gyu-kaku japanese bbq | scripps ranch

Recently my friend Laura and I went to check out Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ over in Scripps Ranch. I’ve been wanting to check this place out for a long time! I was deterred when it initially opened because the wait was usually quite long. We visited on a Thursday evening and there was only a 5 minute wait for a table. The hostess told us about making reservations though I didn’t see the need to make one if there was only a 5 minute wait.

Sakura Course Special Menu | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[sakura course / $55 for two people]

We came to try the special Sakura Course for the Cherry Blossom Festival on the last day it was being offered. It had quite a few offerings available as a 2 person combination and it looked like a great deal. You could add additional meats to the course for a discount as well. 

Three sauces are available at each table | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[sauces at gyu-kaku]

There were three sauces on the table at Gyu-Kaku for dipping your meats into. I used a combination of all three to flavor up my grilled meats.

Starter Salad | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[gyu-kaku salad]

Our waitress brought out a bunch of stuff at the same time which overwhelmed Laura and I a little bit. She brought out the salad, soup, and appetizers almost at the same time. We got the soup and salad first and while we were dividing up the salad, she brought out the appetizers. A little fast for us!

I really enjoyed the salad – it had a nice balance of crunch and a little sweetness from the salad dressing. Really yummy!

Miso Soup | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[miso soup]

I wasn’t in a soup mood so I didn’t touch my miso soup. 

Packet of Mushrooms | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[packet of mushroom]

Our waitress also brought out a foil packet full of mushrooms. Laura doesn’t eat mushrooms so they were all for me but I didn’t really enjoy this. I grilled the mushrooms for awhile and then grilled them again because they seemed undercooked. I just abandoned them after a second cooking since the texture didn’t seem quite right to me. Maybe I just needed to grill them for a lot longer then they recommended (which was like 5 minutes).

Fried Calamari | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[fried calamari]

The next two appetizers came out at the same time while we were still starting on the salad. Laura asked our waitress to not bring out any more food since we weren’t ready for anything else. We were hoping to eat the salad first before the appetizers came out so the appetizers would stay hot. We managed though, but it was overwhelming for so much to be brought out at once.

That said though, I quite enjoyed the crispy calamari. The batter was a bit on the thicker side but I really enjoyed the taste and flavor of the crunchy calamari with the yummy dipping sauce.

Slow Cooked Angus Beef Bites | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[slow cooked angus beef bites]

This hot bowl of angus beef bites came out with the calamari and it was boiling hot when it was placed on our table! The broth was bubbling away and it smelled delicious. There were bits of the angus beef and whole mushrooms in the mix with the savory sauce. The sauce tasted like a beef gravy and the beef bites had the consistency of meatballs. They were very tender and tasted really flavorful with the sauce. I loved the mushrooms in this dish – it soaked up a lot of flavor from the gravy. 


Our waitress made sure to ask if we were ready for the meats to start coming out for the grill, thankfully. We finally were! 

Premium Rib Eye | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[premium rib eye]

We got three items to start with. First, the very marbled looking Premium Rib Eye.

Slices of pork belly | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[pork belly]

Along with a plate of pork belly slices.

Bistro Hanger Steak Miso | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[bistro hanger steak miso]

And some miso seasoned Bistro Hanger Steak.

Meats grilling on the hot grill | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

Laura and I just cooked a few things at once to help pace our meal out. Our waitress recommended to put the beef in the middle and the pork around the edges since the pork needed a little longer to cook.

I thought the recommended grill times were a little off – either that or our grill wasn’t hot enough yet – since I ended up putting things back on for an extra sear. No matter though, it still tasted good once we were able to figure out grilling times.

Grilled Beef | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

Cooked rib eye and a little bit of hanger steak! The meat was very tender and juicy.

Grilled Pork Belly | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

Searing the pork belly.

Grilled Pork Belly | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

The pork belly turned out to be my personal favorite item. I got to have a crispy little edge which made the pork belly taste extra wonderful. I liked the pork belly so much that I ordered an extra plate of it at the end for an additional $2.95.

Shrimp for grilling | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[fresh shrimp]

After we finished off the pork and two beef plates, we got some shrimp! We asked for some lemon to squeeze onto the shrimp after it was done grilling – yum.

Yaki Shabu Beef Miso | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[yaki shabu beef miso]

And we also got a plate of Yaki Shabu Beef, also miso flavored. I didn’t look too well at the regular menu but I did noticed there were other seasonings available for the meat. I think I’d like to try out the other flavorings in the future! All of the beef was very tender but I think I was hoping for a little bit of variety in the sauce/seasoning flavor. 

Chocolate Lava Cake Dessert | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

Oozing Chocolate Lava Cake Dessert | Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ - Scripps Ranch / San Diego, CA

[chocolate lava cake]

For dessert we had our choice of either a green tea cake/ice cream dessert or chocolate lava cake. While the green tea cake/ice cream dessert looked really pretty, I know that I tend to not like things that are green tea flavored… so Laura and I went with the Chocolate Lava Cake instead. It looked very dramatic with the chocolate sauce poured all over the top of the mini chocolate cake. We quite enjoyed feasting on this little cake and it was a nice sweet ending to a lovely dinner. 

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
9844 Hibert St, Ste G-1
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 693-3790

8 thoughts on “gyu-kaku japanese bbq | scripps ranch

  1. I tend to only like mushrooms with some other dish like steak or a burger. Seems strange to eat them straight up… Loved the look of the char’d meat. 🙂 I’m gonna look for some char’d meat for lunch. 🙂

    1. Hi Soo – I really love mushrooms, but I need them to be in a sauce or stuffed or on something, like you said! Plain old grilled mushrooms all by themselves didn’t quite do it for me. Oh well. The meat is excellent here – hope you found something good for lunch!

  2. I really, really wanted to like this place… But it just never lived up to my expectations :\ Maybe because I felt like with the prices and portions, the meat should be higher quality – but to me, it’s worse than Manna, which is all-you-can-eat for about the same price.

    1. Hi Jinxi – I liked some things about it, and other things I didn’t. I don’t think I’d take Jake here because it wouldn’t really be enough food, but I liked it for sharing a meal with a friend. The pork belly was my favorite item and I feel like I’d like the beef more with a different seasoning on it.

  3. All the meats you tried looked good, especially the pork belly. The only thing I don’t like about Korean BBQ places is smelling like the smoke but it’s a small price to pay for the good food and side dishes.

    1. Hi CC – The pork belly was my favorite item here, I liked how it turned out. Usually the beef dishes are my favorite. This place didn’t have too bad a smokey smell. It’s actually a Japanese BBQ place rather than Korean one.

  4. hmm, I remember not caring for the mushrooms here either. they were tastier at Tsuruhashi. and I typically leave a little underfed because the price is starting to creep up higher than an AYCE! maybe this place would be a better deal for a smaller appetite…

    1. Hi Lynn – Yeah… the mushrooms really didn’t do it for me here. I didn’t like how they tasted or how they are prepared in the foil pack. Yeah, I wouldn’t take Jake here because I think he wouldn’t be full after eating here but it decent enough if you have a smaller appetite.

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