Gaku Yakitori – San Jose, CA

Brought H & S here for their first San Jose food experience! :) Actually, I thought it was a perfect place for a few bites after their long day on planes and terminals. It also helped that it doesn’t close till midnight coz they got in at 10 pm.

When we got there, it was not as busy as I expected (although it filled up really fast). We waited for about 10 minutes so they could clear a dirty table for us.

Menu was the standard slip of paper with yakitori choices,

2 pages of small plates (including noodles & rice)

Specials

Finally, a Happy Hour Menu ( Available after 10 pm)

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We ordered:

2 orders Mi (Chicken Thigh) sauce $3

Juicy little morsels of chicken thigh that is smothered in dark soy sauce. The dark soy gives the meat a slight bitterness and saltiness. The smoke from the grill is pretty masked by the sauce but still there. I love how it is grilled so well that all the juices are retained.

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2 orders Mi (Chicken Thigh) Salt $3

I love the skin they leave on the chicken thigh, which crisped up so nicely on the grill. The chicken was nicely salted, crisp on the edges but juicy and moist in the center. The smokiness was a lot more pronounced compared to previous trip. Delicious.

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Sunagimo (Gizzard) – Garlic $2.50

The garlic flavour was almost non existent. It tasted pretty much like the salt flavoured one we ordered in previous visits. I guess they used garlic salt rather than raw garlic bits because we didn’t see any on it. But it was nice and crispy around the edges and nice crunchy center.

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3 orders Kalbi (Kobe Style Beef) $4

We actually ordered 4 but they ran out, so we only got 3. *sniff* This was amazing!

The beef was grilled to a nice rare temperature, and grilled just enough that it had a nice smoky flavour . Each bite was a burst of buttery fatty goodness. Nicely seasoned with a little salt and so you can still taste pure beef and the amount of marbled fat in each piece was just exceptional.

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Tontoro (Pork Neck Meat) – Spicy Miso $4

Not my favourite. Way too much miso on such a small piece of meat, so all I tasted was miso. Could not taste any smoke or meat. Disappointing.

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Pork Belly wrapped Quail egg skewer $3.50

The pork belly was crispy, salty,with a distinct smokiness and paried a nice hard boiled quail egg in the centre giving it a nice creaminess!

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2 orders Chicken Breast w Mentaiko Mayo Skewer $3.50

I was quite intrigue by the mentaiko mayo sauce. The sauce itself was not bad and the seaweed was a nice touch, adding a new dimension to the normal skewers. The chicken was a little disappointing though, since it was chicken breasts, it was less juicy than the chicken thigh and it didn’t help that it was a little overdone.

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Tsukini Tsukune $6

2 skewers of chicken meatball with a lightly poached egg and soy dip.

Delicious skewers! The meatball was seasoned well, with smokiness from the grill and the egg… OMG the egg was sublime. It was perfectly poached, silky and creamy with a drizzle of soy. The combination of the chicken and yolk was so good. I ended up slurping the rest of the egg.

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Nabeyaki Oyako Udon $8

Hot Pot Udon w Chicken & Egg

I was disappointed that the noodles were cut up and a little mushy. But the egg-y soup was so delicious that I still enjoyed the dish a lot. The egg-y sauce was flavourful (umamilicious!) and had little chicken chunks.

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Motsu Nikomi Tofu $7

Chicken Giblet & Tofu Hot Pot

I was surprised at how sweet this soup was. The tofu was pretty good (silky and tasted fresh); and the chicken giblets were fairly tender (I found stomach, intestine & the heart). The vegetables were nice and soft (without being mush); there was daikon radish and carrots. They bring a side of chili flakes to add into the soup, which adds a nice kick to the whole dish. Overall a good flavourful soup that was just a tad too sweet.

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Green Tea Brulee $5

Heaven in the mouth! My dining partners were skeptical when I ordered this, but after seeing the expression on my face; Meep tried it and he had the same expression, then H then S. We cleaned this out in seconds.

It was so cold, creamy with a nice crunch from the burnt sugar on top. Best green tea dessert I have ever tasted.

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Total Damage: $92 (including 1 coke, tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Pretty Darn good)

I was not as impressed by this second visit compared to the first. We got in a little later than usual at about 10.15 pm and it was quite packed. We ordered a good range of dishes between the four of us but the food took forever.

We ended up being there for over 2 hours and 45 minutes of that was waiting around. We asked for the bill twice over a span of 25 minutes (I started getting grumpy). Not a great way to end the meal.

Food was as good in the first trip, and this is still a good spot because it opens late and is close by but I probably will avoid weekends or late nights. They were not good with crowd.

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Gaku Yakitori

5152 Moorpark Ave
Ste 40
San Jose, CA 95129

(408) 973-9144

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