Mondays are dedicated to restaurant reviews. This week, you get two opinions for the price of one. Time for another He Said, She Said for Carrie and me. But we’re changing things up!
Here’s how it works:
- We went to the same Houston-area restaurant at different times.
- It’s our first time eating at the restaurant.
- We read no previous reviews.
- We write our reviews separately. UPDATE : One person writes the review, the other person reacts to what was written.
Atmosphere: (3) Star
Brief Take: Georgia’s is primarily a market specializing in natural foods, including organic, often local produce as well as a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan products. Bulk spices, grains and teas are available. That being said, it is unlikely that you will be wow-ed by the atmosphere. Nestled in the back corner of the market, the café offers breakfast and lunch buffets 7 days a week. It feels as though you’ve turned back time to a simpler, slower life. An employee comes around to each table with a cart offering a wide variety of hot teas steeped in individual pots for each customer. Simple wooden tables and chairs…nothing fancy. But there is something appealing about being surrounded by fresh, wholesome ingredients. The ambiance is bumped up a notch on the weekends when there is live music from 11:30 to 1.
The React: I’ve never seen anything like this place–a makeshift restaurant buried in a health food market! Carrie’s right, nothing fancy, but it all works for me, and there is something very appealing about being surrounded by fresh produce. Think I just had a light bulb moment. We caught the live music. Jack Johnson he was not, but it did add a nice touch of mellowness.
Menu Selection: (4) Stars
Brief Take: I don’t really know how to rate this, as there is no menu selection. You choose from the soup and salad buffet or the buffet that includes the hot menu items. However, if we rate this category based upon the # of items in the buffet, the salad buffet gets a 5, the hot buffet gets a 3…so I guess we’ll call it a 4. Both buffets include fresh bread, drinks (tea, hot or iced, or lemonade), and dessert.
The React: I couldn’t agree more with this assessment. So, I won’t write anymore.
Pricing: (4) Stars
Brief Take: Soup and salad buffet: $8.50; soup, salad, and hot entrees buffet: $11.00. Considering the freshness and variety, the price is well worth it.
The React: We got there at 10:30 on a Saturday, that’s like the absolute worst time to hit any buffet. There were obviously switching things over. At that moment, I wouldn’t have eaten there for free. But they got it together, and I would agree that the pricing was adequate.
Taste: (3.5) Stars
Brief Take: The salad bar is definitely the star of this show. I dare say it is the best salad bar I’ve seen. All of the typical players were available…6 kinds of greens, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. But, the unique items such as freshly grated garlic and ginger, flax seed, fresh cilantro and mint, beets, jicama, and pumpkin seeds (just to name a few) were plentiful. Prepared salads (pasta, tuna, chicken) were also available. The tuna salad with apples and pecans was delicious, as was the chicken and pasta salads. Skip the tuna pasta salad…it lacked flavor and with all of the other options, there is no need to fill up on mediocre choices. The fruit portion of the salad bar, while not as extensive, was also noteworthy. Unlike most salad bars, there were several unusual options…not just variations on melon. Papaya, pineapple, apples, and watermelon and several other choices were accompanied by plain and strawberry yogurt. The hot buffet items of the day were brown rice, vegetarian chili, steamed broccoli, fresh corn, shrimp with vegetables, chicken primavera, and lemon pepper bass. The rice, broccoli and corn were as advertised. Nothing special, but cooked well with a little crunch left in the broccoli and no crunch to the rice. The vegetarian chili had a nice spicy kick to it. Unfortunately, the shrimp with vegetables and chicken primavera felt like real buffet food. Overcooked and underseasoned.. The bass was the surprise of the day. While I thought it, too, would suffer from buffet syndrome, it was unexpectedly tender and juicy with good flavor. The dessert options were carrot cake or chocolate cake. Not bad flavor-wise, but a little dried out from sitting out in individual portions. In other words, don’t bother saving room for dessert…have another plate of salad.
The React: Most everything was fresh, but under seasoned. No problem with that–it’s why they invented a salt shaker. I agree that you should probably skip the tuna pasta salad…pretty ho hum. Do not skip the sweet chicken salad! I put some on toasted wheat bread and topped it with cole slaw–awesome! In fact, the best thing I had on the entire buffet. My biggest surprise was the vegetarian chili. What was referred to as “textured protein” looked AND tasted like ground meat. I too tried both the carrot and chocolate cakes, not bad for a buffet, but I caught mine right when they came out.
Service: (4) Stars
Brief Take: Again, the buffet style does not lend itself well to rating the service; however, everyone that we encountered in Georgia’s was friendly and helpful. It was a little intimidating since we didn’t know how it worked (there are no cashiers at the café; you pay at the front of the store), but the staff quickly set us straight.
The React: Well said Carrie, couldn’t agree more.
Overall Opinion: (4) Stars
Summary: OK, so Georgia’s isn’t going to be a five star dining experience, but this place does what it does well. Honestly, next time I would probably just go for the soup and that amazing salad. Even if you’re not into the café offerings, it is worth the drive to Georgia’s just to do some wholesome shopping.
The React: I agree for the most part, although I rarely refer to salad as amazing and will hold off in this case as well This place is unique and worth checking out. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I applaud the owners for their unique concept. I’d go back to Georgia’s.