After a long day of slinging cocktails for a local charity event, my guy and I returned our Uhaul rental in Beverly Hills and decided to unwind with an impromptu happy hour. We walked along restaurant row (La Cienega) and passed by The Stinking Rose (a garlic-themed restaurant), Lawry’s and Scratch Bar until we paused at Gyu-Kaku on Gregory Way. Gyu-Kaku is synonymous with happy hour and it had just hit 4 p.m., so we stopped in to for quick drink and some nibbles.
I hadn’t been to Gyu-Kaku in Beverly Hills for years. I had a friend who used to work Monday nights there (the day they offer ALL-NIGHT happy hour), and she said it could turn into a madhouse. Luckily, when we walked in on a Sunday, it was pretty calm and they seated us with lunch menus and happy hour specials. The place looked relatively similar to the last time I had been in, except there were signs everywhere, literally. I’m not going to lie; it sort of cheapened the atmosphere for me. Look, I’m a total deal queen, but the deal signs above almost every table was a little much.
Gyu-Kaku is known for Korean BBQ. At the center of your table, there lies an unlit circular barbeque unit ready for raw meat and a trio of sauces on the side to dress your grilled goods. It was another hot day at the end of September, so we actually chose to skip the flames from the BBQ that day and go with some kitchen items. I had planned on cooking a big dinner that night, so we chose to split one of their lunch specials and sip on their $1.95 Sapporo draft beers and house cold sake for only $5.
The Sapporo draft beers were ice cold and hit the spot after our hot and humid walk to happy hour. The cold sake options were also great. We did only order a house one, but you can get a 300ml bottle of cold Hakkaisan sake for only $12 – a great value.
Our lunch special, the Beef Sukiyaki Bibimbap, was only $8.95 and included beef sukiyaki, miso soup, pork gyoza dumplings and a small salad. The miso soup with less salty than most places and included cubed tofu and a decent amount wakame seaweed. The salad was comprised of leaf green lettuce with diced red peppers, cucumber and an Asian dressing. I must admit, the dumplings were very oily and my least favorite part of the combination. Our beef sukiyaki was “bimbibap style” came out sizzling hot and it was quite the show stopper!
Bimbibap is a Korean mixed rice dish that should be stirred before you eat it, so we appreciated the tableside spoon dance choreographed by our food runner. The stone bowl was extremely hot and continued to steam next to us and simultaneously crisp the rice. The beef inside, although at moments slightly too fatty, blended harmoniously with the rice and filled us up with our sake/beer combo.
For under $20, Gyu-Kaku in Beverly Hills managed to make our tummies happy. Of course to really appreciate Gyu-Kaku, we’ll have to make it back on a cooler day and test out the BBQ unit with some Kobe beef, duck breast or pork belly. The place is open 365 days a year, so if you’re craving Korean BBQ, crazy low prices and ice cold beers for under $2, you may have found a meaty match.
163 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211