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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
6.9
6.0
$20
Middle Eastern
Counter service

Hours
Sun–Thu 11:00am–9:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–10:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

www.dimassisbuffet.com

Far Northwest
12636 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 258-0395
Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet
Why won’t they call it Middle Eastern?

What does this term “Mediterranean” mean, anyway? There are 22 states that share this broad and useless description, from Israel to France, Cyprus to Egypt. Between the name of the place and the culinary designation, we can’t help but wonder: is someone trying to conceal the fact that Dimassi’s is Middle Eastern and Greek?

Each location in this chain has the same basic layout: a single, long steam table, a self-serve soda/drink area, and a dessert section. And each strays from the base menu and sports a couple of location-exclusive items. This one almost always has vegetarian samosas. Hummus and baba ghanoush usually lead things off at the buffet. These are pretty humdrum, the latter lacking a distinct smokiness. But there is thrilling mystery: tabbouleh is described on the menu as including “chicken wheat.” What they meant to say, we can only guess—we just hope it’s a typo. Skimpy Greek salads, serviceable stuffed grape leaves, and tangy fattoush round out the chilled side.

The hot area usually features makloube—a well-spiced mixture of white rice, chicken, potatoes, and eggplant—and fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shanks with braised vegetables. Both of these dishes are musts for newcomers as well as veterans. For dessert, flaky phyllo cigars filled with a mixture of walnuts, sugar, orange, and rose water are unique and terrific with coffee.

Dimassi’s gets pretty busy during the lunch and dinner hours, ensuring that the food is always fresh, but be warned that just as at other buffets, if you come between rushes, quality and temperatures can be less than ideal. Things tend to be seasoned well, but are not overpowering, and this being an all-you-can-eat buffet, if you don’t like something, you can always go back for something else.

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