Place: Stylish and well lighted. The chairs are comfortable and the dining table is spacious. The place is a little noisy because the waiters shout when they greet customers and when they talk to each other.
Food: Generally delicious. We ordered the Horenso Salad as our starter. For the grill, we had some Karubi, Norwegian Salmon Foil, and Prawn Foil Grill. We also got a serving of Ishiyaki Bibimbab. For our drinks, we ordered some house tea and a glass of Cucumber Peppermint Iced Tea.
The Horenso Salad (Php 235): "Japanese-style" spinach with crispy garlic bits and sesame dressing. It tasted great! The leaves were crisp and fresh. The garlic bits weren't overpowering. The sesame dressing was nutty and its flavor was punctuated. Although the dressing was yummy, we were glad that the salad did not have too much of it.
Now for the yakiniku (what the restaurant is famous for): we had some Karubi (beef short ribs, marinated in Tare or sweet soy sauce, Php 685), Norwegian Salmon Foil (with shio or salt-flavored marinade, Php 295), and Prawn Foil Grill with lots of garlic (Php 185). They were all cooked on an in-table charcoal grill.
The beef was sweet and juicy, very tender too! Its natural, meaty flavor was enhanced by the Tare marinade as it provided a balanced, sweet-savory layer. The shrimps were fresh and really bursting with garlic flavor. But our favorite was the salmon! It was buttery, creamy, and yummy! Its flavor was clean and fresh! It was perfect with rice, lots of rice.
The Ishiyaki Bibimbab (Php 265, with egg): rice, minced chicken, vegetables, nori, and sesame seeds, all put in a HOT stone bowl. It was OK. The sauce had the right balance of heat and sweetness. The bowl though was so hot, that a crispy rice pancake formed at the bottom of our dish.
The house tea was bland. The Cucumber Peppermint Iced Tea (Php 115) was just the house tea with cucumber bits and lots of peppermint leaves. Well, it was more refreshing, great for cleansing the palate.
Price: Considering food quality, taste, and serving size. Food here is just a little too pricey.
Service: Needs improvement. Our waiters needed to be reminded thrice about getting us water, bringing us utensils, and settling our bill.
Gyu-Kaku is at the East Wing of the Shangri-La Plaza.