Known by countless locals as the best place for Chinese food in Ocala, China Lee Buffet has been putting smiles on customers’ faces since it opened in 2006. The upscale buffet restaurant serves Americanized Chinese food, sushi and Western food, and part of its popularity, no doubt, is due to its welcoming décor.
The 7,000-square-foot restaurant is bright and colorful, the walls painted in a warm yellow-beige and the ceilings aglow in a variety of colors around the buffet bars. Glass dividers in the dining room depict Asian scenes, and typical porcelain and Tang tri-colored pottery are displayed on shelves. Owner Wenh Lee chose both Western and Eastern elements to ensure that customers feel at home while also learning a bit about Chinese culture.
Lee comes from southern China, so he prefers lighter methods of food preparation. The restaurant’s sweet and sour flavors certainly whet the appetite. The kitchen specializes in Japanese cuisine, including a variety of fine sashimi, nigiri, rolls and salads; seafood with an emphasis on snow crab legs, shrimp, oysters, mussels, scallops, crawfish and fish that is cooked healthfully by steaming or grilling; and Western cuisine as well, like the delicious steaks prepared with Chinese and Japanese sauces. All of the food at China Lee is prepared with the customer’s health in mind, with homemade sauces, little oil or salt and no added MSG. The buffet’s items are also changed regularly to keep the customers’ interest. Lee is eager to hear opinions and suggestions, and updates the bar accordingly.
“The owner should pay attention to every detail in the restaurant, no matter how small or large,” says Lee, who is also determined to provide his customers with only top-quality service.
Every customer who walks through China Lee’s doors gets VIP treatment according to Lee.
“Only the highest level of service should be expected,” he says. “The customer is always right and their happiness is the highest priority for my entire staff.”
As for the future, Lee plans to continue making improvements to his current restaurants, including the recent addition of alcoholic beverages to the China Lee Buffet menu. He also plans to expand the menu to offer more delicacies to reach a broader range of customers.
“I am happy because I am bringing great food to local people,” he says with a smile. “I created an ideal place for them to enjoy Asian and Western cuisine with their friends and families.”
China Lee Buffet
3743 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala