Overall Score 9/10
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Recent I have visited a few yakiniku restaurants. It must be because it is getting toward the end of the year when the winter is coming, so I thought that it would be good to put on some beefy pounds for the warmth. I am joking. Everybody knows that we don’t really have a winter here in Bangkok. The truth is simple; I am a true meat lover. Many people in Thailand don’t eat so much meat. I feel sorry for them. They really are missing out on some natural jewels. Often time people would ask me if I eat beef. My usual answer would be, “I can’t live without beef.” Yeah, I didn’t get to eat much beef as a child, so I spend my adulthood making it up, lol… Well, enough about that. In this review, I will share to you one of the great spot in Bangkok for the beef craving cure.
Located in the Bangna district, coming on the inbound traffic on Bangna Trad road past the Srinakarindra Road and then right after you past Soi Bangna Trad 44, there will be a street sign of the Gyu Gyu Tei. The place was easy to find. Parking was definitely not an issue. This occasion was on a Saturday at around noon; perfect day for premium grilled beef, actually any day is a perfect day. Since I was meeting a friend in the area, this place was just the right choice.
In Bangkok, the Gyu Gyu Tei is a renowned yakiniku brand restaurants with individual franchise owners. There are several locations opened and being so successful, especially the one at SeenSpace 13 (Thonglor), I heard. I haven’t got to go there myself yet. I imagined that the one in Bangna would also follow the franchise foot step. Serving variety of Japanese import beef a la carte style surely kept the status of the business in a higher standard, compared to most Yakiniku buffet restaurants.
About interior setting of the Gyu Gyu Tei Bangna branch, I really liked the tall ceiling that made the place so spacious. The raised pathway at entry was a great idea; it helped to separate the dining area from the customers coming in. It felt like the dining floor was slightly sunken in. With several design elements added to the space including the artsy mirror façade combined with series of wooden beams forming curvy lines, the handmade straw fixtures hanging in the center, and the abstract paintings on the wall (which I believe they represent the pulse line of four elements; earth, water, wind, and fire); overall atmosphere became quite eclectic, described through the oriental contemporary attitude. The tall window blazed up the room with light but also the heat because it happened to face west. It bothered me a bit but it wasn’t a big deal since I knew that there was also the heat from the grill. One thing I noticed when I walked in. The place didn’t have much smoky smell. I was told that the high flow ventilation fans sucking in the smoke below the grill at every table were responsible for that. I’d give props for that. Many Yakiniku restaurants in Bangkok have the smelly issue, which would ward off many girls that don’t want their hair to smell after the meal.
Once the charcoal is burning and the grill is ready, we were served with various choices of beef cuts and pork. The first one was the Kurobuta (700 baht), black pig. It was also marinated in black sauce. I liked this pork dish as a start. The marinade tasted much like a super delicious street Pork in skewers but with higher quality. It was a good choice from the pork menu. I’d recommend it to non-beef eaters. Two sauces were available for each person. One was the Asian sweet barbeque style with garlic, chili, and lime juice coming in the condiments tray. The other one was a Thai style Jeaw sauce. I didn’t care much for the sauce. I asked for the Salt and pepper in sesame oil for the beef.
For fiber, we had the shitake mushroom, sliced and ready for the grill. Then we had a set of cold green veggies, Sanju - Green Cos and cucumber with beancurd paste (110 baht). And, we also had the Gyu gyu tei salad (120 baht). As health-wise choice on the side, it was refreshing to alternate the green salad veggies with the red meat.
Then we had the Gyu Gyu Tei signature beef. Slices of beef formed in a flower. Beautiful with slight marbling pattern, evenly spread out. I was told that this was a popular choice. For 1,100 baht, there was a good amount. Of course it was just satisfying enough, above mid grade meat but not the most exciting one as we still had more to come. This one was supposedly the Highlight of the yakiniku lunch at the Gyu gyu tei, the Matsuzaka beef (1,200 baht). I am not sure about its marbling score but it sure looked nice with grains of white fatty infused nearly throughout the cut. It looked amazing but I couldn’t taste much meat flavor. Telling you once again, I needed no extra sauce on the premium meat. Only the salt and pepper in sesame oil was enough. Next up was the Koruge Wagyu (1,500 baht). This one was my favorite; full of rich meaty flavor coming in the perfect texture – not too soft and not chewy. I really liked it. I grilled it to where it was still red. I could eat this all day, no joke. I highly recommend this choice.
We had another pork dish, which was the Ton Toro (200 baht) . I believe it was the shoulder cut; the color was so white with evenly spread fatty grain. For the price, this pork was good quality. It was from premium selection pork meat of Gyu Gyu Tei. This one acted as a filling additional to the beef in order to not tear the pocket so wide. If I would want to get completely full with the Koruge, I’d be broke, lol…
We also had a choice of seafood, the Hotate or Sea Scallops. It was a great size scallop but it was cut too thin, so it wasn’t as satisfying when grilled. I think it would be better if it was served whole for grilling then it can be cut afterward.
For the party of three bigger eaters, by this time we were still enjoying the food and could easily have more food, so we ordered the Karubi beef (250 baht). We chose to have it not marinated and this choice was well worth it. The Karubi had the wonderful meat taste and texture. It was a surprise to find the meat this quality for the price we paid. Great finish! My meat craving was magnificently cured.
However, we noticed the Green tea Wasabi ice-cream being so interesting and we had to try it. We had two choices of the ice-cream; the green tea wasabi and the coffee (Espresso?). The first one had a well balanced flavor, made of the sweet, the tea, and the light wasabi spice. The coffee one was rich in coffee flavor and the addition of nuts in there was tasty. I thought it all end here but the Gyu Gyu tei Bangna also served complimentary dessert, the black jelly with milk. Almost too sweet but it was nice.
While majority of Yakiniku restaurants in Bangkok are serving buffet, the Gyu Gyu Tei Bangna is continuing to hold up their pride and maintain their premium quality import meat as their priority. For meat lovers in the Bangna area, I would suggest you all to try it out and I promise you will be happy with their premium Japanese Wagyu cuts.
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