Sherman's Food Adventures: Kim Ga Nae

Kim Ga Nae

*Restaurant is closed*

Congrats to my cousin and his wife, they had a baby boy on April 1st (imagine the birthday/April fools for a lifetime). My uncle and aunt flew in from Hong Kong for the birth of their first grandson and I bet they're very proud grandparents. I don't get to see much of my uncle anymore and we decided to take him out for dinner. We decided to try this Korean restaurant (Kim Ga Nae) that Herbie the Lovebug had recommended. He was so enthusiastic about it, he called me on my cellphone immediately after eating there. Strangely enough, the day he called me, I had just ate at No. 1 Shanghai, which is directly across from Kim Ga Nae. I was curious about Kim Ga Nae, since it was an AYCE (all-you-can-eat) place. There are not too many good Korean AYCE places around in the GVRD. Naturally, to do some research, I paid a visit to Urbanspoon to see if any of my fellow bloggers have eaten there. Sure enough, Wendy from Eat 'n About had dined there and blogged about it too. The review seemed mostly positive, so I decided that we should check it out.

We made a reservation for 5:30, well before the dinner rush. By the time we left, there was a huge lineup. Unfortunately, due to "Richmond" traffic, we were a bit late. My parents, who arrived on time, were warned that there is a 2-hour limit. We finished on time, but we felt a bit rushed to cook and eat everything quickly. The order sheet is a bit odd, as it doesn't indicate how many pieces you get with each item. We found out that the servers will count how many people are at the table and will allocate one piece for each person. There is good and bad to this system, the good is that you'll never worry about not having enough to go around; the bad is there is way too much food, even if you didn't want that much. So if you are looking at the picture of the raw meat, there was actually TWO platters of meat for 6 adults. Well, at least you can't complain that Kim Ga Nae is stingy with their AYCE!

The BBQ grills are built into the tables and there is proper ventilation. The grills themselves are a bit slow (not good if you have a time limit); but at least they don't burn your food. The quality of the meat was actually very good. The 2 types of beef ribs (beef rib, beef short rib) were all very tender and meaty. The chicken was a whole de-boned thigh and they were quite large. This was the same for the boneless pork rib as well, it was like a really big pork chop. The rib eye beef was sliced thin and was quite tender. We also tried the ox tongue, squid and pork belly. All were pretty good as well. Unlike some other AYCE Korean places, Kim Ga Nae offers other Korean specialties as part of the meal. The Seafood Pancake was not very good, it was a bit stiff and there was really not much seafood in it. At least it was not very oily, but then again, a seafood pancake is not a seafood pancake if there isn't a pool of oil beneath it. The Japchae was pretty good, the noodles were a bit chewy still and it was lightly flavoured. However, it was served cold and I'm not a big fan of cold Japchae. The Stone Pot Rice (Bibimbap) was served in a hot stone pot and it looked very appealing (sorry for the crappy picture, it didn't turn out). Mixing it together with the kochujang (chili sauce), it turned out to be quite tasty.

A Korean BBQ meal would not be complete without the Banchan (various small side dishes) and there were the usual suspects: kimchi, stewed potatoes, marinated bean sprouts, marinated broccoli and pickled daikon. They were all pretty good; however, I'm not that picky when it comes to those little dishes. Also available was lettuce, rice and bean paste, so you could create your own lettuce wrap. Too bad they didn't have the slivered garlic and chilies, that completes the wrap (be sure to cook it slightly on the grill first, raw garlic is quite strong). One really surprising item was the pork bone soup, it was a very flavourful and a bit spicy. I recommend that you try it. One more tip, do not order the yam, it takes forever to cook on the grill, it was ready when we were about to leave.

The service at Kim Ga Nae was friendly; but it was excruciatingly sloooooow. I think it's because there are not enough staff and there is not enough people in the kitchen to pump the items out fast enough. However, I still enjoyed my meal very much for $20. It's a fantastic value. Late night only costs only $12.95 (from 9:00pm)! In terms of Korean BBQ, I still enjoy Insadong; but for AYCE, Kim Ga Nae is a good value.

The Good:
- It's run by Koreans
- They are not stingy
- Food is pretty decent for AYCE

The Bad:
- Slow service
- Time limit of 2 hours forces you to eat and cook fast
- It was hot in there (sing it like Nelly)

Kim Ga Nae
4260 No. 3 Road
Richmond, B.C.

Business Hours:
11:30am - 11:00pm (Sun - Thu)
11:30am - 12:00am (Fri & Sat)

Kim Ga Nae on Urbanspoon



holly said...

I had their lunch AYCE today. It was ok,

I'm not confident about my grilling abilities and I prefer to have the servers grill it for me like at Meok ja Gal on Kingsway in Burnaby.

All their others dishes were ok. I would rather order them individually as they usually bland down the taste to suit those who can't take spicy foods.

For $12.95 it's a pretty decent AYCE korean restaurant but like all buffets, you lose the individual flavours of each dish. I'm full, but not necessarily satisfied. Also, I've had better banchans.

Also, I liked the lettuce provided, but missed the garlic which is essential to a good korean style grill wrap.

Sherman Chan said...

Agreed. I think their non-BBQ dishes are average. As you said, like any other buffet, you lose quality over quantity.

Anonymous said...

The service was the WORST I have ever been to. Asked for water SIX times, and there is this one waiter that does not acknowledge your requests.

Food comes slower than if I went to a farm, grew some animals, butchered them, marinated them, sit there and scratch my ass for an hour, and then I will still have about 15 minutes to spare.

Most Horrible Service, EVER. I hate KIM GA NAE.

Sherman Chan said...

Hey, I hear ya. Once again, bad service at a Korean restaurant. Yes, I realize Chinese restaurants can be just as bad. But for some reason, when service goes bad in a Korean restaurant, it goes really bad!

Sunny Wong said...

This restaurant is closed

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