This post is about the day I spent out with my friend, Man Lee. She basically put up with me for about 6 hours (which ended up with me buying onions) so she could show me downtown/uptown/midtown/everywhere-town Manhattan.

Man Lee, being the observant friend she is, realized that I like food quite a bit. So she arranged for us to stop by Gyu-kaku, a Japanese barbecue grill.

The interior was decorated quite nicely. I might’ve mentioned a few times that I like eating in bright places, and at first glance, the interior of this Gyu-kaku might not have seemed particularly bright. The restaurant, however, had a bunch of hanging lights directly above the tables so nobody was eating in the dark.

I also really really liked the furniture although I’m not the biggest fan of sitting in cushioned booths.

And, at each table, there was, surprise, surprise, a grill.

Now, on to the more food-related things.

Man Lee and I both started out with a seaweed soup.

It wasn’t the best soup in the world…I think you could liken it to msg mixed with hot water, some seaweed, and a splash of sesame oil. Something anybody could make. If I had known this was the seaweed soup, I would’ve gotten miso instead…

Next was the salad.

Your generic Japanese restaurant salad. It was definitely nicer than the msg-wakame soup though…

Man Lee and I both got the same orders for the beef as well. Unfortunately…I can’t remember what it was. -ducks the rotting vegetables being thrown-

The beef on the bottom, by far, was the better of the two dishes. Taste wise, it was marinated better. The meat itself was also probably fattier than the previous dish. In terms of freshness, all the ingredients for all the courses were very fresh. If you’re worried about freshness, then there’s always the option of grilling it longer to make sure it cooks through.

Man Lee says that, when she went to Gyu-kaku previously, she had seen some actual flames leap up from the grill. Being the pyro people that we are, both of us were secretly hoping for our own fire show, but got none. Alas, all we got was delicious grilled meat…

We finally shared a green-tea crepe cake with a side of vanilla ice cream.

It was, in two words, “freaking delicious”. I can imagine how much work it was to cook each crepe individually, then layer the green tea cream in between. A major plus was that this cake was still warm when it got to us, and it went perfectly with the vanilla ice cream. It was also an excellent finishing touch to the meal.

Service was also very good. The atmosphere inside is very relaxed and casual, although the employees try to maintain a Japanese atmosphere by occasionally greeting customers in Japanese.

Man Lee also took me on a run in Little Italy and Chinatown. We stopped by Ferrera’s, and the only thing I have to prove it is a snagged napkin.

Ferrera’s known for their cannoli. I personally liked their mousse cakes more. Their presentation (none of which you can see here…) is very pretty and cute, and their prices are relatively decent considering how they’re an old established patisserie.

Seeing these backlogged photos just reminds me how food is better nearly everywhere else…something Man Lee especially missed, her being the city girl.