Often it is pricey to enter a Japanese restaurant and feel the need to sample every piece of sushi and sashimi available. Many people are new to eating sushi and often have not experienced the different flavors and textures present in the different cuts and rolls presented. Minado offers all-you-can-eat sushi for a pre-set price with over thirty different options PLUS a full assortment of entrees and desserts. To me, Kyojin in Miami is the gold-standard for all other Japanese buffets due to the incredible quality. How does Minado in Natick compare?
The interior feels much more Boston than Japan, which is not a bad thing. Massive plastic models of different sea life adorn the ceilings and walls. Everything was clean, and the massive amount of tables forecasted the quality of the meal.
The Sushi/Sashimi bar looked impressive at first sight. The selections were rather generic (Salmon, Tuna, Snapper, etc.) but the rolls were highly creative. I enjoyed the dynamite roll, topped with Korean chili powder and rolled with tender tuna. The Mackeral nigri were also delicious and a sign of truly fresh fish. Me and my wife were a bit disapointed that they did not offer Sashimi for the Lunch serving, but it was easy to peel the fish from the nigri rolls.
Minado's hot food selection really places this buffet above all others. Many Chinese and Japanese buffets put out bland or over seasoned generic 'Chinese' food for the rubes to eat as an alternative to the sushi. Minado put out an impressive selection of steaks, tempura vegetables and seafood, Delicious noodles, and impressive Gyoza. I was genuinely surprised to see actual steak offered.
The Udon Bar also surprised me. A chef made each bowl of noddles and broth to order complete with a nice array of 'toppings'. The noodles, while a bit gummy, taste wonderful in the rich broth. Salads and cold pasta dishes also went well as an interesting side quest to the Sushi buffet, but they stood up well as individual offerings.
Dessert was decent for the buffet. The Jello was juicy if a tad firm and the pastries were a bit better than standard Chinese buffet mini cake. Fresh melon and pineapple (not canned) seperated Minado from lesser buffets. The soft-serve Vanilla and Green Tea machine produced decent ice cream but it made me miss the home made Green Tea and Red Bean flavors availible at Kyojin in Miami or at Enn in Lincoln, RI.
Minado delivered an impressive Japanese feast for less money than any Japanese restaurant could ever provide. Everything was tasty and cooked well (unless it was meant to be raw). Me and my wife enjoyed Minado and will return whenever we are in the Natick area. It was not the best Japanese Buffet I have been to, but it's definitely the second best.
Minado has a full website with all the information on both the Natick location and every other location, wherever they may be.