Last night, to help cap off a recent visit by my cousin B. from Winnipeg, a whole slew of us (kids included) took on supper at the Seoul Grill House in Surrey. My cousin-in-law S., organized a reservation for 18 of us, and this restaurant had an almost perfect set-up for that! They have long rows of tables that accommodated up to 16 and because of one absence and one late-arrival, that ended up fitting us to a T. Also, the mom in me can’t neglect to mention that in-between the rows of tables was still enough space to slide in a high chair in one of the middle regular tables (didn’t want the kid to be able to reach the in-table grills) and I thought it wasn’t much of an encumbrance at all.
It is my understanding that this placed used to be a different type of buffet, but is a fairly new Korean Buffet restaurant. Looking around there were some signs of that with new signage, or no signage for some of the food on the buffet tables. I think I even saw boxes of new kitchen equipment in the front entry. However, new also means a fresh opportunity to try something different in the area.
When S. described the buffet to me, I admit I was easily had at “it’s an all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque joint,” which translated to me as unlimited MEAT. However, I also had my hesitations as I imagined starving while awaiting the meat to cook on the grill, still traumatized by an experience I had years ago at a different Korean resto. What I appreciate at the Grill House was that they have a fair mix of cooked items that can (from my perspective) ‘tide you over’ while you are waiting for the meat.
I began with a pretty routine fried rice and a couple of fried chicken wings, while waiting on various meats on the grill, including marinated chicken, beef, pork ribs, and pork belly. I took a pic of my brother M’s meat layout as it seemed so symmetrically appealing. For me, the marinated beef was the most flavourful. I also enjoyed the pork side ribs but they took the longest to cook. I think the resto needs more readily available condiments to help increase the meat flavour profiles, unless there was a step I missed in terms of getting the items for grill before hand. They did have a small bunch of very basic condiments near the soup stations, but it didn’t seem a natural place for them given the meat cooler was at the other end of the long buffet table. I know that D. had to hunt down some vinegar to go with her pork belly. The staff change out the grill frequently, as the food may easily burn. But my sis and I was analyzing that and could see how it could work in their favour as well. Everytime they switch out a grill, it has to warm up again (not a super long delay) but still that can add up, and we know that in an AYCE situation, time can work against you as your brain catches up with your stomach and helps to realize that you are full. Speaking of time, they had a sign saying that there was a 90 minute maximum, but I think they were a bit relaxed on that which was good.
One surprise was a spicy seafood soup. I was looking to change up my palette after so much meat, and this soup certainly did that. It had claims, shrimp, and squid and the spice as promised. It also had bok choy which is one of my favourite veggies.
To cool off the evening many of use enjoyed the ice cream. An informal poll seemed to have mango as the top flavour, but the chocolate and strawberry were found in most bowls as well. Perhaps the mango-leaning was due to the all Asian tastebuds in attendance.
A few things on service: plates were collected fairly regularly, water was replenished on request (provided in these cute and covered water containers), and extra napkins were available from the servers. The weekend dinner rate is pretty pricey, and I’m not sure how much the menu would change from weekend to weekday, or from dinner to lunch, but I enjoyed enough of that meat (and other things) that I’m willing to make a return trip to find out.