Restaurant: Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ (visit their website here)
Location: 888 Nelson Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Japanese, BBQ
Price range: $20+ per person (Happy Hour)
Date of visit: November 19, 2012
Food variety: 4/5
Food quality: 3.5/5
Buck worthy? 2/5
We were greeted by a friendly hostess who led us to the table, but boy was it warm inside! After walking in the cold, it was a BIG difference in temperature. Anyhow, a waitress came and introduced herself, very bubbly and easy-going, and she explained everything to us, since it was our first time here. Gave us a few recommendations and some time to decide what to order.
I'm pretty sure we ordered too much, but it all looked really good! First to come was Takoyaki ($4.95) (yeah, of course I'd order it =P) It was very fresh, but oddly enough, didn't have bonito flakes, instead there were scallions on top. Taste was good, the batter was more flour than the normal with more veggies, but I liked the chewyness of it.
Then came the Gyu-Tan (ox tongue) ($5.95), and this was the first thing for us to grill! She oiled our grill for us, and taught us how to grill to perfection =) This was very good, I love the chewy springy-ness of ox tongue =D Our waitress also brought us extra lemons, which was awesome. Everything with lemon is extra-awesome. The ox tongue came lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.
Next were the Fried Cheese Wontons ($1.95), and at first, we thought they were craftily made with nothing inside (it was a hole!) with some cheese sauce for dipping on the side.
Discovered there was a thin layer of mozzarella cheese on the inside =O Surprise surprise! It's quite creative, and tasted good together, but they were only good when they were fresh =( Food started piling onto our table, so I only had one good one before they got cold.
Onto the Spicy Tuna Volcano ($4.95), and after CL confirmed that it wasn't too spicy, I ventured a try. It was quite something. Very special. Deep fried rice topped with chopped up tuna in a slightly spicy sauce, it was good! I really liked it, reminded me of the McDonald's rice burger (that they had in Asia for a while I think).
The inside was still rice, so only the outside was golden and crispy =D YUM!
I don't think we should've ordered this, because it filled me right up =P Our waitress helped us mix it up, but she let me snap a pic of this Sukiyaki Bibimbap ($5.95) before she mixed it =) How nice. She also told us to wait a bit if we wanted crispy rice. But we both didn't want crispy rice, so we spooned it into our bowls really quickly =P It seemed quite oily actually, but with those extra lemons she got us, I fixed it. Don't get me wrong though, nothing was wrong with the taste, I just didn't like the oily feel, and lemon helped.
Sadly, due to the poor lighting, none of my pics turned out that nice (ok, maybe they weren't that good to begin with, but this made it worse). So here's a blurry pic of the meats we ordered. From top to bottom there's Toro Beef ($3.95), Yakishabu ($2.95), and Bone-in Kalbi Ribs ($7.95). For this, we got to choose what sauce they would be marinated in, I really don't remember what we got, but we picked from the recommended list. I loved the toro beef, it was really good. The yakishabu was really salty, but I could taste the strong miso-- which overwhelmed the meat.
There were only four pices of the Kalbi ribs =( I wish there were more, cuz we listened to her about how long to cook it, and ended up with this ='(
CL took over after the first two failures (which were still very yummy btw, for one day I won't worry about carcinogens), and we got some good pieces =) I think they're a bit too sweet though, lemon time ;)
To end off our meal, CL insisted we get their Taiyaki ($4.50).
Which also came with ice cream, of which I chose lychee!! Because I normally never see that flavor =P
Annnnd guess what happens to our fish on the grill? Yep. Burned. Just like the picture ;D But we saved it, it wasn't badly burned, but the red bean wasn't hot yet and we had to take it off the grill in fear that it would become a charcoal fish.
CL ice-cream-sandwiched it, and it was ready! =D I found the red bean to be too. . .gooey and sticky. I can't really describe it, but it's just not very good. I could say it was slimy? That's just weird though. Ice cream was good though! Next time, some good Taiyaki fresh from a stall in Burnaby, next time ;)