A girls’ night out brought me to Gyu-Kaku on Broadway. My friend JX is a huge fan of Japanese food so a dinner with her means discovery of a new Jap restaurant for me.
Gyu-Kaku serves an a la carte BBQ menu with a huge selection of meat and veggie dishes to choose from. In addition to grillable items, they also have appetizers as well as rice and noodles to wrap up your meal.
Because we are big meat lovers, we mostly ordered meat dishes. But each portion is not too big so even for the three of us we were able to order a number of things to try:
- Harami Skirt Steak
- Premium & Regular Beef Tongue
- Kalbi Beef Short Rib
- Toro Beef
- Pork Belly
- Bacon Wrapped Scallops
- Duck Breast
The setup is quite similar to Korean BBQ, where there is a metal plate placed on top of a fire grill. The grilling plate has a diamond pattern, which allows some decent grill marks (if you are doing it properly!).
Because the grill items are not marinated, they offer three kinds of dipping sauce at each table for your choosing, from sweet soy, to spicy, to ponzu. The sauces were OK, nothing spectacular but they do help accentuate the flavours of the meat.
In addition to meat dishes, we also ordered an Avocado Salad (not photographed) and Tuna Volcano. The Tuna Volcano is basically deep fried sushi rice topped with spicy tuna. It was quite good but I thought there was just a bit too much rice.
Lastly, we had Assorted Veggies, Mushroom Medley and Garlic Noodles to round out our meal. Assorted Veggies is a good option to try almost all vegetable options on the menu, and the Mushroom Medley was definitely worth ordering again. The Garlic Noodles was a safe choice for carbs but it had good flavours.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to order dessert; otherwise, I would like to try Taiyaki Pancake and S’mores. These are for grilling too and definitely something different and not available at other BBQ restaurants.
Even though we ordered a la carte style, the dishes were surprisingly affordable. The premium ones were $9.95 and the regular items were priced between $4.95 and $7.95. Veggies were even cheaper. For the beef dishes, I do think you pay for what you get; the premium cuts did taste better than the regular equivalent, so I would suggest spending a few more bucks for the premium kinds.
Similar to Korean BBQ, you need your grill plate changed on a regular basis. And they do come around quite frequently to check on you and change out the grill, a system that I quite appreciate. The one complaint is that we were subject to a 2-hour seating, when it’s not all-you-can-eat, and not special occasions (like holidays or Dine Out). We literally ran out of time to order dessert because our 2-hour was up and we were getting kicked out.
At Gyu-Kaku you can also order set menus with a list of pre-determined items for an affordable price. It would be a good option for first-timers or for the indecisive ones. Our meal cost around $100 before tax (liquor not included here); it was cheaper than the preset menus, we were quite full, and we got to choose exactly what we want, so I thought it’s might be just as good to order off the menu yourselves. You just have to overlook the fact that you can’t stay there for long. Time yourselves wisely and accordingly.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
201-950 West Broadway, Vancouver