Here, Eat This

DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet Is Voluminous and Mostly Very Good

Despite the fact that DiMassi's Mediterranean Buffet has nine locations in Texas, five of which are in Houston, I have never once visited this establishment in my nearly a decade of living in the Lone Star State.  Buffet restaurants are hit or miss; absolutely amazing versions exist in Las Vegas and other tourist-centric metropolises, but those are certainly matched by terrifying places serving ethnically ambiguous cuisine guaranteed to send you running to the loo six hours post repast.

DiMassi's is neither; however, its reasonable prices, diversity of options and relatively quality ingredients push it toward the "absolutely amazing" end of the spectrum. 

The selection of cold salads and warm vegetable sides is wonderful. Standouts include the rich, creamy eggplant redolent of molasses and olive oil; the piquant fatoosh; and the roasted cauliflower. Pair these with some hummus and pita bread and you will easily have a satisfying supper. So doing may be better for your cholesterol levels but will unfortunately cause you to miss out on DiMassi's most decadent features, such as the deep-fried kibbeh, mini football-shaped masses stuffed with ground beef and bulgur wheat, and the sumptuous lamb shank. Note: Although unlimited(!) lamb shanks are available with the buffet, you have to ring the bell to summon someone from the kitchen to bring you one. My guess is this measure was put in place when some greedy food writer child loaded her plate with several only to find her eyes were bigger than her stomach.

As with most buffets, some entr√©es are definitely outliers with regards to the ostensible culinary theme. At DiMassi's, there's the crispy, admittedly delicious fried chicken that I suspect is outsourced and the penne pasta (hat tip to Italy?). 

If you're in too much of a hurry to dine in, most DiMassi's locations will allow you to fill out takeout boxes with buffet items and then charge you by the pound.  This option is most welcome, but remember to separate your hot and cold options to prevent strange temperature swaps (e.g., hot hummus and cool lamb shanks).
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Joanna O'Leary