Sara and I originally planned to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory but after being told of a 40 to 50 minute wait, we decided to take our empty bellies elsewhere. After much debating, we settled on Izumi-Tei buffet in Richmond.
Izumi-tei is a buffet located inside of Izumiya Market. Buffets typically are not an option for us considering Sara gets full on very small amounts of food, but at $12.50 per person (after taxes) even if Sara didn’t eat a whole lot of food the price is still acceptable. When you walk in, you will quickly notice that Izumi-tei is not your typical buffet. While there are still plenty of options to choose from, the options at Izumi-tei are mostly deep fried foods. For a Japanese buffet, there are not many rolls to choose from either.
If you are wondering where the washrooms are, the washroom is actually located within the grocery store. The washrooms are the ones you will find at most Japanese places. They are single occupancy, meaning its just one loo and a sink.
This is where I have a dilemma – should I judge just the food itself? Or do I consider the price I paid to be eating this food? The food, as a whole, as alright. Nothing spectacular. I tried almost everything they had and nothing really stuck out to me. As I mentioned earlier, most of the items are deep fried and probably straight from a package. So if you are on a diet (and if you are why are you at a buffet), Izumi-tei is probably not an option for you.
A few things stuck out for me and for the wrong reasons.
First of all, most of Izumi-tei’s items are either warm or cold. Even the fried foods. Maybe their heat lamps aren’t working properly, but most of Izumi-tei’s “hot” food items were not actually hot. This was the case for everything that wasn’t drowning in liquid like soup or their terrible terrible beef sukiyaki. This was a put off for me, but hey, I paid $12.50 to eat unlimited amounts of this so the gluttonous pig in me doesn’t really mind too much.
If you can see in the picture above, we had their deep fried fish. Don’t let the size of that piece of fish fool you – most of that is batter. When biting into that, its like eating a fish sandwiched between thick slices of fried batter. Actually, its not “like”, it is like biting into a big chunk of batter and fish.
This is more a complaint of Sara’s as I didn’t try the Beef Curry, but I’m pretty sure I would of said the same. There was no beef in the beef curry. None. Zilch. Really it was just Japanese curry made from the Glico curry cubes. They should have just labelled this item as curry because there is no traces of beef to be found in there. Maybe the beef was symbolic. Maybe the beef wasn’t suppose to be in the curry but the beef is actually in all of us. I would rather prefer the beef to be in the curry, so I can put it inside of me manually.
If there was anything that had potential at Izumi-tei’s buffet is the Garlic Butter Clams. There are plenty of clams swimming in that hotel pan. The soup was really flavorful and full of clam taste. Other than clams and flavor, can you guess what else is swimming in that hotel pan? Sand. Lots of sand. Enough sand to build a sand castle. I would have had more of the clams, but I didn’t want to get kidney stones.
I personally didn’t have the ice cream, but Sara did. She said it was very soft. So soft that it melted really fast.
What the frick is oden! Sara says that its suppose to be fish paste and fish balls. I guess oden is the Japanese version of Chinese curry fish balls? The oden that Izumi-tei had was primarily just fish paste and fish balls in some kind of soup. Wasn’t enjoyable to me. Will never have again.
What do I say? The food was mediocre (borderline terrible) at best but the price to take part in the buffet is only $12.50. You really get what you paid for at Izumi-tei. The food items aren’t very good, but they are not so bad that they don’t deserve the $12.50 price tag. It really comes down to your mentality with food.
If you are a gluttonous pig like me, then you won’t mind coming to Izumi-tei. You can eat as much food as you want and pay half of what it would cost elsewhere.
If you are one to always value the taste and quality of the food, then Izumi-tei isn’t for you. The food isn’t well made and they are mostly food from packaging.
Here is a list of all the items at Izumi-Tei:
Tofu steak with mushroom sauce
Fried Squid tentacles
Garlic butter clams
Deep fried white fish
Oden (fish cakes, daikon, balls, konjac knots– konnyaku)
Spicy egg and seaweed
Zousui (Japanese Style congee)
Matcha soft serve
Namasu (Japanese radish and carrot)
Various salad dressing + lettuce
Sushi: I really don’ know what rolls they have as majority were taken by earlier customers. I did, however, have some dynamite rolls and Inari.