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Diners Give Japanese Barbecue a Try at Clarendon’s New Gyu-Kaku Grill

“Great quality cuts of meat at this place!”

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Gyu-Kaku arrived in Clarendon last month.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Japanese barbecue grill Gyu-Kaku opened its first of many area locations in Clarendon last month, inviting diners to cook their own beef tongue, pork belly, and skirt steak around an open flame.

The 130-seat sleek restaurant and bar, situated next to the Clarendon Metro stop (1119 N. Hudson Street, Arlington, Va.), opened with a limited dinner menu, Japanese beers, and tropical cocktails.

Along with vegetable-friendly fare like fried rice bibimbap and ramen, there’s layered green tea cakes from international confectioner Lady M and a full-blown lineup of grilled options and appetizers have slowly entered the mix this month. Prix-fixe packaged orders run $60 (for two) to $180 (for six).

Read on to hear what the customers are saying, one month in:

The Meaty News: Yelper James S. notes the beef tongue “cooks quickly, is salty, and a bit chewy … make sure to eat it with the green onions and lemon,” while the garlic shoyu steak features “tons of flavor in the marinade. Don’t need sauce with this cut and would recommend eating it with veggies or rice.” Yelper Cafe S. writes the “extraordinary tender” prime kalbi short rib “goes very well with ponzu sauce,” while the 21-day aged premium sirloin was “hearty and flavorful.” Google reviewer Mai Nguyen says “some meat cuts are better than others but if you’re unsure of what to order get the sets! They are pretty filling.” [Yelp, Google]

The Off To A Good Start News: Yelper Cole Q. says “staff was very friendly and helpful. This location is one of the smaller locations I have been to but even though it was crowded it didn’t get too loud in there even with music playing. Definitely off to a good start in my books.” Facebook reviewer Jen Baker “LOVED it, from the minute we walked in til we left we felt so well taken care of, and the food OMG! 4 of us shared the Samurai option and it was perfect—left full but not stuffed. Already made a reservation to go back in a few weeks.” [Yelp, Facebook]

The Fine Service News: Yelper Elizabeth S. notes her server Joe was “super awesome, explained the entire menu, gave some recommendations and overall very attentive. Our waters were never empty, and they were always prompt in taking away our dishes.” And Andrew K. “received excellent service” from his server, who was “knowledgeable of all the food, the cuts of meat, and what sauces go with what .. hosts, the bartenders, and the servers were very friendly with smiling faces and perfectly spoken Japanese greetings.” [Yelp]

The Welcome to D.C. News: Google reviewer Andrew Kiang is a “huge fan of Japanese yakiniku, which is why I’m so excited that Gyu-Kaku is now so close to home. Gone are the days of eating GK on vacation in CA and NYC.” Instagram user @joshkatcher, there with his baby in tow, “got to take Juliet to one of our favorite NYC spots without having to leave Arlington. Welcome to the neighborhood.” Facebook user JB Ongjoco calls it a huge leap from other locations I’ve visited. Looking forward to my next visit already.” [Google, Instagram, Facebook]

The Price Point News: Yelper Christine C. warns “the price can add up, since their a la carte portions are quite small. It’s beneficial in the sense that you can try a lot, but our bill came out to around the same as if we had ordered the set course for two.” Yelper Cosmo H. says “while the meat is of higher quality, I don’t think it’s worth it for the price. You can get much more food for a lot less at other places.” Yelper Jennifer K. says “there are great quality cuts of meat at this place! However, the prices are not the best for some side or non-protein dishes.” [Yelp]

The Grill It All News: Yelper Charlie C. “capped out the night with some delicious lady M cake! It’s cool how you can use the grill even for desserts like s’mores or grilling the taiyaki (red-beaned filled fish-shaped pastry).” [Yelp]

The Worth It News: Google reviewer Peter Kiang says the “food is excellent, price is right and service is superb. the unique decoration and setting design is eye-catching.” Instagram user @thedailymunchies notes “unfortunately, its not all you can eat but its worth it to go try for the experience! Especially for the quality of the food and service.” Instagram user jerich0_o tried out Gyu-Kaku “for the first time, really impressive so far, I definitely recommend a trip here.” [Google, Instagram]