Sherman's Food Adventures: Dae Bak Bon Ga

Dae Bak Bon Ga

There was a time when "all-you-can-eat" was a thing for me.  Yes, I'll readily admit it.  Sure, I knew what good food was, but there was a time and place for gorging on average (to low) quality eats.  First of all, I had a bigger appetite then and we usually dined in larger groups.  This presented the perfect opportunity to pay one price and order as much as you wanted.  I'm far past that stage and only partake in such gluttony when it is planned by somebody else.  This was the case for one of our "guys" dinners where we ended up for AYCE Korean at Dae Bak Bon Ga on Robson.

Like usual, we were started off with an array of Banchan including stewed potatoes, spicy bean sprouts, kimchi and salad.  Although the potatoes were a bit on the greasier side, they were tender and remained intact.  That was probably because they fried them first (hence the oil) before stewing them.  They weren't too sweet which was what I prefer.  Sprouts were crunchy and properly drained of moisture.  I found the kimchi a bit lacking in depth and rather sour.

As part of AYCE Menu B, we almost got all of the meats including Chicken, Beef & Pork Bulgogi (marinated & spicy), Pork Belly (spicy & garlic) and Pork Steak (marinated & spicy).  For an AYCE spot, the meats were decent in quality and they didn't skimp with our order.  Interestingly, the marinated meats were a bit underseasoned, but then again, we had an selection of sauces at our table.

As for the actual grilling of the meats, it was a challenge.  The grill itself was only truly hot on the upper 1/2 and right in the middle (even on high setting).  So it took an hour just to cook all the meats because I had to rotate everything to ensure things were done.  Suffice to say, the charring was inconsistent and sometimes negligible.  The one positive was that it never burnt anything even if I forgot about the meat.

We also tried some of the cooked items including the Rice Balls, Jajangmyeon, Cold Noodles and Spicy Noodles.  I actually quite enjoyed the rice balls as they were well-seasoned and had a nice chewy texture.  On the other hand, I hated all of the noodle dishes.  Okay, the black bean sauce for the jajangmyeon was serviceable, but the noodles were all wrong.  Instead of chewy noodles, we got mushy ones.  Texturally it was not appealing.  That would be the same for the other 2 noodle items as well.

Fortunately, the other dishes were better.  They consisted of Sweet & Sour Dumplings, Torched Vegetable Sushi, Deep Fried Dumplings, Vegetable Pancake and Japchae.  I actually thought the torched sushi was pretty good even though there was no meat.  Rice was surprisingly well-made.  Dumplings were pretty standard, but the pancake was sad (just look at it).  It was lifeless and bland.  Japchae was okay considering there was nothing but noodles.  At least it wasn't clumpy.  I would say if you stick to the BBQ meats, the meal will be okay.  Cooked items were below average.  Only go for this AYCE if you are hungry and are not overly concerned about food quality.

The Good:
- Meats were decent
- Service was decent
- Price is okay with all things considered

The Bad:
- Cooked food was lacking
- Grill was not uniformly hot


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