gyu like meat?

last weekend, we drove to hot hot BFE to help my mom celebrate her birthday and to send off baby brother. he's off to work some summer job near his college before he starts his new job teaching prep school kids while living in a castle, all living expenses paid, or something like that. since he's living in a castle, you'd assume they'd give him a horse like i did. i asked for my poor, beat up civic back, but he said that he would not be receiving a horse and needed the services of my trusty steed a bit longer. sad. :(

i found that gyu-kaku had recently opened a new location near mom's with an all-you-can-eat sushi and salad bar if you order one of their "gk unlimited" meat menus. the bear and i tried the huntington beach location when it first opened as he lived very close at the time and because everything except kobe beef was 50% off as part of their grand opening celebration. at the end of that night, we had eaten $100 worth of food between the two of us, shelled out the discounted $50, and left very hungry. japanese BBQ is not like korean BBQ--portions are mini albeit presented more prettily, as expected. regardless, we thought this new place sounded like a better deal and decided to give it a shot since there aren't a ton of choices out mom's way.

the bar looked like it could be fun although it was empty when we were there. sapporo and kirin on tap are $2 a mug during happy hour, which is 5-7 PM. the bear and baby brother took full advantage of the prices at about 6:58 PM, much to the bartender's dismay. whatever, dude, the bear always tips on full price. just because we're yellow doesn't mean we don't know how to tip. both sets of parents have taught us to overcompensate for the stereotype. don't take us for suckers, either. if service is that bad, we will dip below 15%.
you bet we partied. although a beer mug is pictured, you do get a real, full-sized pitcher of either kirin or sapporo from the tap for the table for $1.

so i guess on weekends or something they don't have the all-you-can-eat bar open. boo. on the way to our more intimate table in a back room (darker, string curtains separating your table from the walkway, and not quite as loud/less echo-y), we passed by sneezeguards galore with nothing beneath them. sad.

BUT...they did have a sushi and salad appetizer menu from which we were welcomed to choose as many items as we wished. close to all-you-can-eat, i guess.
yeah, i don't know what "kimchiee" is either, nor why they're serving it at a supposedly authentic japanese restaurant.

we ended up ordering edamame, spicy tuna rolls, and spicy salmon rolls off the appetizer menu. all were good.

i liked the zen garden-inspired wall texture.

since the whole table must be in to order off the "gk unlimited" menu, the bear and i made the executive decision that we would all be ordering the "fuji" at $44.95 per head for a ton of unlimited beef. first came a sampler platter of kobe kalbi (unmarinated), premium kalbi (marinated), filet mignon (aged and served with a side of ponzu {citrusy soy sauce}), harami miso, shrimp garlic, and chicken basil so we could try them and order more of our favorites in their normal a la carte portions. as part of the unlimited menu but not on the sampler platter, we were also invited to eat as much as we wanted of the following: gyu tongue, kurobata sausage, miso butter fish, salmon butter, mushroom medley, spinach garlic, sweet potato, assorted vegetable, and tofu platter. some of these are served in little aluminum foil pouches that you throw directly on the grill.

the kobe kalbi, premium kalbi, and shrimp garlic were table faves. we kept ordering those to get our money's worth, per the bear, and barely had room for the other stuff. we did try the sausage (very japanese-style sausage and yummy), miso butter fish (yummy, but a bit too much sauce to fish), mushroom medley (juicy, flavorful, yum! just wish there were enokis in there), sweet potato (what my mom calls real sweet potato with white flesh not the orange flesh of the other variety, we were pleased to find), and spinach garlic (good, but we didn't have room). oh, and we definitely got our money's worth as the kobe kalbi is about $15 per plate a la carte, and the bear and baby brother had at least 5 plates of just that, not including all the other beef and shrimp they ate, between them two.

all the food was fresh, the marinades good, and the high-paced grilling fun. the grill has some downdraft system that minimizes the smoke and smell, too. best of all, it was definitely a fun family outing. mom's BF felt a little out of place as it's definitely trying to cater to a hipper, younger crowd, but really, the actually clientele was closer to his and my mom's age.

we capped off the night with pinkberry for baby brother then waddled (ok, drove) our way home. victoria gardens has come a long way, baby.


  1. I perpetuate the stereotype by tipping on the subtotal. You really tip on tax, too? At least I do 20% on the subtotal....

  2. wait, this place is near the vee-gee? must.go.love.meat.so.much.

    haha, i tip on the total after tax, too.

  3. I tip on the post-tax total, too.

  4. okay, so i'm whitey mcwhite, but yeah, i tip on total after tax, too. ;)

    i'm absolutely drooling over all that meat. sounds soooo good!

  5. I always tip too much. You guys probably shouldn't let me figure out the bill next GTG. ;)


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