When it comes to American dining traditions, Sunday brunch buffets are right up there with happy hours, free continental breakfasts, and bottomless bread baskets. A brunch buffet is guaranteed to satisfy just about anyone’s particular desires whether it be waffles or fried shrimp.
Recently we tried the Sunday buffet at the Olive Tree Catering and Event venue at 29th and Rock. The buffet operated at Piccadilly for years until it was closed in the fall of 2015. As far as buffets go it was reasonably priced at $17 dollars for adults, $15 for seniors, and $9 for kids 5 and over.
The buffet is set up with several different tables offering a great variance of cuisines. There is a salad and finger food area that features pre-assembled salads, smoked salmon, fruits, and cheese. A Lebanese table that has a nice assortment of popular and more unique traditional food including hummus, tabouli, baba ghanoush, and roasted veggies. The steam table area had hot dishes that ranged from creole rice to BBQ ribs, to enchiladas. There is also a breakfast area, omelet station, and meat carving board. Rounding out the meal is an ample, yet not overwhelming, dessert table.
My strategy for attacking most buffets is to start with some lighter dishes, trying to focus on items that I do not routinely eat, then I work my way up to the more heavy entrees. After finding a few dishes that I like, I’ll head back for seconds. Finally I will attack the dessert table and maybe split a few items with my wife. The goal is leave feeling full, yet not totally incapacitated for the rest of the day.
I started off with some smoked salmon, caprese salad, and several selections from the Lebanese table. The salmon was a nice treat paired with diced onion and hard-boiled egg. Every Lebanese dish I sampled was very good. The hummus was as good as any other in town, the tabouli was some of the best I have had, and the baba ghanoush was tasty as well. There were soft and fried pita offered to help scoop up these delicious dips. There were also several other dishes that I was not familiar with, but they too were fresh and flavorful.
My next stop was at the main steam table which held the full spectrum of ethnic options. I went with a BBQ rib, creole rice, pan fried tilapia, fried shrimp, an enchilada, and kibbe. The rib was about what I had expected, decent, but a lack of smokiness set it back. The creole rice was simple, but full of flavor. The enchilada was good for this not being a Mexican establishment. Despite being dry, the kibbe had good flavor, and dipping it in tzatziki sauce helped to mitigate the issue.
The final plate consisted of basic pasta with a homemade tomato sauce that I enjoyed, as well as some beef stroganoff which had been sitting out too long.
I manged to save some room for dessert and went with a tasty coconut spice white cake and a baklava-esque cylindrical pastry. I found the cake to be very moist and rich. The subtle coconut flavored frosting was excellent as well. The the nut filled phyllo cylinder was a good savory and sweet treat.
The Olive Tree Buffet proved to be overall a well executed and tasty affair. I felt the Lebanese selections were the best, but most of the other offerings were decent as well. Some of the dishes suffered from sitting out too long, but that is tough to avoid at a buffet.