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Is there anything more American than the All You Can Eat Buffet?  It takes many things we as Americans value and puts it together on a plate.  We Americans like the following:

Choice.  If there is one thing we love as Americans, it is the freedom to make choices.  We choose our leaders.  School uniforms are always a battle because it limits our children’s creativity and ability to choose clothes.  We like choice in restaurants.  What size drink would you like?  Sweet or Unsweet Tea?  What sides would you like?  Would you like the You Pick Two Combo?  The buffet is the ultimate expression of our love of choices.

Food in large quantities.  We are obsessed with this.  I think it is because we are always subconsciously worried that we will run out of food.  MUST EAT IT ALL NOW!  As further proof of this, we have Major League Eating* in the United States.

*Major League Eating is sad.  What is sadder is when you look at their site, an add for MLE THE GAME pops up…Also, they currently have a press release regarding a bacon shortage.  Enter their site at your own risk.

Bargains.  If you don’t think Americans value bargains, you have not been in a Walmart at 4am the day after Thanksgiving.  I always find that super ironic.  “Hey, I just celebrated being thankful for what I have.  NOW I WANT MORE.  I WANT IT AT A RIDICULOUS PRICE.  I WANT TO FIGHT OTHERS FOR IT!”  Happy Thanksgiving.  Next comes the always cheerful sounding BLACK FRIDAY…

Anyway, an all you can eat buffet is a combination of these three ideas held dear by the American people.  In my opinion, Indian restaurants have mastered this American concept.

Copper Chimney in St. Peters has been open less than a year, and from what I could tell from the crowd at their Sunday buffet, they are doing very well.

The restaurant has a very clean, open and modern look, with warmly painted walls in a single large dining room.  The Sunday buffet has more choices than the weekday buffet, and is priced at $10.50 per person, rather than $8.50 on weekdays.  The buffet is half price for kids.

And what a buffet it was.  Of course, the usual suspects were there: tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, matar paneer, and wonderful basmati rice.  But there were dishes there one doesn’t usually see on a buffet, such as lamb saag (so incredibly tender and flavorful) and chicken chilly, which was described as a specialty of the restaurant.  Also, they had a dish which involved vegetable pakoras in a tangy yogurt sauce.  It was something I had never seen before, but thoroughly enjoyed.  A big treat on the Sunday buffet was the cooler of mango lassi.  For those who have not had it, Mango lassi is a sweet yogurt-based drink, almost like a mango smoothie.  I usually don’t get lassi (because I’m cheap), but it was included with the buffet at Copper Chimney.  It was fantastic.  It made me want to come back during the summer months to enjoy on a hot day.  Finally, the servers bring out baskets of freshly baked naan bread with frequent refills.

I will say this, Copper Chimney has the best naan I’ve had in the St. Louis area.

So, what separates a good restaurant experience from a great restaurant experience?  Service.  Every time that we have been to Copper Chimney, ALL the staff has gone out of their way to make sure we are comfortable, ask how we are doing, and if there was anything they could get for us.  They have asked me how I found out about them.  They have asked me about my kids, and commented on how much they enjoy Indian food.  This Sunday, they asked if we had just come from church.  I am not the most outgoing person, and I think their warm hospitality is to be commended.  I couldn’t do it, and it makes me appreciate this restaurant all the more each time I have visited.

So, if you find yourself near Costco or Mid Rivers Mall and find yourself looking for an excellent meal, check out Copper Chimney.  You’ll find a warm welcome, a huge meal, at a great price.  It’s the American Dream-Indian Style.

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