Eat To Your Heart’s ContentCover Story
August 26, 2018
Story By: Caroline Wright |
When chef Angelo Bruce Kim talks about the food at his restaurant, the fiery excitement in his voice is as undeniable as the hottest gochujang.
As the new executive chef at Camellia Buffet Yakiniku, Kim brings years of experience in some of the finest restaurants in South Korea and the U.S. to the table at Camellia.
Like many restaurants specializing in Korean yakiniku, Camellia offers all-you-can-eat dining for lunch and dinner. From Monday through Friday, lunch is $15.99 for adults, $9.99 for kids ages 4-10; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, it’s $18.99 for adults and $11.99 for keiki. Dinner any day of the week is $26.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids. Whether you visit for lunch (10:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.) or dinner (2:30-10 p.m.), you and your ohana will never leave hungry.
“There’s so much food for the price,” says Kim. “We have cold salads, stir fry, five different sushi rolls every day, three different soups, nine different hot dishes and nine items ready to grill.”
Each day’s yakiniku offerings vary, and might include anything from a list of long-time customer favorites like marinated beef (bulgogi), fresh shrimp or mussels, thick slabs of pork belly, beef ribs (kalbi), gorgeously marbled beef brisket, New York strip steak, and what might just be the best spicy pork in town.
Hot offerings include loaded fried rice and chow mein, fried gyoza, tender fried chicken and crispy onion rings. There’s a virtual plantation of banchan, salads and chilled dishes, including cold spinach salad, spicy cucumbers, taegu (shredded seasoned codfish), fishcake salad and radish salad. You can grab raw zucchini, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos and garlic cloves to throw on your grill. And of course there’s plenty of zesty housemade kim chee.
With Kim at the helm, Camellia’s kitchen now is producing a variety of featured items on the buffet each day. Favorites include Japchae, the chilled dish made with “glass” potato noodles, mushrooms, onions, black fungus, and thinly sliced eggs, and Happy Family, which is a seafood feast of squid, shrimp, crab meat, mussels, and vegetables like bok choy, onions, broccoli and mushrooms.
Then there’s Ginger Soft Crab. “This is a crab from Korea, and you can eat the shell,” explains Kim. “I fry them and then use the juice from the crab to make a gravy. I stir-fry green onions and ginger for flavor.” If you see them on the buffet this week, grab as many as you think you can eat — they’re simply delicious.
Under new owner Shawna Kim, who bought the restaurant late last year, a host of improvements and updates have been made here, even the logo and exterior signage have been revamped. Next month, Camellia will add a new hot table that can accommodate eight pans.
TOP IT OFF
After dinner at Camellia Buffet, you probably won’t have much room for dessert — but just in case, the restaurant offers a perfect selection of sweet endings, including jello, fresh fruits and a soft-serve ice cream machine. There couldn’t possibly be a better finish for a wonderful yakiniku dinner than a bowl of creamy vanilla ice cream garnished with fresh fruit. As they say in Seoul, meokkesseumnida (bon appetite)!
THERE’S A NEW CHEF IN TOWN!
Give a hearty welcome to chef Angelo Bruce Kim, as he is the new executive chef at Camellia Buffet! Born in South Korea, Kim attended culinary school in Seoul before immigrating to the United States in 1980. He worked in high-end restaurants in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and most recently, as head chef at a fine dining restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska. With almost 40 years of professional experience, Kim says he has mastered more than 500 recipes.