All You Can Eat with Quality
Korean and Japanese
10023 107 Avenue
“All-you-can-eat” or “buffet” make me nervous for two reasons. The first is that I will actually eat all I can eat. The second is that the food is often mediocre – tepid food mixtures of broccoli stems and overcooked mushrooms, with the good stuff taken by previous clients. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to IT’ALL which proclaims all-you-can-eat Japanese and Korean buffet. Once inside, I realized that it was not a single all-you-can-eat buffet. Rather, Japanese food could be ordered from the menu and the Korean food was on the buffet. That meant that the sushi, sashimi, and tempura were always fresh and made to order. The kimchi (three kinds!) and a wide selection of greens were on the cold buffet and the bulgogi and other hot food at the hot buffet.
Clear labels on the dishes helped those of us unfamiliar with the numerous options. The kimchi packed a punch and the various greens and salads were crisp, clean, delicately seasoned, and very tasty. The bulgogi beef rivalled any I had had. The spicy pork and braised short ribs were tender and delicious. Particularly excellent was the squid, tasty and soft without being rubbery. The tofu cakes retained their firmness, were perfectly flavoured, and delectable. Everything on the hot buffet was the correct temperature, deliciously flavoured, with an excellent balance of the main ingredient and supplementary flavours.
The Japanese food really stole the show. The lightly battered hot tempura allowed the taste of the vegetable or shrimp to predominate, as it should. The sushi and sashimi were freshly prepared so the delicate flavour of the fish was not overpowered by rice. The fish cake soup was incredible, with broth that didn’t scream “fish” but provided enough flavour to complement the well-made fish balls and fish cakes. Korokee, a deep fried potato and vegetable cake, balanced the ingredients wonderfully, including the decorative sauce on top.
The desserts, like the rest of the buffet dishes, were artfully presented: strawberries cut and aligned, orange slices neatly arranged, and Korean melon slices carefully overlapped. The gelatinous desserts, particularly the red bean and glutinous rice, emphasized the flavour rather than the texture. Ice cream sticks were also available, although some translations were necessary to know what was chocolate and what was fruity.
The lunch buffet is $24 per person (Monday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.). The dinner buffet, which includes even more choices of both Japanese and Korean food, is $37 (5-10 p.m.and 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on Sundays). A full drink menu is also available.
Chef Joon Yoo displayed his several awards near the entrance, but they only begin to document the extraordinary cooking at IT’ALL. I am now less afraid of the quality of food at all-you-can-eat buffet, but I’m still afraid that I will actually eat all I can!
John lives in Boyle Street.