Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi/Korean BBQ/Buffet
Area: Vancouver, BC - Downtown (2 locations in Vancouver)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Offers Korean BBQ and popular Japanese items/sashimi
- Owned and operated by Chinese
- Not authentic Japanese sushi
- Typical all-you-can-eat/buffet standards
- Good for large groups
- Reservations recommended
- Lunch buffet $13 11-2:30pm
- Dinner buffet $23 5-10:30pm
- Open everyday
What can I really say? It's another all-you-can-eat Japanese place except it also features all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ as well. It's convenient and good for large groups, not a bad deal, but I wouldn't pick it. It's not quite for me, but I'm not their target market either.
Compared to other all-you-can-eat places it's only better because you get you're Korean BBQ. The variety is decent with all your standard items but the quality and execution is better at others places.
Is the food at least good? Well it's all-you-can-eat for $23...it's not going to be gourmet, but it's not dog food either...although it doesn't look appetizing. It's very basic, slightly below average, and a rough assembly.
I've divided my review into 2 parts because it was too much to digest...ha! Love the pun.
1) Not deep-fried items
2) Deep fried items
As a side note, what I really liked about Shabusen is that they minimize waste by offering 1 piece ordering.
On the table:
- Kimchi 1.5/6
- Spicy preserved cabbage. A traditional Korean appetizer.
- It wasn't authentic here and the colour is off. It wasn't marinated/preserved long enough so the flavour was not strong enough. It was decently spicy, but not flavourful.
- The cabbage was cut too big, and it and I couldn't see any garlic bits, which there has to be.
- Gommae 1/6
- Ohitashi 1.5/6
- A traditional Japanese appetizer: boiled spinach with soy sauce and Mirin or rice wine vinegar.
- This is simple, I prefer the gommae. Traditionally it should be served with bonito flakes.They didn't really do a bad job because it is a simple recipe, but I think they just used soy, it wasn't tangy enough.
- Sunomono Salad 1.5/6
- A traditional Japanese vermicelli salad appetizer soaked in vinegar, sugar and Mirin. Served with cucumbers and carrots.
- The flavour was alright, but there was no baby shrimp or anything on the top. Even a little frozen one would have been good. A lot of all-you-cat-eat places will include at least a couple baby shrimps.
- Salmon/Tuna Sashimi 3/6
- Hamachi/Toro/Tomago Nigiri 3/6
- Hamachi/yellow fin tuna: the quality wasn't great. Not as smooth, cold or clean tasting.
- Toro/tuna belly: not bad. Has a richer/creamier/heartier texture than tuna.
- Tomago: a bit overcooked and dry. Tastes like it's been sitting there. Flavour wasn't bad though.
- California Roll/BC Roll 2/6
- The sushi rice isn't good here. There wasn't enough flavour in the rice and it was really poorly presented and executred even for an all-you-can-eat place.
- California roll: Too much rice around the roll and wasn't wrapped tight enough so it fell apart.
- BC roll: not a fan. Salmon skin was soggy. Lettuce wasn't as fresh, it had wilted leaves.
- Alaska Roll 3/6
- Special Shrimp Roll 2/6
- Chopped Scallop Cone
- Vegetable Teriyaki 3/6
- It was actually freshly cut veggies, I thought they would have just bought the bag of pre-cut veggies. They give you a lot too and it tasted fresh. They weren't sauteed long enough though and because they were big pieces it was more on the raw side.
- It's lightly coated with Teriyaki sauce which is watered down and very bland. The sauce was probably bottled and watered down. No salt and pepper either.
- Salmon Teriyaki 3/6
- Frozen salmon fillets and it actually wasn't overcooked even though it looks like it. It wasn't marinated with teriyaki sauce, the sauce was just poured on top and served. It actually tasted pretty good.
- BBQ Beef Short Rib 3/3
- It was well-marinated as in overnight - but the sauce was just packaged sauce or generic sauce.
- I didn't need any additional dipping sauce but it was very very oily and greasy. I could taste the canola oil. I grilled my corn on the BBQ after and my corn was super greasy from the short ribs.