Monday, July 28, 2014Light Rain 17°C
Restaurants

Bryan's BBQ

Posted by Jason Finestone / Reviewed on October 2, 2012 / review policy

toronto korean bbq Bryan's BBQ is the best cook table eatery I've encountered since my return from Korea just over a year ago. Dispute it if you dare, but this Bloor St. spot is a bounty for fresh cuts of never-ending meat, traditional sides and bubbling dolsot bowls of soup and rice.

bryans bbq torontoWorking, or rather eating, my way through various neighbourhoods around South Korea, I was seldom against the idea of pulling up a small stool, cranking up the grill, and delving into piles of grilled meat, as my rosy-cheeked compatriots and I emptied bottles of soju and beer. The communal atmosphere and taste that characterized so many of these small restaurants was something I hadn't seen replicated at any Korean BBQ places around Toronto since my return.

bryans bbq torontoThe interior of Bryan's BBQ is unassuming. There are pull-down metallic ventilation systems and grills imported from Korea, and a simple décor marked by uneven wood-thatched walls meant to replicate bricks, but most importantly a menu brimming with various swine, poultry and bovine--this was exactly what we were looking for!

bryans bbq torontoThere are two AYCE options: the Special 1 begins at $12.99 for weekday lunch ($14.99 weekends, served from 11am-3pm) and $18.99 for dinner. This includes unlimited rice, doenjang jjigae (soybean and tofu soup) and veggies, as well as 8 different kinds of meat served in a random order. The Special 2 will run you $24.99 per person and comes with the same sides, a free choice of 8 types of meat, including galbi (not offered on the other menu), and the addition of a free appetizer on which you should consult the waiter.

bryans bbq torontoThe meat selection is as follows: kal-bi (galbi), which are grilled beef ribs marinated in special soy sauce; ju mul ruk, which is roasted hot pepper beef; saeng dung sim, or Korean-style steak; bulgogi, which is grilled or broiled thin sliced beef marinated in soy sauce; samgyeopsal, or pork belly; as well as spicy Korean bacon, chicken bulgogi and spicy chicken bulgogi.

bryans bbq torontoAfter two turns at the Special 1, I must admit that the quality of the meat was superb and the taste of the sides, such as the doenjang jjigae, was up to the local standards. Also important was the Korean import liquor, such as soju and Hite beer--hard finds around this city!

Given that this is an AYCE format (something that is not as common in Korea), there are some rules to be followed which might lend themselves better to Korean commonality. As with most AYCE places, the whole table needs to be ordering the special, though they were very accommodating to our vegetarian friend, who ordered what she described as a "perfect" dolsot bibim bap ($8.99). You'll also be fined for not finishing your order, so plan your meal accordingly.

bryans bbq torontoThe unlimited sides are also worth noting, aside from how quickly they're replenished. The japchae had a nice sesame taste and wasn't too oily. The odeng was nice and light and had a spicy kick from the green chilies. There was also some flavourful paperthin pickled daikon, and everybody's friend, some delicious--not too garlicky, not too sour--kimchi, which was amazing on the grill then tossed into a lettuce wrap with some meat and ssamjang.

bryans bbq torontoA per-chance stumble-upon with some friends of mine who I'd lived with in Seoul brought me to Bryan's several weeks ago. The food and the atmosphere will bring me back time and again.

bryans bbq toronto

Discussion

17 Comments

Collin / October 2, 2012 at 04:58 pm
user-pic
the whole meat in random order thing is kinda weird.

what if i really like chicken and i only want more chicken....it's a gamble on when the chicken will come?
evan replying to a comment from Collin / October 2, 2012 at 06:24 pm
user-pic
You didn't see option number 2?
joe mama / October 2, 2012 at 09:18 pm
user-pic
I love BlogTO reviews and often go to the reviewed restaurants...But when it comes to Korean food at Bloor/Christie, I usually steer clear of the places recommended by Toronto Life or BlogTO because they usually have line-ups and aren't necessarily the best. In an area like Bloor and Christie, you can find a lot of amazing options where you don't have to wait in line...And just like the writer prefaced his legitimacy by saying he lived in Korea, I AM Korean.
ian / October 2, 2012 at 10:56 pm
user-pic
I worked for a long time with the girl whose parents own and operate this place and have been going for years. The service and food is outstanding and I've never walked away remotely close to disappointed!
Rob / October 3, 2012 at 03:14 am
user-pic
Looks pretty authentic. Unfortunately Hite tastes like s.
Jason replying to a comment from joe mama / October 3, 2012 at 09:25 am
user-pic
While most K-BBQ spots in Korea only specialize in one type of meat/won't EVER let you put two different types or cuts on the grill at the same time, this place has the most authentic taste of anywhere I've been since Korea. Never had to wait. I'd definitely suggest checking it out, despite your skepticism of the area (and I agree with that, too!).
Victor replying to a comment from Collin / October 3, 2012 at 10:28 am
user-pic
If you ordered Special 1 and really liked a particular chicken dish, you'd have to wait another 7 (or 8? I remember a small change to the menu, but am not sure if this was it) meats to reach it again. Special 2 however, would have you see that particular chicken dish again after another 2 meats.

Side note: When I went, the first dish we received was Sirloin Steak (first picture). Unfortunately, we never made it back to it.
Lia / October 3, 2012 at 11:54 am
user-pic
"Any left over meat that has been cooked will be charged extra" ... what happens to the uncooked leftover meat on the table? If it's thrown out(which I hope it is) why wouldn't they charge for that too?
Ace McNugget / October 3, 2012 at 04:15 pm
user-pic
So you would have to wait for 7 dishes before getting your favourite one again- I hate food wastage and it seems like this would only encourage it. Besides, who wants so many rules when you are trying to have a nice team out for a meal?
Brandon / October 3, 2012 at 05:37 pm
user-pic
Hite is found at a few LCBO's around town, not to mention it is found at most, if not all, Korean restaurants in the city. Besides that, the only thing Hite is good for is a quick dose of nostalgia, which is quickly erased by its non-flavored taste.
Brandon / October 3, 2012 at 05:39 pm
user-pic
Also, if there aren't any typo-s or glaring grammatical errors, all authenticity is lost!
JK / October 3, 2012 at 06:37 pm
user-pic
The phone # doesnt work....what are their hours of operations?
duder replying to a comment from Brandon / October 4, 2012 at 11:48 am
user-pic
Agreed! You can find Hite (shite) and soju just about anywhere in T.O. nowadays, as well as in tons of LCBOs...reminds me of some horrible hangovers in Korea.

Gonna have to try this place out - my go-to is usually Jangwon on Bloor near Christie, but this places looks good, too.
Uhhh / October 5, 2012 at 07:53 pm
user-pic
I noticed that the dine safe wasn't posted as it usually is with other reviews.

http://app.toronto.ca/food2/DineSafeMain?userRequest=view_history&;ESTABLISHMENT_ID=9393282
Visitor / October 9, 2012 at 01:13 pm
user-pic
No one noticed the sign on the wall that they server Dog Meat Stew? 보신탕 - that's gotta be illegal in Toronto.

See photo I took here
http://www.anony.ws/W23
lita / October 12, 2012 at 07:43 pm
user-pic
Just returned from Chicago,had the best Korean food.
It is not all you can eat but order what you like to
grill and priced accordingly.It is actually the best
way to do it to please everyone's likes and dislikes.
Everyone was happy and no food was wasted.
KS / June 22, 2014 at 02:00 am
user-pic
DISLIKE!!!!!WHAT A TERRIBLE WAITER(Could be the owner)!!! I don't care how good is the food. That waiter is just terrible. Let the story start: My friends and I(10 of us and a kid 2+) asked for availability, the waitress ready 3 tables for us, and invited us to sit in. I can see they set 2 chairs on the side. So for 11 of us is normal. Then a waiter came n ask for our orders. My table was sitting 5ppl, then we wants 2 hot pans which serve 4ppl, and add another dish of something else. That waiter said we cannot order 2 hot pans, he asked us to order other food which server 5... not make sense for us.... Then even more comes.... he asked was all my friends arrived? Then I said yes. Then he said we have to sit 6 people for 1 table. Those tables are not wide enough for seat 3 people comfortably. And he keep pushing us to move into 2 tables. OK FINE, you win.. We left. Then we just had a great Korean dinner at a restaurant just nearby. And cheaper too.

Add a Comment

Search

Find a restaurant

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a restaurant in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.

Reviews

Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:


Loading...
Other Cities: Montreal