I have a hard time expressing in words how I feel when family comes to visit me…it’s much more clear when you see the loopy grin of sheer excitement plastered on my face. That being said, I’ve probably looked like the Cheshire cat all week, with my aunt, uncle, and cousins came to visit from Sugarland Texas, and my weekend itinerary taking place in DC/ Virginia seeing a high school girlfriend & my dad/ sis !
A few years back, my Aunt Tam and Uncle Nick had a sushi restaurant that their kids helped to run; a small insight into their family’s appreciation for both food and making others happy. My uncle is a phenomenal chef – if you find yourself
at his place in his kitchen, be prepared to gain a very happy ten pounds before you leave the table. You will not regret one calorie. So, if the Tran family learned how to love food within the walls of their own home, you can be damn sure that they know how to enjoy themselves everywhere else – especially New York City.
Is your mouth watering yet in anticipation of this review? Mine is.
To surprise him for his birthday, my aunt and cousins surprised Uncle Nick with a trip to my neck of the woods! On their first night, we reunited at Gyu-Kaku’s Midtown East location for a very hearty, very carnivorous dinner #omnomnom.
Let me say upfront that I’ve never had Japanese BBQ before, and I am so sorry that it took me this long to find out how amazing it is. We sat down and started off with a pitcher of Kirin (yummm) and a few rounds of sake (no, thanks!) while we waited for what turned out to be plates and plates of raw beef. A waiter came and replaced the grill in the center of the table, and wiped it down with some oil/ butter conconction before our order showed up.
From loins to tongue, I wish I could remember specifically how every piece tasted. Despite a variance in chewiness – I disliked the tongue and the fattier cuts – all of the meat was marinated to perfection. Each time a plate was brought out, we were told what it was, and how much time to spend cooking that particular cut, on each side. It was fascinating to observe my uncle and cousin Chris go back and forth making sure to turn each fleshy slab at the right time, yelling for plates when our portions were done cooking. It was almost like watching a game: two foodies with tongs vs. fire. Once the orange flames were done licking the meat into grilled perfection and paired with both sticky white rice and garlic fried rice? No words. In addition to what seemed like a “basic meal” of meat and rice, we also enjoyed steamed/ salted edamame, sautéed enokitake mushrooms (so so so delicious), and grilled yellow sweet potato!
Although Gyu-Kaku is a massive BBQ chain, check out their website below to see all national locations, I am beyond happy I experienced first not only in the city, but also so close to my office! This is definitely one for the books, and definitely somewhere to take visitors. Excellent midtown evening!
Gyu-Kaku Midtown East
805 3rd Ave., 2nd floor, New York, NY 10022