Thursday, April 10, 2008

GYUd Stuff

Some people aren't fans of restaurants where you have to do the cooking yourself. They really can be found in cuisines from around the world...fondue, shabu shabu, and the type I went to recently at Gyu-Kaku, Japanese BBQ. I get that some people go out to dinner to escape having to cook their own food. But, I think Japanese BBQ (and the others) is so different and so much better than making dinner at home - for a few reasons.

First, you're in a restaurant setting...and a very cool one at that. Gyu-Kaku is a sleek, modern restaurant perched on the 2nd floor overlooking the hustle and bustle of 3rd Avenue. My friend and I were seated at the craziest table...it was a bench right up against the window that had a small table/bbq in front of you. Picture a booth divided in half long-ways. If you can handle not being able to gaze into your friend/date's eyes, then it's actually a cool setup! But, if you can't handle it, don't worry...they have regular tables too.

Second, cooking your own food makes a normal meal into a really entertaining experience. As long as you follow the waitress's instructions and don't start any fires, it's so much fun and can make for some really funny moments. Note to self...grill marks good, completely black on one side bad.

Third, the food is damn good. We ordered a little bit of everything so we could get the full experience. I got the chicken and chose the teriyaki sauce (one of four options). My friend got the US Kobe Beef Kalbi and chose the tari sauce. And we ordered the shrimp in garlic sauce and assorted vegetables to split. The assortment included corn, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

All of the flavors and sauces were delicious. In addition to the marinades that came with each meat, there were three sauces available on the table for dipping as well: a spicy Japanese BBQ sauce, a ponzu soy sauce, and a ginger white soy sauce. Each one complimented the meats and vegetables so well. It was pretty easy to overcook the chicken since it was sliced so thinly, but after the first piece or two, I got the hang of it. Same went for my friend's Kobe beef.

We had enjoyed all of the food so far, but weren't quite full yet, so we decided we wanted to order something else. When we saw the waitress bring an order of Bibimbob to the table next to use, we knew that's what we had to get. If you aren't familiar with this dish, it's basically a rice dish that is brought out in a hot pot with chicken and vegetables. A raw egg is added table-side, and because the pot is so hot, the egg actually cooks in front of you. The waitress asks how spicy you want it and adds the equivalent amount of chili paste before mixing all the ingredients together. It was so unique and flavorful...I loved it.

Now, normally I skip dessert when I'm out to dinner unless it's a special occasion, but when we noticed the dessert that the same people next to use were preparing/eating, we had to have it....S'MORES!!!! First of all, s'mores are just so good, and second of all, where in the middle of this concrete jungle do you get to make your own s'mores?!?! We had the choice of milk or dark chocolate, and we went with the classic milk chocolate. They brought out two plates that each had 4 graham cracker squares, two pieces of Hershey's, and two giant marshmallows. They also give you really long skewers to roast the marshmallows with. So, we let the marshmallows catch on fire and blow them out, made our s'mores, and inevitably made a HUGE mess...it was heavenly.

Two BIG thumbs up to Gyu-Kaku. The food was terrific, the experience was fun, the atmosphere was very cool, and we had s'mores! What could be bad about that?!

Gyu-Kaku
805 3rd Avenue
@ 50th Street
website
Menu Pages listing

3 comments:

danny said...

that is one of the few places in the UES that i have been to and it was pretty fun! they have this thing on the menu called 'hormone'. haha. it was interesting.

Anonymous said...

If your really into s'mores, Cozy offers it as a dessert. I'm not a fan of Cozy, but the few times that I have been I always see tables eating s'mores.

Miss Menu said...

Ha - I think I'll be steering clear of these 'hormones,' and sticking with the good stuff. Glad you enjoyed it too, danny!

Thanks for the tip, anonymous. A friend made the same suggestion after reading my post. But, something doesn't seem right about eating s'mores at a chain!