While the Oracle didn't start out as being a food blog, I had to admit that we do live to eat and it gives me a thrill to be able to report on dining venues we discover - especially near our home in South Tampa. That leads me to chicken feet.
We have visited Tampa Buffet in Britton Plaza on several occasions and have always left this South Tampa eatery stuffed, but with bucks still left in our pockets. Last Friday was no exception.
Tampa Buffet brags (and rightly so) that they are the largest international seafood buffet, sushi bar and open grill in Hillsborough County. Featuring Chinese, American, Italian, Mongolian, Korean & Japanese Cuisine. Over 12 Buffet bars with over 150 items.
My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, usually starts at the salad bar, then gravitates to the American and Italian sections. I start with the raw bar and then graze around the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean bars. This last visit I found myself wandering toward one of the farthermost bars with various soups when to my complete surprise I spied a selection entitled "Chicken Feet".
I looked inside this serving container and there to my delight were chicken feet in a delightful red sauce. I helped myself to a good half dozen. For the uninformed, chicken feet do not have a lot of meat. They are more gelatinous with cartilage and while that may not sound too appealing I can only say that this is a Chinese delicacy that must be tried. Chicken feet go extremely well with a Tsingtao.
To see chicken feet as a selection just cemented my thought that Tampa Buffet serves truly authentic ethnic foods. The salt and pepper shrimp were superb - don't peel them, you eat head and all. But for those whose taste buds might not be so adventurous, you will find a myriad of tasty selections that we are more accustomed to seeing in buffet restaurants - fried chicken, pizza, to mention but two.
Another plus for us is that Tampa Buffet is only minutes away from the paradise that is SOG City. Dinner for the two of us with several American and Chinese beers came to $34.75. We always leave a 20% gratuity because the waitstaff is very attentive in removing used plates and bringing fresh beer.
Tampa Buffet isn't fancy, but the food is good, plentiful, and doesn't break the bank.