After celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary with an eat-all-you-can dinner at YakiMIX, I found myself on the way to Eastwood City with Paul and my sister last Saturday night to try another popular yakiniku grill-all-you-can place -- Sambo Kojin.
My friends who have tried both, have been telling me that is the BEST yakiniku grill-all-you-can place in town and I believe them. This time, I also did my research. I read up on blogs and website who did reviews on the restaurant and even bump into an old friend that morning who assured me that I won't be disappointed. Needless to say, I arrived at Sambo Kojin with really high expectations.
The place was packed and luckily we had a reservation. The friendly receptionist led us to our table and we were greeted by Jeffrey John, our server for the evening.
On our table were two small platters filled with some Korean appetizers. We settled down and began by trying the kimchi, bean sprouts, potatoes, dilis and spinach. Not bad.
Jeffrey John came back to our table to get our drinks and offered if we want to start with soup. We agreed and so I got a bowl of Miso Soup while Paul and Pan chose to have Sukiyaki. I was just too engrossed trying everything out that I only had a few spoonfuls of my soup and it was gone in a snap as Paul enjoyed both his beefy Sukiyaki and my Miso Soup.
Unlike other grill-all-you-can restaurants where it's basically purely self-service except when you want to have your drinks refilled, here at Sambo Kojin we were well taken cared of by Jeffrey John who offered to bring plates of raw meat and seafood to our table. Paul, who was our designated chef that evening, didn't even found the need to stand up and check the buffet table out. Jeffrey John started by serving a plate of US beef strips followed by a platter of mixed seafood.
He even taught us which sauce should go with the meat and that the Ponzu sauce goes best with seafood.
After that, he even took the initiative to cook our seafood and made sure our prawns were perfectly grilled. Talk about service deluxe! I loved the prawns and the very juicy tuna!
Pan: Wonder how long will it take the prawns to cook....I'm hungry!!
While Paul was busy grilling our meat dishes, Pan and I checked out the buffet spread. Of course, we started with some Japanese sushi and sashimi. I noticed that Sambo Kojin had lesser choices compared to YakiMIX but after enjoying my first plate of sushi, I realized that they may have lesser varieties but the quality was surely way way way better by leaps and bounds.
Remember when I commented that the rice rolls in YakiMIX seems to all tastes the same? Here, I was so happy with every single piece of maki and sashimi on my plate. I can specifically taste the unagi, the sweet tamago sashimi, the fresh salmon roll and a lot more. I took my time as I enjoyed the plates of sushi that I shared with Paul.
Normally, the trick to be able to maximize the buffet is to lessen the carbs-intake. However, I'd like you to make an exception when dining at Sambo Kojin as I'm glad I did. Jeffrey John offered to bring over some Kamameshi Rice and in an instant we all said yes. Aside from fried rice, I love authentic kamameshi rice. I miss the times I would go to The Kamameshi House with my family and we would order two kinds of rice -- seafood and chicken. I just love this particular fragrant rice dish topped with strips of sweet potato, carrots and string beans. My first scoop of Sambo Kojin's Kamameshi Rice brought back a whole lot of fond childhood memories. Needless to say, I have what you could call a Ratatouille moment there.
Paul continued to grill more meats in our smokeless table top griller while Pan and I headed back to the buffet table to get some raw US beef, lots of mushroom wrapped in bacon and more marinated beef! We brought it back to the table for our chef to grill.
I also remembered reading how yummy Sambo Kojin's ebi tempura is. I told my sister to get two pieces each for us. Note that I am not a tempura fan. In fact, I can totally skip this and would rather get some grilled unagi or gindara whenever dining at a Japanese restaurant. In fact, I can think of ordering more than a dozen other dishes than having a basket of tempura as I am not fond of overly coated shrimp that ends up just disappointing me with the size of the shrimp and the thickness of the oily coating.
Believe me, it was a different case that night at Sambo Kojin. I was the first to try the tempura and I loved the crunch that I got on my first bite. I immediately exclaimed how delicious it was and followed this with more bites. The coating was perfect -- not too thin, not too thick. The shrimp tasted fresh and juicy. It was quite big in size too. I can say, this was the best tempura I've had in YEARS!
Just to prove how much I loved the tempura, I woke up this morning thinking about it and the kamameshi rice. I'm definitely heading back to Sambo Kojin for more of these two items.
We slowly enjoyed our meal and I loved the marinated beef too. No need to dip it into the sauces that I have prepared as it was very flavorful on its own. Must try also the mushrooms with bacon as it had a strong meaty taste.
I briefly checked the dessert spread but I guess I was just so full that nothing appealed to me. They have a cooler filled with Big Scoop ice cream and a variety of cakes and fruits.
After eating for almost an hour and a half, we raised the white flag to surrender. Our tummies were filled to its maximum capacity yet we leaned back and burped happily. *excuse us!* I thought of my aunt who loves ebi tempura and my kongkong (grandpa) who I know would simply enjoy this experience. I made a mental note to take them to Sambo Kojin one of these days.
I truly had a great time at Sambo Kojin and I now understand why there's always a line outside of customers eager to dine and who are, in fact, willing to wait just to get a table. This is really a great yakiniku grill-all-you-can restaurant giving you superb quality ingredients and the best service too.
Sambo Kojin buffet rate:
Monday to Friday lunch: Php 495 (except for holidays)
Saturday / Sunday / Holiday lunch: Php 595
Monday to Sunday dinner: Php. 595
Children’s price: Php 295
Leftover fee: +Php 100 to your regular rate
Check out Sambo Kojin; at the 2nd floor of Something Fishy, Eastwood Citywalk, Libis, Quezon City. I highly recommend that you cal to make a reservation at 421-0145 or 421-0146.