I hardly go to buffets anymore — even in Las Vegas, the food tends to be quantity over quality, even at the high-end hotels. But Diane Seo, who previously had founded Frolic Hawaii and edited Metromix Honolulu, invited me and some friends to try The Buffet at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki to support her friend who works there.
The food was actually really good, and quite a good value! It’s $65.95 every night (with the 25 percent kamaaina discount, it’s $50) and includes king and snow crab legs, as well as prime rib. Yes, every night. And they are running a special from March 14 through 30 for $59 per person (which comes out to $44.25 with the kamaaina discount). Children under 12 years are $19.95, while those under five years old eat free.
The other element we all enjoyed was the tempura bar. Shrimp and assorted vegetables were featured, plus an interesting nori roll around real crabmeat. They offer the traditional dipping sauce with shoe and grated daikon, but I opted for the assorted salt bar — using the truffle salt, of course!
One of my dining partners was fellow food writer Nadine Kam, and by the end of dinner, I was reminded that Chinese people are pros at buffets. Our other dining mates, although Asian, were not Chinese, so were very demure and reserved in their eating. We left Diane, her daughter Mia, Hawaii Mom Blog’s Gem Nishimura, and Denise Tanaka in the dust; Laurie Oue made a pretty good showing with her plate of scallops and oysters. Here, check out what we ate and the carnage at the end!
The crab legs are served cold on the buffet line, but you can request they be warmed up, which was what we did. Diane was impressed at how we calmly and methodically continued plowing through the crab legs, long after everyone else had finished eating. Honestly, it didn’t faze us at all — clearly, Nadine and I grew up with this kind of crab fest. I did my family proud.
The question is, do we prefer king or snow crab? King crab legs are poky, so can be harder to handle than the snow crab. But once you figure out your groove and can deftly use the plastic seafood sheller (NOT the crab cracker), you can extract large, whole pieces from the legs. So my choice is king crab. The snow crab meat may be sweeter, though.
The buffet is located inside of Shor, so they brought out some new dishes that they’ll be featuring on the menu soon: braised pork shank, and baked shutome. If I weren’t so full, I probably would have had more of the pork shank, as it was mighty tasty! And shutome is a great, firm fish that doesn’t get enough hype. (It’s probably just harder for diners to pronounce than mahimahi.)
They also made a special platter of chocolate covered strawberries, macaroons, and tarts for us, even though they had stuffed us with desserts from the buffet!
Disclosure, dinner was provided by the Hyatt Regency Waikiki (although we didn’t set out for it to be that way). So they would also like you to know that they have an additional deal for staycationing kamaaina who love buffets. They’re offering a “Stay with Buffet” room package rates starting at $249 per night for stays throughout the months of March, April and May. The room package also includes a complimentary dinner for two at The Buffet at Hyatt, complimentary parking and waived daily resort fee. Book by April 30 using the special offer code KAMBAH.
Considering the normal price for kamaaina at the buffet would be $52.76, that’s a great deal for being able to waddle back to your room after a seafood feast.
The Buffet at Hyatt
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave.