So I read good and bad reviews, decided to go anyway. And I can tell you, it was the right decision. Since it was our first time at the place, we went with recommendations, which are marked clearly on the menu. Started off with Tuna appetizer and Gyu-Kaku salad. And our palate was happy already.
The Chateau Briand beef ($25) was heavenly. That was the actual word I used to describe the taste. We both (me and my wife) also acknowledged that that was probably the best meat we ever tasted. We also tried Kobe Kalbi ($ame $25, a bit smaller pieces), and wife liked it a lot, but I felt it was a bit heavy on fat calories, so as soon as we felt we want more we went for more Chateau Briand. And don't get me wrong, you pay 25 dollars (before tax and tip of course) for 4 small pieces of meat, but it is so worth it. My wife said when you taste it you feel where those money went. The advise I would give: don't try to cook more than 1 piece per person at a time. My wife did that mistake, and we were done with first order in 5 minutes. Also I would suggest timing your cooking to get it exactly right. Waitress said allow at least 40 seconds per side, so I pulled iPhone and set a timer. I'd say a minute per side is acceptable too, but don't dare to turn this meat medium or medium-well (or worse). What I was also impressed with is that they change grills when you make a new order and when you're done and trying to enjoy the dessert. There was no BBQ smell familiar in Korean BBQ places on 34 street I've been to, so you don't have to worry about your closes getting soaked with the smell. Anyway, we picked what we thought looked best (not priciest) on the menu and the damage was about $175 for two (including nice bottle of Merlot for $33). Was it worth it? Absolutely. Would I come back? No doubt.
Pros: Best meat I ever ate
Cons: Pricey, small portions.
I have been to the Gyu-Kaku at midtown several times with co-workers, family and friends. This past weekend I decided to try the Cooper Sq. location but surprisingly, the staff have a very different attitude. I was 10 mins late and by the time I went in, they had already given my table away. The host told me they had a 15min policy and I had to show her my phone to tell them my 15 mins weren't up yet. Her face turned bright red and she asked her mgr to come over. The manager didnt even apologize and told me the next available table would be an hour wait! I am so disapointed b/c I have referred so many ppl to this chain. I will never go to the one at Cooper Sqr again- Go to the midtown one if you care about service!
Pros: Good variety of food
Cons: Prices are hgh relative to Japanese/ Korean BBQ, rude customer service, long wait even with reservations
Randomly went here with a bunch of friends and were pleasantly surprised. Food is very good and they have a wide selection of wines, cocktails, and beer. The meats are about 3-4 ounces per serving, so unlike American restaurants where you eat 'til you're stuffed, you can order to fit your quantity. You can also choose from multiple meat marinades, so there's plenty of choices. The best part is that they have happy hour specials from 5-6:30 Monday - Thursday (or maybe Friday, too) where they have 1/2 priced drinks and 1/2 priced daily specials. Even without the deals I would recommend this place, but with the happy hour specials, it's definitely worth checking out.
Pros: Food, drinks, happy hour specials
Cons: Might get costly for those with healthy appetities since it's about $10-15 each for 3-4 ounces meat
The beef is cut a little too thin but so soft and juicy. My favorite is Kalubi. (Dear owner, please add thicker kalubi on the menu.) They have great happy hour every day. I love the Monday Happy hour, Half price of premium Kalubi.
Pros: Great food and service. Great value.
Cons: They charge for Kimuchi.
I loved Gyu kaku food especially beef. I ordered some kind of beef and shrimp, it was really delicious but kalbi kuppa was not good. I think this restaurant is Japanese one but kuppa is korean food ,that's why. Desert also really good. I went to with my boyfriend for his birthday. I said to waiter that he is birthday person but they forgot and just gave us check. Only that disappointed me.
What's better than eating steak? Eating steak the way you like it. This place is one BBQ experience that you don't have to clean up afterwards. It was a great ice breaker when I brought my blind date here over the weekend. We enjoyed drinks at the bar while waiting for a table, and the rest was great from start to finish. Friendly staff, great service, wonderful decor. If you want to try more than 1 type of steak, without having to order too much, then this is the place. Everything was a la carte so we tried some garlice shrimp, yuzu boneless chicken winge, Premium Kalbi with Tare, Kobe Short Rib with ponzu, Prime Ribeye, Miso Skirtsteak, and even Tongue! Great specialty cocktails, House salad, and grillable desserts!!
Cons: you keep eating, even after you're full!!
It was my first time for Japanese BBQ and I was satisfied with the dinner. The meat was fresh and well marinated (i.e. tasty...). Portions were a little small but thats ok...just double up on the dishes. However, I must say that if you are in the mood for an Asian style BBQ, then you are better off going to a Korean restaurtant.
Almost forgot, the service was excellent. The servers were friendly, attentive and took the time to explain the different dishes.
The place is a must try!
Once my party was finally seated and served (this took a loooong time), I began to enjoy the food and service. At one point I noticed that some of the meat had a tart taste, like it was a bit off. This was a bad omen. I spent the next two days in bed spewing and wracked with stomach cramps. A terrible experience never to be repeated. I feel it my duty to warn anyone thinking of going to Gyu-Kaku (Midtown): Don't do it!
Pros: OK Decor
Cons: nausea and pain will result
They served us moldy food, literally (I took a picture). That's bad enough, but in addition, the draught beer was flat, and 50% frozen. The manager behaved like a moron to boot. We got up and left.
Unless you enjoy eating stuff that belongs in the garbage and not on a plate, avoid this place like the plague.
Pros: I didn't die
Cons: Moldy food and bad service.
what a place to be at... went in there on a saturday night and ask for a table for three. the hostess said perhaps 30 minutes... we have a few tables finishing up and getting ready to pay the checks. it won't be long and smiled. 30 minutes passed by and i went to ask... 10 more minutes almost there with the table... 10 minutes later... just 10 more minutes, we are clearing the table... another freaking 10 minutes gone by... the so-call manager type with the freaking attitude said 10 minutes... by this time, several groups of people are waitng over an hour for a table. if you make a reservation on the spot, you can by pass the waiting line and set off a group of hungry and angry people very nicely.
Pros: once seated, great service
Cons: waiting for a table in the front, very poor... ummm... make that extremely poor service
This place is really romantic and everything was great... A little pricey though. But the beef was really good and the service was great even the dessert was great... I will def go back.
Pros: beautiful, romantic
First off, if you don't like tabletop grillling, skip this place altogether, you'll have sparse options. That being said, everything else is fantastic. The bibimbap is excellent when paired with the meats. The clay bowl comes out piping hot, hot enough to burn the rice just the right way. The meats are great, kalbi in particular. Tuna is great when seared for about 40 seconds. Chicken I heard to stay away from. The beer comes out great, slightly iced in the summer in frosted over mugs. Best beer I've been served in a while. Great bank for buck value although not to be considered a cheap eats type place. Atmosphere is dark, cool, and full of energy.
My Bf and I had a reservation there for 9:15, and we didn't get sat until 10:30!! This is the 3rd time this has happened to us, but we love the food so much we keep going back. This was at the east village location, maybe the midtown location will be a little bit more organized...
Pros: great food and drinks
Cons: ALWAYS a long wait, even with a reservation.
I went their last night with my boyfriend and had the most amazing time. We usually have trouble compromising with restaurants but we both loved it. The service was great, the prices were reasonable, the decor was beautiful, and most importantly, the food was delicious! I highly recommend going here for a group or date dining.
Pros: decor, food
I have literally been to gyu kaku over 20 times in the past almost 2 years that I've lived in NY and I love this place. I happened to stumple upon it on accident. I needed to use the bathroom one day and was very impressed with the decor of the restaurant and the bathrooms, so I made a reservation that same day for a party of 8. Been going back like every month ever since..sometimes more than once a month. The garlic shrimp is amazing, also the sea bass and scallops. Try the lobster too. I dont eat beef or pork, but I hear that kobe beef is effin amazing!! Love the zucchini, corn, asparagus, mushrooms, and the gyu kaku salad is an absolute MUST..the dressing is amazing and incredibily light..you can share it with 4 people too, but im greedy and eat the whole thing by myself:) The cake with the cream layers ( get green tea or chocolate cream) along with green tea ice cream to top it off are essential. The desserts are very light and not too sweet..except the smore which are fantastic too. Also the waitstaff are so polite and friendly..They treat me like family everytime I go there...Yes the portions are small, but people go here for the experience. Its fun if you go in a large group..Pretty much all my friends are huge gyu kaku fans as well. Be nice to norma and she'll treat you like gold. Also fill out the card at the end of the meal..you will be entered in their raffle for a free meal, and hey its fun..I like doing it in japanese just because ive memorized all the anwers..
Pros: great food, beautiful decor, friendly attentive waitstaff
Cons: small portions
it's basically expensive korean bbq in a hip atmosphere, so for special occasions i can see why you'd go there (i'm from San Francisco, $15 would feed at least 2 and you'd get 12 free side dishes). Lychee martini was great and so was the miso beef dish. We had fun, but REAL korean BBQ it was not.
Pros: hip fun atmosphere
My goodness this place is spendy. The portions aren't even that big, but the quality of the meat for this Yakiniku fest is decent, just not filling. The service tries hard to accommodate big groups, but often times someone out there gets frustrated with the intense wait time and semi-slow service. They even have a survey they give out occasionally where you can rate everything from the food to the prices. For those who don't care about money, then the food is the winner here. Most people would probably beg to differ.
Pros: Decor, Service, Food
Cons: Expensive, Parking, Very Small Portions
This is a fun place to take large group of people (which also helps to cut down on the price) but I could see how it might not be the spot for an intimate dinner for two. Much of your time you are cooking and talking to the servers which could ruin the ambiance of a romantic dinner, but this did not bother my fiance and me. I we had the house salad, which had a dressing that was so tasty, and grilled lobster, chicken, and tuna. The bibimba was great, though I have to admit I have nothing to compare the food too. We finished this meal with the smores and vowed to bring our friends next time. Its a fun time with food.
Pros: Fun and trendy place; good food
Cons: Price, need to have large group to make it reasonable
I went here with 3 other people and everything we ordered was fantastic. Highly recommend the tofu salad. I know it doesn't sound like much but it's really good. And definitely get the 'smore' for dessert.
This restaurant may be a little pricy for BBQ. But it is worth the price. The taste is slightly different for that of Korean BBQ. The décor is very stylish. I definitely recommend this place.
Pros: Delicious, Stylish Décor
i went during their 50% off sale and i thought the food tasted great, but way overpriced for small portion. i ordered quite a lot to sample different things and combinations of sauces, but was hardly full. i couldn't imagine paying twice the amount on regular days (ie. non-sale) for the same amount of food.... definitely very small portions. more like bar/lounge snacks than actual meal/dinner.
Pros: friendly service, food tastes great
Cons: portions too small, expensive
My cousin took me here and the food was so delicious! I enjoyed the beef dishes and the zucchini. Also, had my first smore and that was yummy too! We ordered 3 meat dishes, 2 veggies, 1 smore and 2 soda's. The bill with tip came to $60.00 for dinner. We both left the restaurant feeling satisified but not stuffed. Next time, I will bring my boyfriend but probably will have to order more food. My only wish is that they served larger portions, but this is NYC after all....
Pros: Delicious barbeque, Cool atmosphere
Cons: Small portion size
Loved it. Loved the tastes. Loved the waitress. Loved the drinks. The mouthwash in the bathroom is a good suggestion for all restaurants!
Would go back any day.
We had teh Samurai dinner, with a bit of everything. Left us wonderfully satisfied, yet not "obesely full" , which we both appreciated.
The speed remarks I read? Just ask your waiter for more time between courses. easy as that
Pros: Food, service, speed
Its very nice, great food and great service. I highly recommend it.
Pros: chic decor, great service, smores
Cons: loud patrons
I dined here Saturday night with a group of my girlfriends. From the moment we entered the door we were all impressed. We were immediately seated, and unlike a lot of restaurants in Manhattan, we didn't have to wait until all members of our party had arrived before we were seated. Our waiter took the time to explain everything to us, and offered his personal recommendations. I don't understand the other reviews about this restaurant being overpriced. We all left completely stuffed, and the bill came out to only $50/person, including drinks. That is definitely a bargain in NYC. A fun place for a date, or for a group of friends. I will most definitely be back soon.
Pros: Great bargain, food, atmosphere
The atmosphere, food & service are excellent here. Of the 15 times i have eaten here since their soft opening have been awesome. this is better than their chain in Hawaii. Comes out to be $40 a head, which in nyc is a bargain. Great for crowds too.
Pros: Food, Atmosphere, service
Cons: can get busy
Decor is extremely trendy and spacious. Waiters are well trained and friendly. I HIGHLY recommend kobe toro steak and the cold noodle. Do not over cook the kobe steak though. Medium cooked steak will leave the meat juicy and tender. As for desert, the doriyaki ice-cream is a must try. Go for the happy hr special mon-fri where beer is only $2.5 a mug.
Pros: Decor, Service, spacious
I just got back from this place, and it is AWESOME! I've been to other do it yourself barbecue, but this one rules! Food is great (try the Harami miso), servers are hot, and its not expensive! All Japanese in NY is so hyped, but this one FEELS right. If you like to hang out with friends and eat great food in a happening place, GYUKAKU is it! Just gotta learn how to pronounce the name.
Pros: FOOD, SERVICE, PRICE
Since I moved from Japan to NY, I missed good Yakiniku (BBQ). Korea town is ok, but I missed Japanese style so much! This reminds me of when I used to go drinking with my friends to relax. Food is great! Meat is great! Service is great! I will go back again soon!
You have to try the Harami Miso. Sooooo good - my friends all love it.
Pros: Food, Service, Friendliness
I just got home from there and I am very happy. We left very full . We had 2 pitchers of beer and plenty of food. All for $40 each for a party of 4 including tax and tip. We had a few types of beef , shrimp , vegetables and scallops. (scallops were my favorite)
This is a great place for a crowd or for a date. I will be back asap. There is a parking lot 1/2 block away.
Pros: Ambience, food, price
Cons: our waiter
Korean: big proportions, big tastes, big (and often FREE) side dishes, free rice (and sometimes soup or neng myun), small price
GyuKaku: deceptively priced to seem reasonable-- until you get your 5-midget-piece order of galbi and you realize you must order the sam (lettuce), rice, and kimchi seperately. The meat quality somewhat justifies the expense, but most people overcook their beef and ruin the point anyway. Plus, if you ask your Korean friends, I'm sure they'll name a place with great quality meat for a much much lower price.
1. Look elsewhere if you're looking for traditional tastes or knowledge
2. If you eat here, don't overcook the beef-- you're paying $1-$2 per nibble so you should be able to eat it completely rare if you wanted.
3. I ate the liver raw and it was good. Try it at your own risk (with a squeeze of the lemon).
Pros: great beef quality, friendly service
Cons: high price, cheaper alternatives
I don't understand all the comments about the menu being overpriced. If you want good food, atmosphere, and service, you have to pay for it. Dinner and wine for 2 cost about $100 and we both left happily full, which about what you're going to pay anywhere else in NYC. Check this spot out - the food is delicious and you'll have a blast eating it.
Pros: lots of menu options, good for groups
Cons: very busy,can be slow
Had an absolute blast eating here the other night - the service is friendly and upbeat, the food is AMAZING - nothing tastes better than hot off the grill in front of you!
The back room is very nice, and quiet - other parts of the restaurant are quite energetic! The kobe beef is out of this world, I highly reccomend it to anyone who dines there!
Definitely a great find, eat here and you will absolutely come back soon!
Pros: Food, Staff, Service
Gyukaku...for most of us natives, its the ultimate "Yakiniku (BBQ)" joint to enjoy a feast of meat for a reasonable price but with great service. Gyukaku succeeds in delivering one, which for "budget ballers" like myself unfortunately is the service. The meat dishes are small and overpriced, even compared to their Hawaii chain, they tagged on about $3 more for each dish. The food is good though, compared to K-town BBQ places, I think the quality of meat is good and you don't come out smelling like the food is a BIG PLUS. They should seriously consider up-ing the portion and making the entire Japan menu available (esp. the REIMEN or Nengmyun)...there aren't too much entree selection and thats what makes the bill go up!!
Pros: service, ambience, food
Cons: price, limited menu, small portion
The place is really nice w/ Asian flair. Service was excellent, although the place was really crowded.
Downside is, that although the food tastes the same, or similar to the bbq (yakiniku) restaurants in Japan, each plate comes with very little food. For example, for $8 garlic kalbi plate, which is one of the most inexpensive on the menus, will have only 5 sliced kalbi meat! Also, the drinks are expensive for the quantity.
Although it felt good to eat food close to ones I eat at home in Japan, I was disappointed that Gyu-kaku, which is known for cheap and good yakiniku in Japan, turned into a trendy, less than reasonable restaurant in East Village.
Having said the above, it's a perfect place to go eat if you are willing to spend over $80 per person. Service is good, and your date will be happy.
Pros: great service, great decor, close to authentic