I’m gonna go through in a little background to hopefully give some color and depth to this meal. One of my favorite food groups is (sorry environment and cows) meat. I love the stuff! I have literally and earnestly moaned while eating a steak. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise to hear that one of my favorite meals to have is yakiniku (Japanese barbecue). Similar to Korean barbecue, yakiniku has a grill in the center and you cook your own meat; the main difference I’ve noticed is that Korean barbecue has a grill in the center which is more metal than anything else, while in yakiniku you have a grill composed of a mesh/net over bamboo charcoal.
My first time having yakiniku in Japan was actually on Sam’s birthday last year, shortly after arriving in Tateyama. My previous boss (a complete dunce, but that’s a story for another post) and my previous manager (a lovely human being whom I miss sharing an office with) took us out to yakiniku at a chain restaurant called, Gyu Kaku. If it sounds familiar, it’s probably because the branch has expanded a bit towards the US.
Now, this was mainly to celebrate my first week of work at my old company, but in my mind it was only for Sam’s birthday. We ate a fair amount and had a generally good time, and partook of many a garlic-based or garlic-sauced dish. It was walking distance from our apartment, so Sam and I leisurely strolled home, completely unaware of what the next year would bring us.
Upon reflecting on that meal at a later date, and learning that we lived catty-corner from another yakiniku restaurant, Sam and I made a deal that we would summon or very un-fluent in Japanese courage and get yakiniku by our official anniversary, October 15th. When that date rolled around, we left our apartment; looked at the restaurant near our apartment, now filled with people, all of whom were able to speak the language; and walked back to Gyu Kaku having remembered they had pictures on the menu. We did manage to keep our promise to ourselves and ate so many garlic dishes that one breath would have a copy of Dracula go up on flames.
When Sam’s parents were in town, I wanted them to get to experience this sort of meal (but maybe they have it in their state? I really wouldn’t know). However, Sam and I wanted to show them the best places, so I spent much of their trip on my computer researching yakiniku restaurants. What I found was that most places are filled with smokers and the really amazing places sometimes won’t let you cook your own meats because they want to maintain the quality of the meals. I get it, but that sucks. In the end, we went with our classic: Gyu Kaku.
We only have a few pictures from the night, but feel free to check them out below:
If you’d like to see more pictures and are thinking to yourself, “Gee! It sure would be swell if they had some of these professionally taken with the sole purpose to make my mouth water!” please click here to see such photos!
Now onto dessert! For much of the trip (and generally life with her before-hand as well) Shanna would remark on how something is/was too sweet or on how she just doesn’t like sweets. I am not of that camp and enjoy a good sweet, so I ordered dessert. I didn’t take a picture of it, but I took a screenshot from the previously-linked, online menu. What I ordered was a dish in which the person eating it would grill two pieces of bread, which had been drizzled with maple syrup, and then eat them topped with ice cream. I saw it and thought that sounds like the best possible dessert to get at a barbecue place! So, I ordered it. When it came, Shanna (whom I love and cherish) oh-so-subtly said, “It sure is nice you don’t have to SHARE that with anyone.”
In conclusion, we all enjoyed the dessert immensely.