Evergreen offers a non-traditional Chinese buffet

Garrison Ebie

More than just “Sweet & Sour Chicken” to accompany this sweet and sour sauce

Evergreen Chinese Restaurant and Buffet, located on Route 59 in Kent, offers various dishes, both “the usual” and non-traditional. Daniel Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

For about seven bucks on a Sunday afternoon, hungry college kids can nab an all-you-can-eat buffet of semi-authentic Chinese food right in the heart of Kent.

The Evergreen Chinese Restaurant and Buffet is located in the plaza adjacent to the Acme supermarket on Route 59. It comes with all the offerings of most any other buffet of this size, holding about 20 to 30 tables for patrons and three well-lit stations filled with food. Located next door to a laundromat, this is a perfect place to go – even for those who don’t have any clean clothes left.

Although there are the traditional item names like “Sweet & Sour Pork” and “Sweet & Sour Chicken,” don’t be mistaken that these are the only options to accompany the sweet and sour sauce. Heavens no – this is a buffet, and sweet and sour sauce goes well with anything Evergreen has to offer. When it comes to the shrimp chips, I may have no clue how they are created, but I noticed they are entirely too dry and go exceptionally well with the afore-mentioned condiment.

For vegetarians in the house, the selection may be just as limited as it is anywhere else in America. Most of the food contains some type of meat. There is a salad bar. This is not Applebee’s, however, and by only eating salad, the whole point of a Chinese buffet is lost.

The Volcanic Three, an Evergreen dish, is a bit of a disappointment, especially considering the warning label indicating its spiciness. Being a big fan of all things spicy and not minding a trickle of sweat down my forehead, I was surprised to learn that it didn’t even match up with the regular store-bought hot sauce I have in my own refrigerator. So take note: Bring your own hot sauce.

As for the service, they’re quick, but it’s nothing too exceptional. The server whisks away the plates quick enough that no more than two ever pile up on the table, unless someone is really pigging out.

Just don’t forget the fork. The worst part about any buffet is that servers tend to take away forks that are left over on the plate.

As far as I’m concerned, the star attraction at the Evergreen is the ice cream and dessert bar. Customers can pour out their own vanilla or chocolate ice cream into a bowl and then go to town with a variety of sprinkles, chips and other toppings.

Other selections include cream-filled doughnuts, sugar cookies and chocolate pudding. Each is perfectly bite-sized, so anyone can try out almost all there is to offer, with room to spare.

I imagine this is a particularly fine spot to hit up when dealing with a case of “the munchies.” From my own perspective, it looks like that happens to be the whole intention given the selection of sugar and the bizarre knickknacks sitting atop the lights.

One of my few complaints would be the quiet atmosphere. It’s nice to have some music playing while feasting on Asian cuisine. Without any, it feels like everyone in the restaurant can hear my conversation, especially two odd balls sitting in the corner that kept giggling at everything.

This certainly is not authentic Chinese – that’s given away the second some cheese balls end up on your plate. But the concept is good. And I got a fortune cookie. That adds to the score.

When it comes to getting your money’s worth in Kent, Evergreen has few competitors.

Contact all correspondent Garrison Ebie at [email protected].