Gyu-Kaku Brings Yakiniku To The Happy Hour Scene

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so every Friday afternoon our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.

Summer time is grilling time, but unfortunately most of us don’t have a back yard Weber. That’s where Gyu-Kaku (3rd ave btw. 49th/50th) comes in, serving up Japanese BBQ to the midtown masses. Yakiniku is a DIY experience without the mess. The procedure is simple. Order plates of meat and then grill them to your own satisfaction. Or as our former president would say: You get to be the ‘decider’ in the extent of ‘grillification’ of your meat products. During lunch Gyu-Kaku has a few semi-worthy options, but their happy hour is a delectable meat fest with 50% off meats, $5 appetizers and drinks starting at $3 bucks.

Take a look after the jump

Gyu-Kaku takes care of both types of midtown workers. Say you get off early or have a late lunch? Happy hour is Monday-Friday, 2 to 6pm. You have to work overtime? Late night happy hour is Monday-Thursday, 9:30pm till closing.

On draft are Kirin and Sapporo for only $3, and sake, wine and cocktails are only $5. On the side are kettles of a sweet hot sauce and a more savory soy sauce. Sadly there is no panchan. We started with the Ahi Tuna Poke ($5): soy based marinated cubes of raw pink big-eye tuna stacked on a bed of mixed seaweed. Fresh tasting and with just the right saltiness from the seaweed.

Then on to the Yuzu Snapper Carpaccio ($5). My favorite of the two, the coating of citrus juice had a great tang to it and the julienned cucumber on top of the snapper added crunch and coolness to this perfect summer dish.

The chuck kalbi ($3.50) was lined with silken fat perfect for adding sizzle to the griddle. All entrees are available with a choice of marinades from sweet to salty. I choose the garlic with white soy sauce, sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

You have control of the grill temperature so you can turn it up to 11 if you want a good char or take the servers recommendations and grill each tender slice to their suggested temp and time. Next was the prime rib-eye ($6.50) that came in succulent red, marbled nuggets .

Your diamond-mesh grill cover gets replaced often and for vegetarians the excellent butter soaked mushrooms come in aluminum foil packets that hold in all the juices. My friend also got the avocado salad which she enjoyed.

The Sukiyaki Bibimbap ($5) is enough for one, but I really liked using it as a shared side for the grilled meat.

Contrary to the lunch review, the bowl came out hot, but we got no sizzle and the egg and “hot” sauce virtually disappeared and left no flavor. However, for $5 dollars I’d be a fool to complain.

We also couldn’t help but order some beef with noodles. They also came in a hot steaming bowl like the bibimbap. It was definitely a meal in itself.

The meat is delicious and it’s much too easy to get caught up in the food and fun and order more and more, especially with everything ½ off. So there’s the dilemma. If you’re not a glutton, you can easily come out of this with a beer and bibimbap for under $10, but why would you? This is the perfect opportunity to grab a bunch of friends take advantage of happy hour and indulge in your carnivorous cravings.

The Plus +

  • I’ve had watered down drinks that cost more then this Kirin draft!
  • I love meat
  • I love cooking my own meat
  • This is the perfect interactive group happy hour

The minus –

  • Vegetarian? You won’t like this
  • Doesn’t really work if you are dead set on the ML $10 price limit
  • Isn’t it the chefs job to cook this?

Gyu-Kaku Midtown, 805 3rd Ave., 2nd Floor,  (212) 702-8816


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