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SPRING SUSHI (10 Dundas East, at Yonge, 416-596-6866, springsushi.com) Complete all-you-can-eat meals from $22, including tax, tip and a domestic beer. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to midnight; Sunday and holidays noon to midnight. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Patio Rating: NNN
To food snobs, the all-you-can-eat buffet is an affront to the very concept of gastronomy, a slap in the face for those who value quality over quantity.
That's not the case at Spring Sushi, the cavernous three-week-old resto on top of the AMC where you can stuff yourself silly for as little as $14.99. The first thing you notice in the 260-seat room - after the panoramic view of Dundas Square - is the absence of steam tables. Instead of picking through dodgy stodge, customers send their order to the kitchen via an iPad located on every table so that everything's guaranteed to be as fresh as possible.
Dramatically plated Las Vegas rolls finished with tempura-battered shrimp and entry-level nigiri, topped with white tuna and smoky barbecued eel, become sashimi if you don't eat the rice. Surprisingly rare slices of sirloin come drizzled in tangy teriyaki sauce, while sushi pizza gets dressed with marbled salmon and sweet Spanish onion. A stir-fry of broccoli and button mushrooms arrives unusually al dente.
Given the size of some of the portions (a scallion wrapped in a thin slice of steak is the size of your pinky finger, so order accordingly), we're surprised when an entire Japanese eggplant shows up tastily splayed, grilled and glazed in miso. Even the pineapple in fried rice is the real deal.
Sadly, the kitchen's attempts at Thai dishes are best avoided, including an over-salted beef satay and an achingly sweet pink pad thai that makes ice cream for dessert unnecessary.
But when students and AMC ticket-holders get an additional 10 per cent discount, who sweats the small stuff?