Kalbi Korean BBQ: all you can eat Korean BBQ & more in Chinatown

Restaurant: Kalbi Korean BBQ
Date: Monday April 2nd 2018
Table of: 2
My favorite dish: the Korean BBQ

After months of hearing Alex tell me he wanted to go for Korean BBQ, we finally went on a Monday night after running some errands. Because it was Easter Monday (or just a Monday in general) turns out a few places were closed and so we settled on one in Chinatown as its close to our place. Kalbi seemed to have the better ratings and whatnot, so we settled for them.

As mentioned, Kalbi is located in Chinatown, more specifically, on St-Laurent just South of La Gauchetière. When we walked in, we were surprised to see that the place was packed. There were just a few tables left empty and this, on a Monday night. We were given a table of four, which ended up being quite convenient with all the little dishes we ordered and started browsing through the menu right away. Like most all-you-can-eat Asian restaurants, you’re given a sheet of paper on which you write quantities of everything you want. We chose a good selection of protein and vegetables to grill on the BBQ, as well as some side dishes and a pitcher of Sapporo.

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Wonton soup (2018)

First up was the Wonton soup, or should I say, the singular Wonton soup, as there was just one Wonton. With that said, after stuffing my face in BBQ and other snacks, it was plenty; just enough to satisfy my Wonton soup craving. The Wonton itself was pork I believe and quite tasty. It situated itself somewhere in between buffet quality and restaurant quality.

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Sushi & nigiri (2018)

Next up was the sushi platters. We ordered a few different kinds, one of which was fried, a salmon roll and salmon nigiri. All were quite good, more so the fried ones, but I wouldn’t go back just for their sushi.

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Korean BBQ (2018)
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Korean BBQ (2018)
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Korean BBQ (2018)

Quickly following the sushi, we received all of our little platters, full of meats and vegetables to be cooked on the BBQ. We pretty much ordered a bit of everything, like: beef ribs, pork belly, chicken, shrimps, lamb, broccoli, onion, mushrooms and zucchini, etc. Having never been to Korean BBQ in Montreal, we kinda just winged it. We put as much food as we could on our BBQ and then tested the sauces we were given and added the sweet and salty one to basically everything. Some things turned out better than others, like the garlic shrimps (which you had to remove the shells yourself) and the beef ribs (which were a bit rough). But the BBQ portion was good and you can eat as much of it as you’d like.

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Fried dumplings, fried calamari, fried scallops & fried zucchini (2018)

We also ordered some fried delicacies, like fried dumplings, fried zucchini, fried calamari and fried scallops. Personally I didn’t like that they just lathered everything in sauce, as I would have preferred to eat everything without it. The dumplings were okay, nothing fabulous, as were the scallops. The calamari and zucchini were the better choices.

For dessert, we opted for some vanilla and green tea ice cream, which were both yummy. We also ordered fried banana which was a humongous portion and not very well done either. They weren’t actually fried in batter like they normally are, they were covered in some weird bread crumbs.

Overall, the BBQ was quite good, but I found the whole experience quite pricey for what it was. Yes, it was all you can eat and that there wasn’t just BBQ, there were sushi, fried tempura, soups, salads and dessert, but I didn’t find that it was worth the $27 per person, based on the overall quality of the foods we were served. Perhaps if I had a much larger appetite for buffet/all you can eat type food, I would have found it was worthwhile. However, in terms of service, I have to give it to Kalbi, it was very good. Once we had ordered our food, the first dish came out maybe 10-15 minutes later and the others quickly followed as well. I have my own criteria when it comes to reviewing restaurants, which I also use on my Instagram account (@elisebgravel). It’s very simple, there are only three points: the quality of the food (on 10), the price (from $ to $$$$$) and the following question: would I go back?

So, here is my review of Kalbi Korean BBQ:
Food: 7/10 
Price: $$$ 
Would I go back?: No, but I will give Shabu Shabu a try, which has been recommended to me by a fellow foodie.

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Kalbi Korean BBQ (2018)

UP NEXT: my restaurant guest review of Restaurant L’Inconnu (extensive brunch menu in the Plateau!)

*All photos and opinions are mine

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