Gyu-kaku, the first NYC outpost of a popular Japanese grill-it-yourself chain, looks like the ideal spot for a group dinner party: a slickly designed, dark-wood-covered space where you can throw an indoor barbecue with all the fixins. On closer examination, it is a gimmick of a restaurant, with laminated menus, flyers announcing specials and a few disappointing raw ingredients (chewy, flavorless tofu; dry, unseasoned vegetables; and canned pineapple). The prices are great, however, and place is worth a try, if only for the thrill of tossing meat onto a fire without worrying about the fire marshall showing up. The meats were exceptional—namely the deliciously salty, marbled kobe and marinated lamb chops. Beware: The tabletop charcoal grill heats up to roughly the temperature of the sun, so if you can’t stand the heat...
34 Cooper Sq
|Cross street:||between 5th and 6th Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 6pm–midnight; Fri, Sat 6pm–1am; Sun 6–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: L to Third Ave; 6 to Astor Pl|
|Price:||Average small plate: $8. AmEx, Disc, MC, V. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|