A short jaunt from the No. 7 train on Roosevelt Avenue sends you into the heart of Woodside, and to the doors of Top of the World Buffet. Serving local residents for over three years, this eclectic eatery serves cuisine from China, Japan, Tibet, the Himalayas, India and even some American comestibles. With a range of international dishes, the restaurant draws a diverse crowd of all races who come to enjoy the very moderately priced all you can eat buffet.
Peering down the uncluttered and ample dining room with subdued warmth blanketing the place, over 90 items gaze back from the buffet floor. At first glance, you see the characteristic staples of Chinese food, and I admittedly did not expect much from a buffet, but I was taken aback by the quality of the food. Trays of dumplings and pots of comforting soup fill the air with vaporous Asian scents.
Sweet and sour chicken was crunchy and fluffy, topped with a tangy vermillion colored sauce gleaming on top. A standard piece of fare, even chicken and broccoli was unexpectedly flavorful, firm blanched broccoli with supple slices of chicken.
Other notable options include crisp spring rolls, pepper steak, Sien Goo Ming Shrimp with scallops and crab, Moo Goo Gai Pan, golden spicy General Tso’s chicken, steamed bak choy and a bevy of rice and noodle choices.
I looked forward to sampling the Tibetan offerings, Tibetan beef dumplings, pressed like thick cakes and browned on both sides; they are filled with beef, scallions and other Tibetan spices. Tibetan sausage is made from beef parts and resembles a blood sausage with a dark burnt sienna color. A soft meaty inside with a snap when you bite into it, this sausage is stuffed with tremendous flavor.
Spicy beef tripe, thin slits of cow stomach in a mild red sauce, was adventurous for me, having never tasted this type of internal organ. I was pleasantly amazed at how tasty it was, with a texture like soft eggplant parmigiana, with a kick from the hot chili’s in the sauce.
Hefty racks of Tibetan smoked ribs, sitting in a secret sauce, were tremendous and soft, falling off the bone with tender sweetness.
In the evenings, sushi is made to order in front of you from an experienced sushi chef, and you can carve your own slices of the moist block of ham or smoked salmon, doused with their own special sauces.
Fresh crab legs are also available on Fridays and Saturdays. Conversely, there are plenty of options for vegetarians as well, beyond mixed veggies.
The kitchen staff is hard at work, constantly sending out new trays of food. Rather than the Olympic-sized swimming pool trays at other buffets, here things are made in smaller batches, guaranteeing freshness by serving the minimum amount and cooking more as the night progresses. A spacious private party room is located in the back, available for any event, or if your group feels like staying in, catering is available.
If you are a fan of Chinese food, and who isn’t, but want to be a little more daring, trek out to Woodside for a taste of some usual and unusual flavors. With a price tag begging to be tried, you can do no wrong at Top of the World Buffet!
Top of the World Buffet
62-02 Roosevelt Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Take Out Available