Ginseng Restaurant, Edmonton

Last month, a group of friends and I headed out for some Korean BBQ. Ginseng Restaurant specializes in an all-you-can-eat, cook-it-yourself BBQ buffet.

buffet table

buffet table

About half of the buffet has a variety of marinated raw chicken, beef and pork, as well as seafood such as shrimp, mussels, clams and squid. The other half has cooked food such as rice, noodles, tempura, kimchee,  tofu stir-fry, etc.

pre-cooked food and fruit

pre-cooked food and fruit

Each table has a built-in grill set in the middle. You’re given tongs to use to cook your food, and away you go! The metal grill plate gets covered with blackened fats quite quickly, and a waitress came by often to replace our grill plate with a clean, newly oiled version.

grill and raw food

grill and raw food

I was happy with the variety that Ginseng offers on their buffet table. The marinated meats ranged from mild to spicy, and the cuts weren’t too bad. I liked that they cut up vegetables for the grill as well.

If you go, go early as the place fills up quickly. Also, be aware that you will walk out of the place reeking of meat and smoke. There are giant vents over each table (like those that you would find over a stove), but it didn’t seem like the restaurant actually turned them on. The room had a visible haze of cooking smoke by the end of our meal. It also probably didn’t help that the table behind us kept burning their food. All of us smelled like meat for the rest of the evening.

The buffet costs $29 per person and  includes non-alcoholic drinks, but not dessert other than the fruit that is on the buffet table. The restaurant also has a regular menu, but everyone there seemed to eat from the buffet.

Ginseng Restaurant
9261 – 34 Avenue
Edmonton, AB

Ginseng Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro, Calgary

This post is about an October 2008 visit to Calgary.

I needed a restaurant on or near Stephen Avenue for a dinner with friends. A few years ago I went to Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro for dinner and throughly enjoyed myself, so I decided it was time for a return visit. The decor of the restaurant is contemporary with lots of brick; a perfect place for the young professionals in the area to unwind after a hard day at work. Not to say that you have to dress up to eat here – there were quite a few people in sports jerseys and jeans, grabbing a meal before a football game.

Some of us ended up ordering some of the same dishes, so there are actually only three photos. I also have to apologize for the blurriness of the photos; it was pretty dark in there and after taking numerous photos I gave in to my hunger instead of my need for perfect photos.

One dish ordered was the Mussels & Frites with vine ripened tomato, garlic, white wine, parsley & caper broth. The mussels were large, fresh and perfectly cooked. The accompanying broth had a strong tomato base that complimented the mussels very well. The fries were served with an addicting lemon aioli and Parmesan shavings on top.

mussels

mussels

frites

frites

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