Joy East quick-lunch

The visit to Joy East is, in a way, following up on the recent visit to Buffet King. Buffet King was a first-time experience; Joy East was a return after quite some time (since so much of the East Riverside area has been demolished). Both are chiefly all-you-can-eat establishments.

These days, all the Joy East staffers seem to be fluent speakers of Spanish. The big-screen TVs are tuned to Telemundo, which, during breaks in the futbol games was playing a repeat commercial for China Star buffet. Joy East is just as busy as Buffet King, and just as child-friendly. The children at Joy East seemed to be split down the middle when it came to selecting dessert, with half choosing self-serve soft ice cream in cones and half choosing fruit plates with three kinds of melon.

Freshly made pico de gallo still holds its place on the buffet line, as it has done from the very beginning. We dined quite quickly, yet saw at least three turns of tables while we were there. The entrees were constantly replenished to meet the demands of the capacity crowd of diners. Mussels, crawfish, and a dish of spicy octopus appeared to be among the most popular. My favorite dish this time was the sesame chicken, which I preferred to that at Buffet King. Again, as at Buffet King, sweetened iced tea appears to be the default version, so be sure to request unsweetened tea if that’s what’s wanted. Joy East plain steamed rice has a delicious nutty flavor. There were five kinds of soup, with cayenne pepper and fresh rings of green onion to be added at will.

There’s a bar, but, crowded as Joy East was, not one place was taken. Nevertheless, there was much beer being imbibed at Joy East, and pitchers of beer were seen at many of the tables. There are big illuminated signs on the wall near the entry for three different Mexican brands of beer.

Children are charged at two different rates, differentiated by their heights. I didn’t notice whether there’s a measure or height bar similar to those at amusement parks governing eligibility for various rides or whether the members of the staff can estimate height visually.

Find Joy East at 2410 East Riverside in the old movie theater (telephone 693-8833).

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