Gyu Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant
219 – 755 Burrard Street
Let me start by saying that this might be one of the most image intensive restaurant post I have written in a long while. Why? Well, it is because of the nature of this beast. In this case, Gyu Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant, which I visited with some work colleagues for lunch. As the name suggests, this is a teppanyaki restaurant, which translates into a restaurant where you would sit around an flat iron plate/griddle and the chef/cook will cook your meal in front of you. As a “bonus” of this type of restaurant, there will be some show of sorts. Now, given it was lunchtime, such show wasn’t displayed but, still, there was a lot going on, hence all the additional pictures. As usual, I am not as interested in the show as the food itself but, as usual, that’s me!
So, how come I ended up in this place? As mentioned, some work colleagues and I had the idea of going out for lunch for some minor celebration. The question was the usual “where”. PO, whom has been a long time partner in crime for restaurant visits, suggested Gyu so why not!
While walking to the restaurant, I noticed that PO wasn’t wearing his usual coat; instead, he was bracing the “cold”. Well, in a move on the lines of the smart guy in the room, he knew there will be some smoke due to the cooking method which would lead into your clothing smell like food/fat/grease/smoke/who knows what else. Fortunately, that didn’t happen but, once again, we were there for lunch, not dinner and, depending on some extra, more smoke could have been generated and that dreaded effect could have happened. But, moving to the food…
Not sure this was PO’s initial plan but there was the suggestion for their all-you-can-eat menu. Since I was with others, oh, well, I had to tag along. While the description is that of “all you can eat” special, it ain’t necessarily so: Some items can be had only once, namely, edamame, prawn, salmon, squid and ice cream.
After we sat down and made our order, the food started to arrive, starting off with…
Seasonal green salad. Think of it of a lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad with a dollop of mayo and some Japanese style dressing. Should I have expected more? Nah, I will just leave it at it being the token greens for this meal.
Your standard miso. As it has been said a couple of times, “you can’t make this look sexy”. Sorry, it is what it is!
Edamame. Notice this is not a single serving but two servings. In this case, since some of us were seated together, they simply served this than split it. If you have had edamame in the past, you have a good idea of what to expect; if not, these semi-soft beans relied on the seasoning outside, as by itself it would have been relatively bland. In fact, as served, a bit more of seasoning in the form of salt would have worked better but won’t complain here.
Yes, there were a lot of sauces, with the last one being their XO sauce. As if when the cook speaking Cantonese to one of the customers wasn’t enough hint; yup, XO sauce as in that HK origin sauce. For an XO sauce, it was OK; though, it felt more on the lines of dried shrimps in oil. YMMV? As for the rest of the sauces, from left to right, a vinaigrette like sauce, a sweet chili-like and a tomato/salsa-like sauce. I mention “like” a lot as they were all bland and didn’t really add much to the food we were dipping them in.
This is the preparation of the prawns and salmon. Yup, a single piece of both. OK, here is one thing that will be almost a constant of this post: despite there were some grinding of pepper (and salt?), it didn’t really translate into some something flavourful. In fact, I felt there was a desperate need for seasoning, something that, as mentioned above about the sauces, they didn’t really help. But, back to the seafood itself, texturewise, it was slightly past the done-ness I would have preferred but, otherwise, it was decent.
There was also some squid. I didn’t take a picture of it while it was prepared but, if you haven’t seen a 25cm (~10″) squid, you should have a good idea of what to expect. As for taste? Almost a blank palette.
Filet of chicken. If you are a white meat fan, turn around. These “filets” are dark meat, skin on. As seen, it is brought raw and it is then cooked; however, it took ~10 minutes and, in the meantime, we were just looking around and chatting. I guess if there is a “flaw” from this cooking type, it would be this. And, despite it is “all-you-can-eat”, given the pace things were prepared, you can only eat that much and time will tell your brain your stomach is already full. I have no problem with this approach; just make sure you schedule your lunch accordingly!
Anyway, after the “filets” are brought, they are seared on one side, then turned, then sliced in half so it can cook in the middle. After more cooking, some sauce is added and then finally cut into small pieces, which tasted something on the lines of well cooked chicken but lack some flavouring, which not even the bland sauces could salvage. Could it been better? Indeed, yes, it could have…
The next course was the beef usuyaki – “Alberta thinly sliced ribeye”. It started by having some fried garlic chips (couldn’t confirm) mixed with green onions. Then, thin slices of meat are placed on the hot iron plate, where some of the fried garlic and green onions mix would be placed over and then “wrapped”. While in principle sounds like a good idea, alas, the end product made a disservice to the beef: You could barely taste any of the beef or fried garlic for that matter. In fact, had it been pretty much any cut, it wouldn’t have made any difference. The only light flavour I could taste was the green onions. But, c’mon…!
Some of my colleagues ordered their meal with fried rice rather than white rice (no picture taken). It started by tossing some rice and, on the side, eggs were cracked and cooked, rolled and chopped and then mixed with the rice. Didn’t ask how it tasted…
“Fried” assorted vegetables. Think some cabbage and bean sprout tossed together and cooked. It was OK but it desperately need some seasoning, as it was darn bland. But, again, it served as vegetable filler.
After the vegetable, a last call for the meats were done so we went through a second round of the chicken and beef. In a way, we spent more time chatting than paying attention to how the food tasted. After we “finished”, our dessert was provided:
Mango, sesame or green tea ice cream. Don’t expect in-store made but, then again, should I have expected more? At least it wasn’t icy so I will leave it at that.
Overall, this is not a case of a place that you might necessarily go for the food – or, at least, the lunch we had, it wasn’t. Could a “regular” dish be better? One of our neighbours had one that included scallops and a prawn, in which case, the chef added some butter in the mix. But, even then, I didn’t look too appetizing. Could dinner be better and have more flare? Could be; however, I don’t care. Given they are open for lunch but didn’t deliver, what should I expect for dinner then?