Restaurant: Gyu KakuCuisine: Japanese/BBQ
Location: Streeterville (Chicago)
Address: 210 E Ohio St
Price Range: $5~10
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very Good 5: Excellent
I can't stop thinking about this place. Weird, isn't it? that I visit city like Chicago and my favorite restaurant turns out to be a Japanese BBQ place. I mean, I am sure there are plenty of other retaurants in Chicago that I haven't tried which I might love- but wow, Gyu Kaku stands strong in the 1st place very strong until my next visit.
Gyu Kaku is one of my friend's favorite spot for dinner who lives in Chicago (that I stayed with during my visit) and that's why I decided to check it out. We actually went to a Korean BBQ place the day before our visit to Gyu Kaku and left so disappointed that my friend was so eager to take me here.
They have amazing happy hour where everything is almost 50% off which starts at 3pm till 6pm before dinner rush, and again at 9:30pm till close. If you can't be there for dinner, they also have happy hour during lunch as well between 11:30am to 3pm- how awesome is that!?
Anyways, I didn't expect this place to be so big but it is divided into 2 floors with bar area and a dining area. Atmosphere is strangely laid back with black boards dividing up booths so you get privacy but enough open space to catch a server if you need to. We were seated upstairs in a booth close to the kitchen and the restaurant wasn't very busy because it was still early when we went.
My friend being a regular here, was friends with one of the servers (Il Moon, who was super nice) but this other guy ended up helping us and he was very friendly as well.
Meat Ordered: Kalbi Toro Short Plate, Bara Kalbi Short Ribs, Harami Skirt Steak, Horumon Intestine Miso
Side Ordered: Kimchi, Enoki Mushroom
Basically it works like any regular BBQ place, they bring you meat and you cook it yourself on the grill infront of you. Keep in mind that although they do have ventilation, your clothes will smell like meat after. So I wouldn't wear anything fancy here or anything that's just dry cleaning (just saying)
I liked how meat was served in small portions so you could try variety. At most Korean BBQ places, you must order minimum 2 servings even just to have BBQ. But because it's served in smaller portions here, you get to try little of everything. Most of the meat we ordered were marinated- although personally I prefer non marinated, I went with whatever she ordered.
I am glad I let her order because the meat was different. The marinade they use is sweeter than most Korean BBQ meats and it was interesting to see the different. However, because everything was marinated- we ordered a side of rice to eat with it and probably couldn't eat as much meat. My favorite was the Kalbi Toro, it was tender and had just the right amount of fat. I drool thinking about it now. Also when I was visiting, they had $1.99 special for Kirin Draft.....if you follow me on twitter ( @foodigatorJ ), this was the night I had a little too much to drink :D
As we were cooking the meat, they constantly changed the grill for us so that the meat wouldn't burn. Kimchi was nice as a side order, it wasn't very spicy but was refreshing and accompanied the marinated meats very well. After we ate for a good hour or two to fill our hungry stomach, we ordered some edamame and had some more beer....one after another.
Summary: I had an awesome time at Gyu Kaku- food was solid and service was excellent. I left full and happy...plus because of the amazing happy hour specials they have every single day, it did not hurt my wallet. Gyu Kaku is awesome place to go if you want good bbq, or even just to drop by for drinks. They always have specials on appetizers and drinks and you have no idea how much I wish they opened one in Toronto.