Gyu-Kaku is a Japanese BBQ restaurant at Adelaide and Church. With its large selection of grilled meats, appetizers, and (more) grilled meats, this place is a veritable carnivore's paradise.
The deceptively spacious restaurant is the first Toronto location of an international chain with more than 600 restaurants worldwide. The traditional loud "irrashaimase!" that greets every customer is, although commonplace these days, a nice touch and never ceases to amuse me.
Seating is comfortable, but when all the table-side grills are going full-steam, the restaurant can get quite warm, though not uncomfortably so. Luckily, there's a knob where you can adjust the temperature of your grill in between meats being delivered to your table.
You can also cool off with something from their large drink selection. The Mai Tai ($7) here is pretty refreshing, but I actually prefer the virgin Cinderella ($6) mocktail, with its combination of lemon, orange and pineapple juices along with Ginger Ale.
The menu is predominantly a la carte (the restaurant calls itself a "tapas-style yakiniku restaurant"), though if you come with a larger group, there are a variety of pre-set BBQ courses that provide a much better bang for your buck.
Appetizers-wise, you're spoilt for choice. The Takoyaki ($6) is a bit small but quite satisfying, while the heavenly Fried Bacon Chips ($6) are pretty much a must-order for anyone who loves fried pork belly.
Other signature apps include the indulgent Spicy Tuna Volcano ($7) and the Spicy Cold Tofu ($5). The former consists of a large helping of deep-fried rice topped with a spicy tuna mousse while the latter is a firm cold tofu topped with kimchi, chili oil, and fried shallots.
Don't forget the awesome side orders too. The Shrimp Garlic Noodles ($9) are, quite possibly, the best noodles I've had in a Japanese establishment outside of a ramen house. Chewy, al dente, deliciously garlicky and garnished with massive shrimp, this dish is a winner.
If rice is the name of your game, get the Sukiyaki Beef Bibimbap ($9). The seasoned sukiyaki beef adds a nice meaty component (and a touch of Japanese flair) to what is essentially a basic Korean dish. The whole thing is extremely well-seasoned. Make sure to ask the servers to mix it well for you.
But let's be real, I came here for the meat, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. My personal highlight is the perfectly marbled Kobe Style Rib Eye Steak ($28). The amount of fat is just right and the flavour is just ridiculous.
The Harami Miso Skirt Steak ($11) is also satisfying. The meat is leaner than the rib eye, but feels like a thicker cut. Lightly dip it in a mix of sweet and spicy sauces that's provided on your table for a nice, well-rounded taste sensation.
If you're looking for something a bit more modestly priced, go for the Angus Beef Ribs ($6). Marinated in sweet soy sauce, it is a great cut of meat that feels substantial in your mouth.
The Chicken Thigh ($5) marinated in basil is a good option for those looking for something beyond beef. There's also Shrimp Garlic ($7) which are shrimp coated generously in (what else) garlic seasoning.
I barely had any room for dessert, but I'm super glad I got the Smores ($4), which is a natural choice given the fact that I've been cooking everything on a grill anyway. It's a nostalgic way to end a decadent meal.