Monday, September 8, 2008

Japanese Grill

Gyu-Kaku has several locations throughout Los Angeles, but I recently stopped by the one in West Los Angeles for their happy hour BBQ. I have never been to one of the chain, but I have heard good things about it from two food knowledgeable non-Asians, so I wanted to give it a try.

For a chain, this is a good one; the servers are friendly and efficient, the food is decent, and the prices for their Happy Hour (the BBQ special at half price changes daily) are great. They offer nice combinations served with several side dishes, including a cup of miso soup, edamame, a miso dressed salad, rice, and kim chee. The proteins include lobster, salmon, shrimp, ribs, and filet mignon; they also include your choice of marinades and vegetables, ranging from garlic to sweet soy with your BBQ protein choice. If you are vegetarian, they have vegetables for grilling or steaming, including portobello mushrooms and a Japanese tofu platter. For drinkers they offer a 99 cent beer and $5 large sake during happy hour that can't be beat.

If you have never had Korean BBQ, try Gyu-Kaku. Gyu-Kaku may not have all the options, atmosphere, or taste of an authentic Asian grill restaurant, but their kind service and English menus help sway the balance in their direction, espcially for virgin grillers; it is a good introduction to grilling your own food in an easy, accessible, and friendly atmosphere. If you like it, try a Korean place in Koreatown for a more authentic experience, but be forewarned that the service and ease you find here may be lost in translation in a Korean BBQ, especially if you do not look or speak Korean*.

*So far the only place I have found which treats non-Koreans as well as Koreans is Cham Sut Gol.

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