Naoto and I celebrated our 12th anniversary last Saturday! We had plans to go to a new cocktail bar called Prairie School, but it unexpectedly closed for good the week before our anniversary. (It wasn’t even open a year!) I was super bummed. But then I read about Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese BBQ chain that came to Chicago a couple years ago. I knew Naoto would be into it–he remembers going in Japan–and I figured it would be something different and fun. It’s definitely not really a romantic place…it’s pretty bright and loud and open and you’re working together to cook your food, so if you’d rather have a more traditional special occasion with your partner, maybe this isn’t your place. That being said, a group dinner here would be a blast. (And of course it was perfect for us since we’re not really white tablecloth kind of people.) We started with an Asahi beer and a lychee martini while we pursued the menu for the best options for the two of us. You can order a la cart, or you can do different levels of prix fixe options. We opted for the “samurai” menu that included starters of miso soup, salad (pictured above,) spicy tuna volcanoes, and beef bibimbap. And for grilling, Kalbi beef, miso skirt steak, rib eye, garlic shrimp, chicken, and vegetables. Oh and mochi ice cream for dessert. It was plenty of food for both of us. The servers give pretty good instructions about placement and timing for the various meats. No one wants to eat raw chicken. Naoto did most of the grilling, but I helped with the vegetables. There are three sauces to accent the food, sweet, sour, and spicy. The meats are marinated but the sauces are perfect little accents to balance the richness of the meal. Our dessert was green tea and strawberry mochi ice cream. A few bites of each was a perfect ending to our dinner.
Next time, I think we will probably order a la cart, mainly because there are different sides and meats we’d like to try in place of the prescribed choices with the prix fixe menus. They even have some summer specials that look really fresh and tasty. Cheers to the next twelve.