Korean BBQ buffet in Santa Clara – The Octagon

While driving by Homestead in Santa Clara, we noticed the location previously occupied by an Italian restaurant (Giovanni?) has closed and been replaced by a Korean restaurant called The Octagon.

We went and tried their lunch buffet for 6.99. The main dish includes the grilled ribs (LA style), chap chae (mung bean noodles mixed with spinach, onions, eggs, etc.), Gan Pong chicken wings, pan fried fish (not sure the English name but I think it’s called belt fish in Chinese), veggie tempuras, fried squid, pot stickers, the usual kimchi and daikon kimchi (gakdugi), mixed sea kelp, etc. There were also some sushi and sashimi items, but I did not try any.

The ribs were pretty good, with just the right amount of fat. Chap chae was not very good, it had an off taste which is common in most Korean buffet places. When it is not made fresh but sitting out, it can taste strange.

One of the nice items which I liked is the fried squid. This is a popular street food which is pretty expensive when bought from the local Korean groceries, so having it in a buffet means I can eat all I want without worrying about the cost, only the cholestrol. Although I enjoyed it since it’s one of my favorites, it may be a little too chewy for some.

The Gan Pong chicken was not very good, I only had one piece. Nor did the pot stickers look too appetizing. One of the other good dishes was the sea kelp soup. This is one of the better versions that I’ve tasted at all the buffet style places, I had about 3 bowls.

It’s easy to compare this place with Korea House a couple of miles away on El Camino. Both has lunch buffet for around the same price and offers the same LA style ribs. I feel the quality of the meat at Octagon is a bit better. Mainly due to the fact it is less crowded, so more care is taken with limited quantity, while Korea House dumps a whole bucket of them out at once which deteriates.

For other hot dishes, Korea House has sweet & sour chicken and chicken with broccoli (Both Koreanized versions of Korean-Chinese dishes) as opposed to Gan Pong chicken (another Korean-Chinese dish), fish, and fried tempuras… most other things were similar. So depending on which type of hot dishes you like, you may pick one or the other.

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