Famous Japanese yakiniku chain GYU-KAKU 牛角燒肉 opening in Cupertino December 2011
Most Southern Californians, or those who are into the J-food scene down there know about Gyu-Kaku. Or those who have eaten at Gyu Kaku locations in Hawaii, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore...
So finally after all this time, Northern California finally gets one.
19620 Stevens Creek Blvd., #150
Slated for December 2011. Noticed ad in Bay-Spo, they're hiring.
@Melanie Wong asked me to say more about Gyu Kaku and linked me to this thread, so here we go!
Disclaimer: I've been to Gyu Kaku in Pasadena before and LOVED it.
Gyu Kaku is yakiniku, so it's kind of like a Korean BBQ restaurant where you order raw, marinated sliced meat and grill it yourself in the little grill that's implanted in your table. However, compared to Korean BBQ places like Brothers in SF, Gyu Kaku is super clean and you don't leave smelling like grill!
A friend wanted to meet us (me + husband) there on a Saturday and made 7pm reservations. We got there early at 6:15 and they ended up seating us at 6:28pm and telling us that since we got seated before happy hour was over (4:30-6:30pm), we could still get the happy hour menu prices for our entire meal! Awesome!
This is where we blanked out and couldn't decide on how much to order for 3 people. We ended up ordering the 2 person happy hour menu (lots of appetizers and various meats) and adding various other items (surf clams, mushrooms, premium beef tongue, rosemary garlic lamb, and some other meats I can't recall).
Our table quickly got overloaded, but we ate some of the appetizers quickly to make room for all the meat :) The waiters who would drop off the meats would tell us how long to grill each one and where (middle of grill on top of fire, or off to the side). That's great, except when you have 10 types of meat/veggies for the grill, it's hard to remember what they said. That led to a few trial and error incidents with some meats.
The meats were fantastic! Here's what I remember getting:
- rosemary garlic lamb was our favorite! Intense flavor and so melt-in-your-mouth
- duck breast was so well marinated and tender
- garlic shrimp: noms
- surf clams which ended up to be normal clams, but still tasty
- pork toro (well marbled pork): never thought pork could be so good!
- premium sirloin
- premium kalbi short rib: really, really delicious
- chicken thigh
- hanger steak
- NY steak
- beef tongue
- mushroom pack: 3 types of mushroom with some butter in a tin foil packet so it will steam on the grill. Delish!
There wasn't a single thing we didn't like, but the items I commented on above were the stand-outs. I will say that some of the beefs had too much fat or gristle on them though. Everything came 5-6 pieces/slices per order.
All of that + the appetizers I didn't mention (4-5 of them) + pitcher of beer + drinks + 2 desserts = $120.
So my recommendation for Gyu-kaku is to go at happy hour (they also have a late night one after 9pm or something) and try everything at cheap prices! Definitely make a reservation though because they are packed all the time.
As for service & vibe: it's young, but it's not wild. A random mix of music, super friendly waiters and nice & clean.
Nice job, sounds so good, I'm so glad I asked. Here's the happy hour menu, plenty to keep anyone busy, including Okinawan soba. And it's available all day on Mondays.
I've gotta try harder to get over there. How's the set up for larger groups of say six or eight people?
In January I had a chance to catch the happy hour specials here with my mom and auntie. We really enjoyed the food and the value. I especially appreciated the grill safety orientation and the advice on cooking times we got from the staff.
We liked having vegetable options. I wouldn't order the garlic noodles or the taiyaki again, but other than that, everything else was more than satisfactory. Three moderate appetites had more food than we could finish for $60.
Later we ran into my cousin here. She said this is a favorite place for getting a bite after work with colleagues.
re: Melanie Wong
I may be wrong, but it think they raised the happy hour prices... We went recently and I thought it used to be a big difference between happy and non happy hour prices but. This time it seemed to be only a $1 or 2 difference. Definitely changed the value prop so we walked away. Curious if I'm mistaken or misread.
This happy hour menu is no longer linked from its website, but the url is still live. Those prices match up with my January itemized bill.
A spot check against the current HH ala carte menu shows discounts the same (but I did not look at everything carefully).
A $1 or $2 difference on things that are regularly $3 to $5 is a pretty big discount and it adds up in the final tab. The meats are priced much higher than the that, so are not discounted on a % basis as much as lower price dishes.
With the happy hour pricing, Gyu-Kaku cost less per person than what I paid for AYCE at Yakini Q and the food and service were better here.
Looking at the website now, I see that there's one in San Mateo now. Closer to me, cool.