With multiple locations in the US, Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ has a lone location in Toronto on Church and Adelaide. The Japanese call it yakiniku, a self-explanatory concept of grilling meats over charcoal grill. Comparison between Korean BBQ and Japanese BBQ is really not much difference other than the meats tend to be marinated in KBBQ, more variety in cuts and types of meat in JBBQ. But of course, flavours are different. As well, you get banchan (side dishes) in KBBQ and vegetables are cooked alongside with your meats in KBBQ.
JBBQ tend to be a little more expensive as it’s not quite all-you-can-eat basis, whereas KBBQ that I’ve been to have been mostly AYCE. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of KBBQ places no longer use charcoal grill. Not that it makes a difference between the two, but perhaps it’s just efficiency.
At Gyu-Kaku, while they state they use smokeless roaster where the smoke is directed downwards, it didn’t do a great job of it. Do expect going home smelling like BBQ, so wear clothes that you don’t mind smelling like that.
As a group of five, we came here for dinner and ordered from their value dinner menu: the Samurai and Meat Lover’s. These value menus feature a few starters, BBQ items and dessert for 2 or more people, but of course you can order a la carte, especially if you want to eat the more premium cuts of meat as they are not on the value courses.
Overall, it was delicious but a little pricey. When the meat dishes came, the servers would give you tips on the recommended cooking time, which tend to range from 2-5 minutes.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
81 Church St.