I visited Gyu-Kaku last night. They are located at 70 W. Green Street in Pasadena.
It is basically Korean BBQ, Japanese style. As most of us know the Japanese have a knack for turning foreign food into something completely different. Kind of like what they did with curry.
Anyway, the place is fairly new. Kind of dark. You cook your own on grills built into the table. They use some type of hardwood coal with burners to control the heat. The grills have a fan contraption that sucks the smoke so there is virtually no smoke in the room. I though this was really cool. Unlike Korean BBQ, ones clothes did not reak of smoke.
The menu is fairly expansive with various kinds of meats, chicken and seafood available for you grilling pleasure. They even have pork, lamb, sausage and noodles. Since I have never been before, I was happy to see combo courses towards the last pages of the menu. These were great as they had a little bit of everything and boy do I mean everything. We tried the Samurai for about $80.00 for two.
It included miso soup, salad, edamame, ahi poke, Kobe Kalbi, regular kalbi, skirt steak, shrimp, butter salmon in a pouch, bibimpap and belive it or not, Smores for dessert. The course could have fed three easily and we were stuffed.
Everything was wonderful. The salad which is their own signature Gyu-Kaku Salad is exceptional with a tasty dressing, greens, tomatoes and sliced hard-boiled eggs. The meat was great and the veggies fresh and crisp. The smores were really good as flames never touched the marshmallows and thus did not burn as do the traditional campfire ones.
Service was exceptional. The staff kept checking the grill and adjusting the flame accordingly. They even changed the grill top when it appeared "burnt-out".
The only drawbacks are that if you want steamed rice you have to order it separately. There is only beer, wine and soju "cocktails"
All and all a very good dining experince that I wholeheartedly recommend.