Had a double date night last Saturday on Crescent St., and while on paper an evening in Montreal’s bro mecca sounds like a recipe for disaster, we ended up having a blast with Jordana and Mitch at Gyu-Kaku.
Gyu-Kaku came highly recommended by bosses and brothers who knew our penchant for good food and a fun night out, but we were reticent about a place on Crescent Street, because c’mon, do we look like tourists? This hesitation grew when we walked into this Benihana-esque establishment… Boy, were we wrong for being skeptical.
We actually passed by one of the 640 or so Gyu-Kaku locations in Japan around Akihabara, but didn’t put two and two together until we downloaded the restaurant’s app for an easy discount and discovered this vast network of yakiniku restaurants.
With yakiniku, there’s a grill, aka the smokeless roaster with down draft system that sucks the smoke away from guests, right in the middle of your table. You pick your meats, and in this case Gyu-Kaku made it incredibly easy by offering a pre-determined “Samurai” combo for four people, and they bring them out in a steady procession. You grill the meats and voila, you’ve got a social dinner similar to a raclette night.
Where we thought a Montreal yakiniku might falter is with meat quality. Not the case here, as we kept getting juicy, tender results every time. They also have premium meats to choose from, including wagyu. For special picks, we went with scallops and tongue. In both cases, it was worth it.
One thing the Montreal Gyu-Kaku does differently is their cocktail menu, which they said was a recent addition. We still shared two bottles of unfiltered sake, but we also tried their Sakura (cherry blossom) sake and Montreal Sunrise cocktails, which tasted like dessert but packed a powerful punch.
While the food and drinks ended being pleasant surprises, where Gyu-Kaku really shines is its festive and lively atmosphere. Smiling faces and laughter rings out from every corner accompanied by the latest pop and hip hop hits (and a surprising amount of Post Malone). All of this paired with an affordable menu (approx. $50/person for a full feast including premium extras and many drinks) makes Gyu-Kaku a smart choice for any occasion.
Pro-tip: download the app! Earn reward points by scanning your bill and get special discounts to exchange for dishes and additional savings. You can even make reservations through it! Use our code “Melanie1847” to get extra points.