A is there no greater culinary indignity than all-you-can-eat sushi? Made à la minute, Japanese food's the antithesis of the stodge found on buffet steam tables. Yet those who value quantity over quality regularly pig out at Asian food factories like Mandarin and Shintori.So it's with extreme trepidation that my accomplice Dangerous Herbert and I enter Katsu, a near-invisible sushi shack on the souvlaki strip that offers unlimited sushi 'n' tempura for a flat fee (less than 10 bucks at lunch).
We grab a cozy booth near the back under a skylight but see no sign of the buffet. That's because everything listed on the short menu is made fresh to order. As well, you order as much and as often as you like, though the fine print warns that "an extra charge will be added for unfinished food."
Skip the so-so miso soup and a laughable iceberg salad with bottled dressing. And the nigiri list is very short -- thinly sliced salmon or snapper over lightly vinegared rice. But the nearly rare char-grilled teriyaki beef, sweet teppanyaki chicken and crisp cubes of silky deep-fried tofu show real variety.
Pork gyoza dumplings get perfectly deep-fried, too, while both fabulously crunchy salmon skin maki and first-rate California mini-rolls, though not of Hiro or Hashimoto's calibre, equal most Annex sushiterias.
After several refills, Dangerous and I hit the wall and can't finish our tempura veggies with battered squid or a plate of pan-fried udon noodles. Not to worry, our friendly server smiles -- no one's ever been charged for uneaten food since this pleasant spot opened two years ago. Instead of all-you-can-eat, surprising Katsu is all-you-would-want-to-eat. Note the Zen-like difference, Shintori. firstname.lastname@example.org
KATSU(572 Danforth, at Carlaw, 416-466-3388) Like me, most of you think the words "all you can eat" and "sushi" should never appear in the same sentence. But this sky-lit space with intimate booths offers just that -- and, most surprisingly, the Japanese finger food is made to order, extremely edible and a mega-value to boot. Open daily for lunch ($8.99 Monday to Thursday, $9.99 Friday to Sunday) and for dinner ($13.99 Monday to Thursday, $15.99 Friday to Sunday). Licensed. Access: front room barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN