If all you want for a meal is quantity, not quality, Kuroda is a good place to stuff yourself. However, if you value taste and freshness, prepare yourself for disappointment. Sitting across from RCA’s Tops Supermarket, the two-story eatery looks clean and promising from the outside. But it is a completely different story inside; the dingy interior has cheap seating, harsh lighting and a giant stainless steel bar in the center of the room for seemingly no good reason. (Pole-dancing, anyone?) Just as graffiti is said to encourage crime, the sad atmosphere has rubbed off on the servers, who leave used plates and tableware piled up on the sushi bar. But despite the mess, this branch is usually busy—although not exactly crowded—with families and office workers. A few diners order a la carte dishes or choose from a large selection of set menus. But most come to Kuroda with only one intention in mind: to gorge themselves on the all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet. Green tea, soft drinks and desserts have been cut out of the deal. The selection may be vast, but the execution is sloppy. Soggy takoyaki (octopus balls) and dull, dry crabstick salad with mayo is the norm. If only the huge display of mixed sashimi tasted as good as it looks; the fish, especially the unnaturally orange salmon, spent too much time away from the sea. Fried foods fared better; shrimp tempura, though a bit small, was crisp and not excessively oily while the deep-fried chicken skin was outright addictive. The quality of the grilled items is another pleasant surprise, and the squid and chicken are particularly tender and juicy. Note that many items run out early in the afternoon. Then comes the service… If you think it’s bad at the Ekkamai outlet (and it bothers you), don’t even think about setting foot here. The servers wander around with sour faces, purposefully ignoring your requests to refill your green tea and deliver your food. The upside is there’s never a queue here! Just come when you’re really hungry, and be sure to bring your patience.
This year's hottest reasons to head back to the jewel of the Andaman.