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[Highly Recommend] Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

Craving meat and feeling spontaneous, Tiffany and I decided to eat out for some BBQ one Friday night. Instead of stuffing ourselves full of brisket and beef tongue at Manna Korean BBQ like we usually do, I decided to revisit Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ. Our first visit wasn’t very memorable, but I remembered the food being quite good, so we decided to give it another shot. In retrospect, we should’ve planned this better and made reservations because the cost of our spontaneity was a 45 minute wait.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant
9844 Hibert St G-1
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 693-3790

Their menu is quite extensive in its collection of meats ($5~$10, and $20 for Kobe style short ribs), side dishes ($4~$8), and rice/noodles ($8~$9), which makes it difficult to choose what to order on your first visit. We decided to go with their “Meat Lover’s Course for 2” set menu, that has a mix of appetizers and meats, plus an extra side order of beef tongue.

The appetizers were: garlic fried chicken, cheese wontons, Gyu-Kaku salad, and miso soup. All of them were quite nice, except for the cheese wontons. The cheese wontons we got didn’t have much cheese in them. One of them had nothing at all…just a sad, empty shell.

Then came the meat. The first thing we tried was the beef tongue, which was delicious. It was cut slightly thicker than usual, with awesome flavor. Then we had the toro beef, a fattier cut that just melts in your mouth. After that, I lost track of the other meats because there were quite a few of them and I forgot their names. Heh. However, they were all very tender and flavorful, and we thoroughly enjoyed them all. The filet mignon was tricky though. I wasn’t able to cook it well, with my poor culinary skills. It came out either too raw or too dry, as it was a very lean cut and I didn’t time it well.

After the meal, we had s’mores for dessert, roasting the marshmallows on the BBQ grill: a fun and rather unique experience. We got too caught up in the cuteness of it all, and forgot about the camera. Whoops. They also had macaron ice cream sandwiches that we’d wanted to try, but we were sadly too full for it after everything.


Parting gifts–extra motivation for a return visit

Conclusion: We would definitely recommend this place. The quality of the meat was excellent and very delicious. Next time we go, we would go with the a la carte option instead of the course menu (and order lots of beef tongue!). It gives you more control over the kinds of meat you want and the ability to customize to your liking. Skipping the course menu also might save you some money off some meh appetizers, since this place is quite pricey.


  • Make reservations! You can do this online, which is perfect if you’re like me and don’t like talking on the phone.
  • Order a la carte. The course meals supposedly help you save money, but if you’d rather skip the appetizers and focus on the meat, it’s still more cost-efficient to order items individually.


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