The gang at work chose to do a group lunch at Gyu Kaku on west Broadway. Gyu Kaku is an international chain of japanese barbeque restaurants spanning the United States, east Asia, south-east Asia and Canada. Vancouver is host to both canadian locations, this one on west Broadway, and one downtown at Nelson and Hornby.
This is occupying the space previously held by “Rugby Beach Club Grill”. We were seated shortly after our arrival. Similar to a korean barbeque restaurant (in concept), the dining room features one or more propane fired grills in the center of each table. The kitchen prepared sliced & marinated meats and seafood. The server brings said uncooked meat to the table where the patrons cook their own food on the provided grill. It’s an enjoyable/social way of dining, but it can take quite a bit of time if everyone is doing it, because the grill has a finite surface area on which to cook. because of our time constraints, most of us chose menu options that were cooked in the kitchen. I opted for a sukiyaki bibimbap set, and an additional order of deep-fried gyoza. The sukiyaki bibimbap set includes this bowl of miso soup. This is a fairly typical bowl of miso soup, which is a fish based savory broth with miso paste, cubes of medium firm tofu and a few sheets of seaweed. the set also includes this salad. This is a small salad of crisp lettuce greens, shredded cabbage, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and finely diced red peppers, lightly dressed with a honey miso salad dressing. Next came my gyoza. These are dumplings filled with minced seasoned chicken and vegetables, deep-fried to a light crunch, and served with a ponzu dipping sauce. These were just okay. I found it a little crunchier than I would have liked, and the filling didn’t have a lot of flavor. Most of the flavor came by way of the ponzu dipping sauce. Finally my “main” arrived. This is their sukiyaki bibimbap rice bowl. Immediately upon arrival, the server started furiously mixing the contents of the hot stone bowl. This is a fusion of two different dishes. Sukiyaki is a japanese soup/stew, slow cooked in a hot stone bowl. Bibimbap is a korean rice dish, served in a hot stone bowl. This is sliced beef, cooked with onions, soy, mirin and sugar, then served over a generous mound of japanese short grained rice, accented with scallions and sesame oil. A korean bibimap typically has meat, vegetables and a raw egg over the top. Its cooked by the ambient heat from the rest of the food and the hot bowl, but there was no raw egg noticeable here. The hot bowl sears the rice on the bottom and sides of the bowl, giving it a slightly crispy quality. I enjoyed, this was pretty good. The room was large, bright and airy, and it was clean and comfortable. Our server was very friendly and enthusiastic and helpful. I’ll probably come back and try the grilled food.