People in Augusta looking for a special dining experience should check out Andrew’s Restaurant, which is at the hotel. A great night of the week to go there is on Friday nights from 5 to 10 p.m., when they have a bountiful seafood and prime rib buffet.
The first thing that strikes a first-time diner is the different levels of dining space in the restaurant, making for quite a view from the top level, all the way down to the stage where a live band — The BTUs, and Michael Peele — performs popular tunes that span the decades. When there’s a birthday in the house, they’ll make it a special one by singing a birthday tune to whoever is turning a year older.
Throughout the dining area is a soft, romantic lighting, which you can’t help but start to relax under and forget the stresses of the week. Also displayed around the dining area are pretty pottery pieces, many of them in serene blues and greens.
When you’re first seated at Andrew’s on a Friday night, an attentive server will come to your table and get your drink order, and then you’re free to load up your plates at the buffet. If iced tea is your kind of drink — sweet or unsweet — Andrew’s Restaurant’s tea goes down so smooth. The unsweet tea is crisp and refreshing, and the sweet tea is perfectly sweet for anyone who loves a true, Southern sweet tea. Of course, Andrew’s offers a variety of other drinks, as well, including alcohol. If you’re into cocktails, their margaritas are worth sipping.
The buffet sections are spread out so that there won’t be a traffic jam between people trying to get to the food, but they’re not too far apart. If you’re not sure where something is, the attentive staff will help you find it.
The all-you-can-eat buffet’s seafood options are plentiful, from snow crab legs, to savory low country boil, to shrimp and oysters on the half shell. The crab legs are large and juicy; the low country boil includes crab legs, red potatoes, slices of corn on the cob, shrimp, sausage, and it’s seasoned tastefully.
But if you’re thinking all that Andrew’s has on Fridays is seafood, that definitely isn’t the case. Start off at the salad bar, where they have plenty of choices such as traditional iceberg salad mix (some of the toppings include shredded bacon, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and raisins). Next to the lettuce mix is a seafood salad, which has a surprisingly delicious bit of a kick to it. Topping the lettuce mix with the seafood salad — which has generous portions of crab meat — is a perfect start to digging into the buffet. Of course, there are several types of salad dressing to choose from to top your lettuce, as well. The salad bar also has choices such as pasta salad, tuna salad and a cucumber-tomato salad, in which the cucumbers and tomatoes are cut into the satisfyingly sized pieces.
One of the most prized parts of the buffet that isn’t seafood is their prime rib, which has someone standing by to slice it for you fresh whenever you want it. Their prime rib is juicy and tender, so even if you’re there mainly for the seafood, you’ll also want to get a cut of this.
Next to the prime rib are other hot offerings like fried and baked fish (on a recent Friday night, it was fried catfish and baked flounder), a tasty honey-pecan chicken, mixed steamed vegetables including cauliflower, carrots and zucchini, rice, cheesy grits, red potatoes and fried green tomatoes.
Across the way from there, to help diners balance out their meals, is a counter filled with fresh fruits like whole strawberries, diced cantaloupe and honeydew melon, grapes and diced pineapple. An array of cheeses and crackers sit next to the fruit.
Also, make sure when you’re there on Friday nights to check out the pasta station, which Food and Beverage Manager Lando Marzolf said is nicknamed “Willie’s Pasta Station,” after one of their employees who’s been there about 15 years and usually is working the pasta station. There, you can create your own pasta dish and have it cooked up fresh. Start with a pasta base — either penne or linguine — and then choose your meat. Meat choices include chicken, scallops, shrimp and Andouille sausage. The sauces at the pasta station are scampi, alfredo or marinara. Finally, you can choose your veggies, which include bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, zucchini and mushrooms. Your selection then gets heated up in a skillet, which takes only a few minutes.
And don’t end your night without trying at least one of their desserts, even if you’re so full you have to share it. There were at least 14 dessert choices on a recent Friday night, one of the best of which being their salted caramel cheesecake. It’s not your typical plain cheesecake with some caramel drizzled on top — the cream cheese in this cheesecake has the salted caramel all mixed in, so what you get is a swirled confection with the taste of salted caramel infused in every bite. Other options in the dessert area included pecan pie (each slice was topped with whipped cream and a cherry); several types of cakes including chocolate; mini cheesecakes and more.
If you can’t make it out on a Friday night (which, hopefully you can), the restaurant is open in the mornings for a breakfast buffet, at lunchtime for a Southern-style buffet, and for dinnertime. The breakfast buffet has a little bit of everything, with foods including scrambled eggs, as well as any eggs made to order including omelets. It also has bacon, sausage, hash browns, pancakes, French toast, yogurt parfaits, cold and hot cereals oatmeal, sliced fruits, whole fruits, croissants, muffins, Danish pastries and more. And along with the buffets, Andrew’s Restaurant also has a full menu.
Andrew’s Restaurant’s breakfast buffet is available seven days a week, from 6-10 a.m. The Southern-style lunch buffet is served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays. Dinner is served seven nights a week from 5-10 p.m. Dress for the restaurant is casual, and diners are welcome to walk right in or to make reservations, especially for parties of six or more. The seafood buffet on Friday nights costs $33.95 a person. The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Augusta is at 2651 Perimeter Parkway; call 706-855-8100.