July 20, 2005

Perennial Pizza

It can be said that all things should be done in moderation. Subsequently, I, your humble food critic, took a one week vacation from my summer vacation activity of reviewing food. I return with my reviewing batteries recharged and a new need for reviewing delectable inexpensive foods.

I work a long, difficult eight-hour day filled with many trying naps and difficult lounging. Subsequently, I am always hungry come lunchtime. Every Friday, several of my coworkers and I try to sample a different eating establishment. Often, our exploration leads us to all-you-can-eat buffets and other such smorgasbords. Last Friday, we found ourselves at the Pizza Hut lunch buffet.

The interesting Italian icon of pizza has, of course, been translated into many different American versions. We all know that pizza in the United States is hardly an Italian food, and pizza hut pizza is quite possibly the farthest cry from true Italian that one can find in a pizzeria. However, “gatherin’ round the good stuff” is not necessarily a bad thing. Although pizza hut pizza is not my favorite interpretation of the pies from Europe’s most famous boot, I cannot say that I find the pizza offensive. It has a solid blend of cheese, sauce, and golden crust. It is, of course, amazingly greasy and requires either a strong stomach or multiple cloth napkins (for dabbing grease) to eat, but this is an affliction of all pizza chains. It is not simply a Pizza Hut problem. I find the Pizza to be totally inoffensive, although one could make the argument that it is less than memorable.

The lunch buffet operates on a unique principle at “The Hut”. Most buffets have a specific menu that corresponds to a certain time and date. For instance, the Old Country Buffet may have fried chicken on Tuesday at dinner. If the chicken runs out, it will be refilled in the same place on the buffet. Pizza hut operates on a different principle. They rotate their pizzas. There may be a thin crust supreme pizza offered in a spot. After this pizza runs out, it may be replaced by a pan pepperoni pizza. This makes eating at the buffet a dynamic experience. One can approach the bar filled with excitement and anticipation, as he or she does now know what foods to expect. Breadsticks and the salad bar are consistently offered in the same place, as is a dessert pizza, but the other pizzas are rotated, seemingly at random. I find this unique execution to be somewhat charming.

Unfortunately, there are also drawbacks to this style of “buffeting”. One cannot always find the pizza that they wish to eat. For instance, I have a true penchant for pepperoni, yet I was confronted with the inability to grab a slice of pepperoni pizza at several critical eating junctures. Although the pizza rotation allows for obscure pizzas such as the buffalo chicken pizza to be offered in greater variety, it also limits one’s ability to continue to eat a favorite type of pizza.

One other unfortunate drawback to the buffet is a fallacy of every all-you-can-eat offering around the country. Simply put, it is far too tempting to overeat. In addition to the fact that chronic overeating can cause obesity, isolated incidents can cause discomfort, nausea, indigestion, and every other ailment that Pepto-Bismol claims to remedy. (Interesting factoid: Pepto-Bismol is listed in my spellchecker)

I must say that I enjoyed my experience at the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. Although the pizza will not satisfy the true “Italian Stallions” in America, it is a solid offering. The pizza rotation has its own unique advantages and drawbacks, and I enjoyed sampling many different types of pizzas. Based on this information, the buffet earns a commendable three and a half sporks out of a possible five. I may even return to the buffet afterwards. I shall just have to pack some Tums as I gather round the good stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment