Gyu Kaku is a chain that serves Japanese BBQ; super popular in La & NYC so when they opened one here, the wait for a table is always ridiculous. We waited months after the grand opening to give it a shot to avoid long waits but and tried coming a few weeks ago on a Sunday evening but was told the wait was gonna be about 1.5 hours long. Eeeks! We ended up eating somewhere else.
I was surprised to find them on Opentable so I made a reservation for a couple weeks later and ended up dining there w the two Vs on a Friday evening. We got there and it was just starting to fill up and a line was forming. (Make reservations in advance, I changed my reservations the night before and was able to get a table for 4 for 7.30! no wait!). The restaurant itself is not very big, with probably less than a dozen tables with a grill right in the centre.
Menu is pretty detailed but the best part is the servers. They know the menu inside out and made some great recommendations.
Gyu Kaku Value Course $80; this is the best deal offered for 2 that offers:
Miso Soup $3.95 & Rice $3.95 (Not pictured)
Gyu Kaku Salad $6.50
Pretty good and refreshing with a creamy sesame dressing. I liked the random pieces of hard boil eggs!
Ahi Poke $5.95
Not bad but a little underseasoned and mushy.
Garlic Fried Noodles $7.95
Delicious!! The noodles were quite soft with the bottom bits nice and crispy from the claypot. I like my noodles a tad soft so didn’t mind it one bit. It was definitely garlicky, salty and a little sweet (very typical japanese flavours)
Kobe Kalbi $19.95 (picture includes an additional order)
Best cut of the night – the marbly fat melts on the grill and makes for the best bite of beef! It is not seasoned but it didn’t matter since the cut was so rich – a dip into their spicy soy makes for a perfect bite! The spicy sauce is not spicy at all but has a hint of heat. There is also sweet soy that just taste like runny teriyaki and the ponzu was pretty nice and vinegary.
Rib Eye Steak $9.95
Second favourite! The meat was not as rich or tender as the kobe but still great cut with nice layers of fat. I appreciate that it came in cubes so it was pretty darn satisfying.
Filet Mignon $7.95
The leanest cut of them all but still delicious. It was the cut with the most beef-y aftertaste.
Shrimp Garlic $4.95
A tad disappointing – the shrimp tasted pre frozen and was not the freshest. It was nice after grilling but that is because of the flavours from the grill.
Assorted Vegetables $6.95
I can’t believe this is all we got for the price and it was not the best assortment. The corn was very sad looking and all bashed up. The rest were onions, jalapeno peppers and a few measly mushrooms.
Sweet Potato $3.95
Pretty good but again – dismal amount considering the actual cost and what we were served.
Banana Chocolate Ice Cream $4.95
The banana was served in the foil and a little mashed up. We were told to heat it up on the grilled and then top the ice cream off with the hot bananas and caramel sauce. I liked the ice cream and banana just fine, but the cheap tasting chocolate syrup was not good.
On top of the Value course, we added:
Fried Chicken Karaage $4.95
Well seasoned but very dry and the batter was very thick. It is served with a spicy mayo that is really good.
Mushroom Medley $4.95
We were served some enoki, shiitake and white mushrooms. Not a whole lot especially once cooked they shrivel up. Lightly drizzled with some sweet soy and a slab of butter.
Spicy Pork $3.95
Sweet, salty and spicy pork slices that were really tender and well marinated. It tasted just like the Korean ready made spicy bulgogi marinade (for those that want to prepare this at home). Packful of flavour and even better with the flavours of the smoky grill.
Harami Miso Skirt Steak $8.50
Other than the Kobe Kalbi and Ribeye, this my top pick. The miso marinade was sweet, salty and packful of umami – it definitely tenderised the meat as well because it was not tough like what I expected and actually tasted as tender as the other cuts (maybe not the Kobe)
Kobe Kalbi $19.95 (pictured above)
Green Tea Cheesecake $2.95
Not very good as all… Just kinda like a slightly tangy ice cream, without much green tea nor cheese flavours.
Grapefruit Mojito $6.95
Calpico Water $2.50
Root Beer Float $2.95
Total Damage: $192 (including tax & tip)
Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 (Good)
Note: After getting home and looking over the bill for this post, I realised that once I added the items on the bill that was suppose to be part of the value course – it was just regular priced ($93.75) AND we were missing the salmon that was suppose to be part of the course. I was not impressed… I did email them but did not get a response. I guess I should not be too surprised since they are a chain and so popular. Besides, not a whole lot of people would look at their bill with such detail (maybe other bloggers or auditors! lol)
That said, the service at this establishment was amazing! Our server not only explained everything in detail and tells us the recommended time to grill each cut of meat. Other servers check back regularly and consistently cleared the plates. The food is pricey, especially if you consider the other options around the Bay Area for similar quality but significantly cheaper. I did appreciate that they served Kobe Style Kalbi and that all the meats we had were of superior quality.
I doubt I would wait more than 20 minutes to eat here, but would probably not mind checking out their happy hour or come by if we had reservations and I was craving some Kobe style Kalbi.
19620 Stevens Creek Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 865 0149