Don’t you hate it when you spend beaucoup bucks for a takeout meal only to be hungry two hours later? In this economy, we really can’t afford stomach rumblings.At POC, newly opened in Coral Gables, you at least know you’re going to have a full belly. You’re in control, moving through the massive buffet, armed with your white Styrofoam container and a pair of tongs. Sushi lovers will salivate: There are reams upon reams of visually appealing selections made by a former Nobu and Sushi Samba chef. From a Mexican roll wrapped in crispy jalapeño peppers to a snappy Beach Boy with tuna, masago, avocado and tamago (Japanese caviar), it’s all good. Among my favorites: the Dragon roll, unagi (freshwater eel) paired with cream cheese, carrots, cukes and avocado. A strong second: the shrimp tempura roll topped with spicy tuna. For your dipping pleasure, forgo plain soy sauce and squeeze on POC’s signature spicy Japanese mayo with a kick of vinegar. Getting hungry just hearing about this? Don’t make the rookie mistake I did by bypassing the cooked food for the raw. When I saw the back tables with a carving station that could rival a small wedding reception’s, I felt pangs of regret. The smells of steak teriyaki, countless kebabs, short ribs, udon noodles, steamed veggies and gyoza dumplings, (pot stickers) were wondrous. But my little white container was already sagging with sushi. So I got myself another container – and had leftovers for four days. Everything I tried was pretty terrific, especially the smoked pork tenderloin and Grand Marnier prawns. What’s really great about this place is that you can afford to get experimental. That enormous culinary medley clocked in at $32 (you pay by the pound). The same chow would have run much higher at a fancier place. POC stands for Ports of Call because of the mix of cuisines from around the globe. Like it’s sister location in Weston, this bountiful spot is like an amusement park for your taste buds. And a final plus in these rushed times: No waiting for your order. Madeleine Marr mmarr@MiamiHerald.com
If you go
Address: 2121 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables
Price range: Buffet, $10 by the pound
Contact: 305-529-0882, pocbuffet.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.