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Foodventure #2 - Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ

Location: Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ
Address:     6600 Topanga Cyn Blvd # 1010B
                     San Fernando Valley, CA 91303
Phone: (818) 888-4030

Happy hours are always my favorite times of the day. You can go out and have some drinks and food with friends, usually for a great price. I love finding all the good happy hours in town. This is the story of a pretty good one...

I thought to myself yesterday, "What would it be like to go to a restaurant and have to cook my food myself?"  Wouldn't it just be the same thing as staying home and having my usual salty concoction of whatever I can find in the fridge that looks appealing to my tummy? This thought just had to be investigated somehow. But where would I go for such a thing? Would a restaurant actually make you cook your own food? I've heard about these things. Oh, my brain hurts.

As I was pondering this yesterday, I decided to head on over to Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ with some friends.  It's located at the Westfield Plaza on Topanga Canyon Blvd.  You order sliced raw meat and cook it at the table.  Sounded questionable enough.  It was a Wednesday night, so you would think it would be deserted. I mean, who goes out on Hump Day?! Well apparently everyone goes to this restaurant on Hump Day. Why? Well because for happy hour (11:30am-6:30pm & 8:30pm-10pm) you can get $1 Bud Light mugs, $5 Bud Light pitchers, and $7.50 Sapporo pitchers, along with an array of other drink and food specials. Sounds like my cup of tea...err, beer.

We showed up and it was super packed. It took a really long time to order at the bar, but it wasn't that busy with people ordering, so it threw me off a little. Then finally I was handed a pitcher of Bud Light. The bartender took a little bit longer than necessary to get me my beer, but I didn't care much. A cheap beer was now in my hands and the world was sweet.  I don't usually go for Bud Light, as it tastes like water with a slight hint of urine. Or maybe the other way around. But I was looking for inexpensive for the night and I got it

It was so busy in the restaurant that we waited about an hour to be seated, even after making reservations. No fun, but have no fear! Our seats are here! We were seated at a table with a cute little round grill cut out of the center of it where you cook your food.  The waitress came to take our order.  I ordered the Bistro Harami ($4.95), NY Steak Miso ($5.95), Mushroom Medley ($3.95), and steamed rice. I was only half done with the pitcher so I was good on the brewski. Cha-CHING! Surprisingly I didn't order a ridiculous amount of food like I always do when I'm kicking my brain into a buzzed stuper, so I surprised myself a little. Yay! Happy Birthday! Oh wait, is it my birthday?
Mushrooms, rice, ponzu sauce, steak, and my trusty chopsticks

The food took quite a while, being it was just raw sliced meat, but when it got to the table, the feast was on!  With meat in hand, we cooked it over the flame. Luckily I didn't overcook my meat.  I kept it at a nice, right-off-the-cow rare. The NY was fatty and delicious, as fat is flavor. The Bistro Harami was out of this world good, especially when paired with the steamed rice and Ponzu sauce.  It was like melt-in-your-mouth, meat flavored heaven in and around my mouth..and on my lap because I kept spilling rice all over the place. I blame it on the beer. The best thing for this girl's tastebuds was the buttery Mushroom Medley.  It had white and wild mushrooms where you cook it in a packet and it steams to shroomy perfection.  Warmed my little black heart.

By the end of my meal I had decided that I had had some great food and didn't have to spend too much money. Maybe this was actually a restaurant with a good idea? I actually think it still would have tasted amazing if I hadn't been tossed like vodka sauced linguine, from drinking that whole pitcher of beer. But alas, I will never know.

Unfortunately I had to rate this place 3 1/2 frosty beer mugs because it was almost too packed for my liking, and it took an extreeemely long time to get sat at a table. That's not a good thing when you're starting to feel your beer buzz creeping up on you, and your stomach decides there isn't enough food to balance it out. Otherwise, the food was great, and prices you can't really beat.
This is a great place to kick back with some friends at happy hour, socialize, drink some beers or a cocktail, and cook up some grub for a cheap price.

Question of the Day: Have you ever been to a restaurant where you had to cook your own food? What was your experience like?

*Always drink responsibly. Don't drink and drive.

This post first appeared on Drink. Eat. Blog., please read the originial post: here

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Foodventure #2 - Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ


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