South Bay: Tatami Seafood Buffet

My mom didn't know where she wanted to go for her birthday.  We randomly picked Azuma and started driving in that direction.  Along the way, we passed by Vallco Shopping Mall and that's when my mom not so subtly hinted at wanting to eat at Tatami Seafood Buffet.

My mom has this problem of never saying directly what she wants.  She'll edge around it all day and though everyone knows what's she's trying to say, she just won't come out and say it.  Anyway, since it was her birthday, my dad and I didn't call her out on it and instead made a quick turn into the Vallco Mall parking lot.

Okay, so maybe I did call her out on it.  I'm a snotty kid like that.  Heh.

I'd never been inside Vallco Mall before and I quickly realized why.  Besides Macy's, it has NOTHING.  It's basically on its last leg.  You can see remnants of its former glory in the markings on the wall left behind by the signs of major name stores that have since moved on and out.

The mall seemed eerily absent of life until we found Tatami:

It wasn't exactly bustling, but there were a decent number of people there for a Monday night:

I wasn't expecting much, but I ended up being quite pleasantly surprised.  There were multiple bars and a lot to browse there.  There was a sushi bar, a salad bar, a seafood bar, a hot foods bar that included a grill section and a create your own udon station, as well as a dessert bar that boasted of a build your own crepe option and a chocolate fountain.

Here's what I got on my first go around through the hot foods bar:

There was a strange mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dishes.

Of course my dad, being the typical Asian father, went straight for the crab:

That's basically all he needs at buffets.  Seafood, seafood, and seafood.  He doesn't waste stomach space on anything else.

Whereas I like to dabble at the sushi bar:

Quite a selection of sushi at Tatami and every other roll was not some variation of the California roll.  Kudos for that.  Gotta love the nigiri and sashimi too.  Both of which were surprisingly fresh.

I'm pretty weaksauce when it comes to buffets, which is why it's not really worth the money to take me to one.  You can see why by looking at my second round:

Pathetic, I know.  I was pretty full off of all the sushi, but I made myself do a walk around the salad bar and take some beef carpaccio.  Now that's my kind of salad.

The desserts offered at Tatami are pretty standard for Japanese/Chinese buffets:

I'm pretty sure they all order their desserts from the same place.  Everything looks cute, but they never taste any good.  Blech.

Anyway, the best part about Tatami is that you get to eat free on your birthday as long as you go with at least two paying adults.  Something we didn't know about until we got inside.  Score!  Thanks to my mom, we saved $22.95 (the cost of dinner from Monday to Thursday).  Hopefully next year her birthday lands on a weekend so that we can save even more ($25.95).  Woot!

For those of you who are interested, Tatami also does weddings.  We spotted the adjacent room with the advertising posted on the window on our way out.  If you're dead set on a buffet wedding reception, I would recommend Tatami.  It's a better option than World Gourmet Buffet, just sayin'.

Happy birthday, mommy!

Tatami Seafood Buffet
10123 N Wolfe Rd #2001
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 996-3444


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