people are too busy eating their own food to notice the solitary, obviously single Asian girl in the corner stuffing her face. But I still feel a mild hint of embarrassment when I go to buffets by myself because not only am I unaccompanied by a friend or beau, but I’m also about to indulge in a more-than-mildly-disgusting act of gluttony. When it comes to buffets, I don’t believe in eating until I’m satisfied. I believe in eating until I feel like I’m about to explode because I want to get my money’s worth (never mind that trying to beat a buffet is only slightly easier than trying to beat a casino, and never mind that the cost of the food I eat will most likely later be greatly outweighed by the cost of my future medical bills #BadDecisionsThyNameIsIslaChiu #Isn’tMyHashtagsGameOnPoint).

Although I don’t have many friends, I do have a few friends (I know! It’s incredibly shocking). And when I go to a buffet with a friend, I enjoy myself more. The pleasure of eating good food loves company; the misery of eating too much food loves company even more.

Last week, a friend and I went to Kintaro Sushi & Hot Pot, a restaurant in Fairview Park, Ohio that offers — you guessed it — all you can eat sushi and hotpot. My friend opted for the hotpot. I opted for the sushi.

My friend ordered a reasonable amount of food. I, of course, did not. I ordered a bowl of miso soup, two spring rolls, gyozas, shumai, salmon nigiri, red tuna nigiri, red snapper nigiri, yellowtail nigiri, a rainbow roll, soba noodles in beef soup, teriyaki chicken, and Thai tea with boba.

Unlike other buffets, the food at Kintaro is made to order, so my rainbow roll and nigiri were fresh and picturesque (see photo above).

When I was a kid, I hated sushi and couldn’t understand why people were willing to pay money for raw fish. Now I’m more ~refined~ (*snickers*) and I can’t stand fish unless it’s raw (or deep-fried #IReallyDoNotTreatMyBodyLikeATemple).

As always, everything I ordered at Kintaro was delicious. The fish was fresh and flavorful, something that I can’t say honestly for the sushi at some buffets, but something that I can say with confidence for the sushi at Kintaro. The boba tea was also good, and in addition to the traditional tapioca balls, it also came with popping boba. The non-sushi food was tasty as well.

And all of it tasted even better in the company of a friend.

If you’re ever in the Cleveland area and craving ungodly amounts of good sushi, here is Kintaro’s website.

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I write about local eats in the Cleveland area and my struggles of trying to make it as a full-time writer.

Cleveland, OH
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