5000 ans, a casual Korean (and Japanese?!?) restaurant, offers a wide selection of dishes I’d like to try some day but this post is about the all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. At a rate of $21.99 per person, the meal features four types of meat, two dipping sauces, mushrooms, onions, a leafy salad, napa kimchi, pickled daikon and steamed white rice. Even if you can order all you want as often as you want, pace yourself. Wasting food adds a penalty fee of $5.99 to your bill.
5000 ans biggest set back is that most meals aren’t accompanied by a complimentary set of Banchan. Pretty ridiculous. They have some, you just have to pay for them. Even more ridiculous. At least the cost of the all-you-can-eat BBQ covers two small side dishes: Napa Kimchi and Pickled Daikon. I like my kimchi strong, sharp, sour and spicy. Here, it’s too mild and dry for my taste. It’s not bad, there’s just better out there. Thinly stringed and delightfully refreshing, the pickled white radish adds crunch, vinegary zing and a touch of sweetness to every bite.
Not all Korean restaurants let you cook the BBQ and that takes the fun out of it. At 5000 ans, you get to do it yourself! Turn up the portable gas grill and start with whatever you like. It’s not a good idea to dump everything at once. Take it slow and eat a little while you cook a little. The smell of sizzling meat and vegetables browning might be deliciously painful if you’re starving but for quick cooking, lay the food flat in a single layer and leave enough space between items. Look for springy, browned flesh, shriveled up edges, and the always awesome caramelized patches.
In addition to fresh mushrooms and onions, other raw items to be cooked include thinly sliced pork belly, beef, chicken and my favorite, tender and tasty beef short ribs. Only the last two are marinated. The chicken is deceitfully “spicy” and the beef short ribs are sweet. Don’t worry about blandness. There are two dipping sauces to flavor the meat once it’s cooked. The soy-based sauce isn’t anything spectacular but don’t skimp on the fermented bean paste and chill dip – it’s good. I’d ask for a bowl.
5000 ans can be found at multiple locations. I don’t know if they all offer all-you-can-eat BBQ but the one on Sainte-Catherine between Atwater and Guy Metros definitely does. Service is a little spacey and it slows down dramatically when the restaurant starts to fill up. As far as Korean BBQ goes, I’m not trippin’ on how good it is. It’s just okay. But you can eat until you can’t anymore. Make the most of the experience by taking advantage of the beef short ribs, pork belly and pickled daikon. Since they frown upon wasting food, servings are cautiously and annoyingly portioned to help control that. Don’t be shy to ask for more, no matter how many times you have to. You have to get your $21.99 worth. Otherwise, it’s not worth it at all.
Look, chances are I won’t be back now that Seoul Chako just opened a few feet away. The new all-you-can-eat, do-it-yourself Korean BBQ offers fresher, tastier food and more variety for about the same price (though cheaper for lunch). Bad news for 5000 ans.
2176 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest | map