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Monday, February 15, 2010

Elbowing to the Buffet at Insanely Popular Kome

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Take a book. - MONA C./YELP
Quick, what's the most popular new restaurant in the Bay Area? Believe it or not, the answer is Kome Sushi Buffet in Daly City, which opened last December with a seating capacity of over 500.

While other restaurants scramble to find customers in this tough economy, Kome has a line that extends for a whole block, with average wait times of between two and three hours. In addition to waiting to get in, you have to wait again at each of the food stations. And this is where the fun begins: It's every man for himself/herself. Not quite dining as a full-body contact sport, more like a very slow horse race with jockeying for position (elbows and bumping are legal). One way to avoid the long waiting times is by making a reservation, accepted only for parties of 10 or more.

So what's drawing all those customers here? Credit an all-you-can-eat dinner with shrimp, oysters, mussels, tempura, New York steak, roasted duck, lobster, fresh fruit, ice cream, and more, at a bargain price (lunch for $10.95/$12.95 and dinner for $19.95/$20.95, Mon.-Thu./Fri.-Sun. pricing, drinks not included, seniors and kids pay less). The convenience factor also plays a role ― it's located next to Daly City BART, and there's free garage parking.

The decor is a big improvement over Todai, the buffet that used to exist here. The buffet has six stations: sushi (a notch above Safeway), Chinese food (similar to Panda Express), international cuisine (baked and fried items), noodle soups, dim sum (mostly buns), and desserts. Weekends and dinners offer more variety than weekday lunches ― sashimi, king crab legs, and lobster tails, for instance, are available only at dinner.

The xiao long bao (Shanghai dumplings) are the most popular and elusive item ― pat yourself on the back if you're able to get one or two.

Kome Sushi Buffet 1901 Junipero Serra (at Westlake), (650) 992-8600 (no Web site); open daily, 11a.m.-3p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m.

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Luis Chong


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