Recently, I've been getting into the Japanese culture a lot more than before. Mostly because nearly everyone are going or planning to go to Japan this year. No idea why there's that sudden hype but now I've got the travel bug for this country. While sushi and ramen are probably the first things that pop into your head about Japanese cuisine, what about Japanese BBQ/Yakiniku (aka grilled meat)? This specialty is what the newly opened Gyuzou is known for.
What differs Japanese BBQ from Korean BBQ is that the meat isn't marinated/ and you cook it over a griddle so it has more of a grilled texture once it's cooked. While we were at Gyuzou really early on a Tuesday evening, it remained quiet by the time we left around 8pm. In fact I think we made a bit too much noise at the restaurant.
Like Wagaya and Mizuya, Gyuzou lets you order by touch screen so you can see what you have ordered and how much you have spent.
Lemon Lime Bitter Sake ($6.90)
While this drink tasted more like lemon lime bitter than sake, it was refreshing for me especially after eating all the meats. Wasn't strong at all which should be good if you prefer something more sweeter.
Complimentary Sauces: Chilli Oil, Salt, Yakiniku
Found these dips to be essential for that added taste to the meats after they've been cooked on the grill.
Assorted Wagyu ($25.50)
The food that has gotten me excited about Gyuzou has been the extensive wagyu menu. I can remember how rare it was to find a decent wagyu burger anywhere except for Rockpool Bar and Grill and Plan B by Becasse (RIP) when I just finished my uni studies. Now you can spot it at countless restaurants and bars around Sydney whether they are part of Japanese or Korean BBQ or a juicy burger at a bar or a casual dining joint.
Oyster Blade ($12.50)
Inside Skirt ($10.50)
Rib Finger with soy sauce ($8.80)
While the assorted wagyu platter doesn't include the highly rated and more expensive Short-Rib and the Chuck Tail wagyu beefs, I was still keen to try the platter in order to sample a variety of wagyu goodness. While each meaty delicacy was succulent, my faves would have to be Oyster Blade and the Tri-Tip for that rich, tender, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. The marbling also adds to that wow factor. This platter also came with a side of assorted veggies including mushrooms, carrots and cabbage. Will definitely return to try the Short Rib and Chuck Tail after hearing all the raves from other people who have tried it previously.
Pork Belly ($7.00)
While there was so many yummy options on the menu, I just simply cannot resist the pork belly. While on this rare occasion, it may not be the star of the show compared to the wagyu meats but I still thought it was done well with that nice fatty and grilled texture especially after it was cooked. You get a choice of coating your meat with salt or soy sauce. I decided on the soy sauce for that added flavour.
Ox Tongue ($7.80)
The ox tongue is actually another fave of mine whenever I go to a Japanese or Korean restaurant. When its cooked, you forget that you are actually eating tongue since it was thinly sliced. Slightly chewy but well cooked especially with the grilled edges. Out of the non-wagyu red meat options, I would definitely recommend this to try (unless you really don't like the idea of eating tongue...).
Seared Wagyu Nigiri ($3.30)
You can also opt for wagyu sushi nigiri if you prefer sushi or are in the mood for a smaller bite. There's heaps of sushi nigiri options on the menu including scallops, salmon, egg omelette and prawn. The rice was nicely cooked and the wagyu was just as tender. Great to have while you wait for the food that takes longer to cook.
Assorted Seafood ($14.50)
V had his eyes on the assorted seafood when I was spending a lot of time browsing the menu. It was something slightly different for that extra variety from all the red meats. It was all delicious (especially the mussels and scallops) however it did take a lot longer to cook and it was harder to tell if it was cooked or not at one point. Despite that, we both really enjoyed this platter.
Crumbed Crab ($5.50)
This was a surprise fave of mine from the non-red meat dishes. Loved the crunchy and crumbed coating along with the thinly shredded crab meat filling.
In keeping up with discovering more Japanese favourites, I opted for the okonomiyaki. This was coated with okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and swirls of mayonnaise. Obviously by this point with all the other dishes we ordered, we were getting quite full (but still managed to get through most of this!). I'm not too familiar with this dish but I thought it was softer than I expected. Then again I have only tried the one at Ichiban Boshi a few years ago. Did like the outer crispness and the overall soft texture.
Steamed Rice ($2.50)
Usually at most Asian BBQ restaurants, we ordered rice on the side. Looking back this actually wasn't needed because the meat and seafood held well on its own. Plus the rice was too soft for my personal preference.
Berry Yogurt Parfait ($7.90)
If you are curious about exploring more about Japanese cuisine besides the usual ramen and sushi joints, Gyuzou offers that option especially if you love wagyu meats. While the prices were a bit more expensive, it is great to share with a larger group so you can try more and split the bill down. Looking forward to making another visit for that juicy short rib wagyu beef!
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined as a guest of Japanese BBQ Yakiniku Gyuzou, courtesy of SD Marketing. Opinions are however, my own.
Japanese BBQ Yakiniku Gyuzou
Shop 5, 339 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Shop Tel No: (02) 9268 0410
Booking No: 1800 924 292
Sun-Thurs: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Fri-Sat: 5:30pm - midnight