BY MICHAEL RICONDA
TAPPAN – Bon Fahyr, a new asian buffet in Tappan, might be described as a mere buffet, but the sights and tastes of the brand new spot conjure up far more than one might expect from such a simple description.
Located a short distance north of the state line on Route 303, Bon Fahyr’s food is a notch above other Asian buffets. With smoked barbecue and a sushi bar to supplement a broad assortment of the usual Asian-American food options, the spot is unique in both its scope and quality, refusing to succumb to the pitfalls of so many other standard buffet spots.
The location, which was formerly a steakhouse, decided to change their direction about a year ago. Since its closure, renovation and re-opening, it has sought a broader clientele than they might attract through the relatively narrow appeal of a steakhouse.
According to manager Joseph Yi, the goal was not merely another Chinese buffet stuffed with salty, preservative-laden grub or a hibachi grill to stand just a notch above competitors. Instead, the focus was to present a breadth of items, all ready-made and fresh.
“A buffet is for everybody,” Yi explained. “Every buffet has the same items and every buffet has the same theme. We wanted to do something different.
The consideration is reflected in the food, which is far fresher than the average buffet with a quality comparable to restaurants that charge by-the-plate. Entering the spacious dining room, the first counters present a sumptuous spread of sushi, all of which is full, flavorful, and avoids the pasty tastelessness of low-quality rolls found in even some pricier Japanese restaurants. Nor is the selection limited; Alongside the given california and crab rolls one will find avocado rolls, raw fish and shrimp options, tempura and spicy crab, much of which is drizzled with a tangy sauce.
Beyond the sushi, the options are vast. Typical Asian fare accompanies at least half a dozen different varieties of poultry and beef dishes, dim sum, fried rice mixed fruits and vegetables, dessert options, and other standard selections which might not be atypical, but always taste crisper and cleaner than the greasier fare of the buffet’s peers. This is no fluke, either; According to Yi, the restaurant avoids a common pitfall by using no MSGs.
“We’re the first ones to change the buffet concept to bring the buffet to the restaurant level atmosphere and food-wise,” Yi added.
Perhaps most impressive, however, is the focus on barbecue. Inspired by a trip to Texas where smokehouses were in no short supply, Yi opted to incorporate real smoky, sweet options into the buffet concept.
Consequently, Yi and his business partners brought up an experienced smokehouse cook to help with their set up. The result was a spot with two smokers and a fire pit that churn out ribs, brisket, spicy sausage, and other items with the much-sought taste of real southern-cooked meat, all so loose that it falls off the bone and melts in the mouth.
With the added benefits of an open metropolitan atmosphere, an expanding wet bar and regular promotions such as lobster nights or beer and wine tastings, the expanding options are anticipated to be a strong asset. With a main dining area capable of seating hundreds plus an upstairs karaoke room fit for business meetings and private engagements to accommodate the sumptuous plates, the location aims and scores big by refusing to sacrifice quality for quantity, stuffing hungry faces while leaving stomachs settled and palates with a surprisingly upscale taste not soon forgotten.
Bon Fahyr is open Wednesday through Monday. It will also be offering a special Mother’s Day special this Sunday. Prices range from $17.95 for weekday lunches to $32.95 weekend dinners.