From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Bacon-wrapped Asparagus - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Wasabi Crunchy Shrimp, and Ahi Tuna Poke. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, ahi tuna, or chicken with chili mayo until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.
Anyone yearning for Hawaii’s balmy breezes might do well to visit J & J Hawaiian Barbecue, a Cupertino eatery where cooks prepare classics such as Kalua pig and loco moco—the medley of rice, hamburger, and egg that’s ubiquitous throughout the tropical state. The menu also reflects Hawaii’s strong Asian influences with dishes such as teriyaki rice and chicken katsu. Diners can sip Hawaiian Sun beverages in tropical flavors such as green tea-lychee or guava nectar.
Beef, fish, chicken bones, and more than 30 Chinese herbs collectively flavor the numerous variations of Xinjiang Mala spicy broth at Dragon Gate BBQ. These slow-cooked broths coat spicy shabu skewers, on which chefs layer kelp, tofu curd, and beef meatballs. Simmering meats also cling to the kitchen staff’s barbecue skewers, which include traditional ingredients, such as green beans, chicken gizzard, and pig skin. Batches of fried rice or noodles tossed with veggies round out the menu along with freshly squeezed juices or imported beer.
The barbecue masters at CJ BBQ Restaurant serve up slow-cooked meats including ribs, hot links, and pulled pork. They slather four types of ribs in housemade sauce, allowing guests to choose from pork, beef, baby back, and Korean-style versions. Other Korean specialties on the menu include kimchi ramen, hot spicy chicken, and bibimbap.
Since 1941, the Dickey family has been churning out Texas-style barbecue and tasty family-style sandwiches, sides, salads, and baked taters. Dickey’s lets customers choose from eight USDA-prime meats—all cooked slowly to smoky perfection over a hot hickory-fire pit every night—including Southern pulled pork, tender turkey breast, and Virginia-style ham. Start by slamming a quick cow workout with some sliced beef brisket on The Big Barbecue Sandwich ($4.75), served with pickles, onions, and Dickey's famous sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce, which took three years, two fist-fights, and one small kitchen fire to develop. Otherwise, go with The Quarter Plate ($7), a quarter-pound of your favorite meat served with pickles, onions, a roll, corn on the cob and one other homestyle side (which are $1.95 each when purchased separately). Choose from options such as fried okra, green beans with bacon, or mac & cheese. Diners with more than one mouth to feed can play hot potato with a giant stuffed baker ($3.50) before stuffing their head's two other mouths with the picnic pack ($19), which includes a pound of meat, two pint-sized sides, four rolls, and barbecue sauce.