Back in 1981, The Ramones released a song called “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” I wonder what tune that band from Queens would be singing if they had made it to Ridgewood’s own K&K Super Buffet, where the undercooked shellfish can make you just as sick as a hooded clansman.
Walking into this enormous buffet at 341 St Nicholas Ave., the tinkling sounds of a miniature mountain waterscape and Chinese zither music greets you. After 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, $14.99 buys an all-you-can-eat entry pass to this amazing-looking world of sushi, crab legs, crawfish, and standard Chinese buffet food.
Five smorgasbords of hot and cold foodstuffs beckon, glistening under the neon glow of underpowered heating lamps. From California rolls to stone crab and tapioca pudding, deciding where to begin is hard. The faux gourmand in me said, “Take it slow: a few dumplings and sushi rolls to start.” So I go with my gut.
After a few dry avocado rolls and exactly one stale (and rather cold) dumpling, the impatient budgeteer spoke up: “Seafood! Seafood!” Yes, I had come to K&K for a taste of luxury, after all.
K&K’s seafood smorgasbord offered mussels, whole stone crab, crab legs, crawfish, various tentacles, and some other stuff I didn’t know the names of. I piled on the shellfish, and though I didn’t have my camera, my second plate looked something like this:
In the privacy of my corner table in the empty buffet, I tore at the little crawfish legs, slurped the goo from the mussels, and gobbled a rubbery tentacle. Until that moment, I hadn’t thought about a very real possibility: food poisoning.
But the deed was mostly done and now it was time for the crabs.
The stone crab is a weighty beast that is nearly impossible to eat, even with the crab crackers the waitress brought over. Pushing on the levers with all my might, the crustacean’s leg barely snapped; yet the great pressure sent shell shards flying into my face, shirt, and made it 10 feet in the other direction. A sliver of cold, sweet meat was the reward. I spent 10 more minutes trying to eat this impossible dream before I gave up. I’d had enough.
While I waited to pay my bill, I had some jello and two mealy slices of cantaloupe. After paying — again, $14.99 without tip — I really wondered when the sickness would begin; I was sure there was no way around it.
To my surprise, as I went for the door, the waitress handed me a rectangular box. Toilet paper, I wondered?
No. K&K gives better parting gifts. It was a Chinese zodiac calendar with cutesy cartoons to represent the different signs. I went home and put it (among other things) on my bathroom wall.
So, to conclude. If a huge quantity of disgusting, cold food and a shitty calendar is what you’re after, try K&K Super Buffet in Ridgewood. The experience is like no other.
Cover image courtesy of parmajohn_chee