Review: Buffet, customer service set Sweet Basil apart

02/06/2014 12:00 AM

02/05/2014 4:40 PM

While some may consider Sweet Basil a “been-there-dined-there” restaurant, this northeast Wichita mainstay deserves a revisit.

Sweet Basil, a locally owned Italian restaurant, maintains solid customer service and a buffet that after 23 years many east-side regulars still count on. In fact, during our recent visit, many loyal customers were greeted by the staff with questions about their families and New Year’s resolutions.

The lunch buffet, ($7.99) is available Mondays through Saturdays and is full of Italian comfort foods: classic meat lasagna; eggplant Parmesan coated in Panko and dripping in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese; garlic-basil spaghetti; fettuccine Alfredo; and the restaurant’s popular Parmesan-crusted garlic toast.

When we visited, the buffet also had chicken teriyaki with rice, tempura-battered hot wings, and Caesar and house salad selections. (We were a bit disappointed, though, that we didn’t find a few entrees we expected, such as beef Marsala, manicotti, and fried fish.) Diners craving something sweet can choose from four sheet cakes, including fluffy strawberry cake and bite-sized brownies.

Patrons hoping to find more elaborate seafood and veal entrees should stop in for dinner. The extensive menu includes pasta and meat entrees ($9.95 to $19.95). The ever-evolving wine list includes a sampler option.

Though the restaurant could use some updated decor, fresh flowers in wine bottles adorn each table nicely while jazz music makes for a relaxing backdrop. What a couple of dishes lack in flavor the customer service makes up for. The staff is friendly, and the value of the buffet is hard to match in Wichita.

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