Restaurant review from this past weekend...
Shoreline Restaurant, Branford, CT
Once upon a time there was a Shoreline Buffet Restaurant with an American/Chinese buffet. Once upon a time there was the August Moon Japanese restaurant. Both were at 310 East Main Street in Branford, CT, right off exit 55 of I-95, about 15-20 minutes east of New Haven.
Now (and I mean in the last couple of weeks, just open) there is only the Shoreline "Asian Cuisine" Restaurant, no buffet, with sushi bar, strongly featuring Japanese items on its menu but with some few Chinese stand-bys in back for those who can't imagine an Asian meal without egg rolls, wonton soup and General Tso's chicken.
For the Japanese side of things, purists may not find it completely authentic (I'm no expert) but the food is very tasty, with excellent prices for very generous servings.
The first time there, we had the shrimp gyoza and the soft shell crab appetizers, with beef yaki udon (sauteed, not in a soup bowl) and a chicken teriyaki bento box. The second time, we had chicken yakitori and beef negimaki appetizers, sesame chicken, and a salmon teriyaki bento box.
Bento boxes include a salad and miso soup before the meal, then the box itself with the main dish over stir-fried vegetables, some vegetable and shrimp tempura pieces, two small fried shrimp balls, rice sprinkled with black sesame seeds, and six pieces of California roll, for a price ranging from $9 to $14. It's an impossibly good deal. Sodas are only $2, and both those and the tea come with free refills.
Fried foods were light and crispy and not too oily, steamed veggies still had crunch to them, cooked meats were served hot and juicy, not overdone and dried out, noodles were not sticky, sauces were well-flavored.
Drawbacks? Well, the serving staff is VERY attentive. Refills were suggested for drinks that were barely half gone. Empty dishes are removed as soon as emptied, which can include the sauce for what's still held in your chopsticks. And, for us, the first person finished declined a dessert and the check was then delivered without asking the others. The staff was always friendly and I'm sure if people wanted to linger, they'd be allowed to do so, but you'd need to be firm about it.
Atmosphere is very pleasant and upscale despite two ceiling mounted TVs but the volume on those is kept low and on our visits they were showing news reports, and I don't mean Fox.