Gyu Kaku @ CHIJMES
I'm quite a stranger to Japanese barbeque, teppanyaki is so not part of the equation. This probably counts as one of the first proper visits to a Japanese barbeque restaurant! Most of the barbeque visits have been limited to Seoul Garden. Years back, there was an option of dining at Aburiya but I turned it down for an obviously forgettable dining place (now that I can't remember!).
Bring on Gyu Kaku at Chijmes for a birthday celebration. Reservations are most necessary as some were seen walking away crestfallen.
Splashes of black.
Like Jumbo, Gyu Kaku also offers bibs to prevent hazardous flying splashes of oil and grease.
The open concept kitchen where all of the dishes come from.
Cold Tomato ($6.90)
Momotaro Tomato drizzled with Ceasar dressing and topped with Chopped Onions
Ingredients were none too extraordinary but this fulfills the time when the most ordinary ingredients deliver the most stunning dishes - simple, clean and so very refreshing. The ceasar dressing was really good.
Poached Pear Salad ($13.90)
Mixed greens with poached pear, cherry tomato japanese cucumber and crispy wanton skin, drizzled with mayo and citrus soy dressing
I decided against their bestseller of Horenso Salad and went with the preferred poached pear. Loved the wanton skins, salad and dressing but I thought the canned pears were a tad out of place in the garden of greens.
Assorted Bacon and Sausage ($15.90)
Purportedly good with beer, I was not aware these had to be barbequed first. Nonetheless, yummy bacon chunks - think roast pork but saltier! Sausages were really good too, who says only germans do great sausages?
All well greased and cooked, ready to be consumed!
Assorted Kimchi ($11.90)
Chinese cabbage, daikon radish and apple kimchi
Certainly was not expecting a wonderful take on kimchi from a Japanese restaurant! More than decent, yum!
Beef Tongue ($28.90)
I don't know what's with me and tongues these days - First was Ox tongue, now it's beef tongue. Grammatically, it should be cow tongue...no? Anyhow, this is acquired. At least in the table of five, only one was a clearcut fan.
Shaved thin, thicker than shabushabu, the beef tongue tasted like it had tendons. Somewhat crunchy and needed quite a bit of getting used to. Liked the accompanying sauce better than the tongue. I'm not sure if wagyu beef tongue would have been a more tender choice but it still freaks me out eating something's tongue!
Karubi Short Rib
There are 4 choices of marination - rock salt, tare, shio and miso. We headed for tare - sweet soy sauce. Tender cuts of short rib with a sweet finish.
Wagyu Karubi (Wagyu Oyster Blade) ($31.90)
The droolicious platter that we all came for. They were having Japanese beef on promotion but I suppose most including us still steer clear of it. Had I been more daring, I would have gladly taken up the offer for Japanese beef! Nonetheless, wagyu hardly disappoints. Neither did this - love the marbling!
Garlic Chicken ($10.90)
None too spectacular.
French Duck with Special Dipping Sauce ($18.90)
The grill was too hot so we ended up burning a few slices...a major pity! This was really good though, flavourful and tasty.
Lamb and fillet ($14.90)
In all its greenness, I thought lamb was not too bad, nary the gameyness.
Assorted Seafod ($26.90)
Prawn, Salmon, Scallop, Squid, Oyster
Nothing too spectacular from the seafood either, save for the oysters! How to cook it? Leave the entire foil cup over the grill and watch it bubble - when it does, time to eat! So unctously good, we had seconds ($8.90).
Assorted Vegetables ($9.90)
Loved the asparagus best!
Ishiyaki Bimbimbap ($12.90)
Rice, minced meat, seasoned vegetables, shredded dry seaweed, sesame seeds
Once again, so very surprised by their rendition of bimbimbap - wholesome and rivals the authentic!
Milk Pudding ($6.90)
Think thick creme brulee consistency with brown sugar syrup drizzled. Wished it were not so thick though.
Assorted Icecream Platter ($12.90)
Yuzu, green tea, milk, black sesame
We ordered the platter mainly for yuzu sorbet. It missed expectations though, coming across as too icy. The milk based ones were a lot better, especially black sesame!
Birthday surprise by the kind staff at Gyu kaku!
Cheesecake on the house - light cheese cake with a rough sponge at the bottom.
All in, experience at Gyu Kaku was really enjoyable. Kudos to the friendly servers. Food wise, I was not blown away - head for the beef for a better gauge of Gyu Kaku rather than the other meats. Be careful not to over order though, plates of 8-10 slices can add up and we all ended up a tad too full.