While Chinese buffets are popping up all over Madison, QQ is the north side's only buffet; it joins just two Chinese takeout options in the area.
QQ has remodeled the space, which - despite being home to a succession of Chinese restaurants in recent years - still looked essentially like the old Poole's Supper Club. The new venture has ripped out the old bar area, tiled it and installed bright lighting.
QQ scores some hits but also some misses. The hot and sour soup was decently spicy-hot, and also sour, with plenty of mushrooms, tofu and shoots, but without the scraggly pieces of pork. I didn't miss them.
I liked a custard-filled wonton cup, arranged with appetizers but more of a dessert, that tasted like a wonton cheesecake.
The number of entrees is small compared to all the other items in the spread, and they tended toward the more common staples of Chinese takeout - General Tso's chicken, chicken and vegetables, sweet and sour chicken, egg foo young, fried rice. The emphasis was also on meat over veggies. I got a decent helping of good broccoli from a dish labeled chicken and broccoli, and it made do as the vegetable for the others. There were also some green beans in garlic sauce, but the beans looked a little stressed.
Most satisfying were three entrees that don't even appear on the restaurant's regular menu. The first was a simple whitefish filet in a light ginger sauce. Peanut chicken, pieces of chicken coated with a sweet, salty peanut glaze, was lovable but admittedly on the greasy side. Finally, I loved the coconut shrimp, again a sweet-'n'-salty combo that featured medium shrimp in an almost pudding-like coconut-milk sauce. If shrimp were a dessert, it would taste like this. And if I had the buffet to do over again, I think I might simply have eaten this, along with the cheesecake wontons.