Its name conjures images that are not too far from the reality, images of all-you-can-eat arrays of American staple foods. With a small salad bar, dessert bar, meat counter, and the ever-present basics: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese, Hometown Buffet neither excels nor fails at anything it attempts.

    The customer should be aware when filling his or her plate that the food counters are very loosely monitored and within the reach of children who may find traditional utensils (and hygiene) tiresome, but even if some dishes must occasionally be bypassed for this reason, one will find that the entire meal turns out to be much the same bounty of homogeneous mediocrity each time.

    The few exceptions to this rule are the brisket, always well marinated, and the garlic mushrooms with their well-balanced blend of seasonings.

    A small step outside the bounds of its overarching conventionalism is the availability of a few flavors of soft-serve frozen yogurt alongside the chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately the yogurt itself is less than a step outside the bounds of the general quality, and I give the restaurant as a whole three stars out of five.