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Smoky Yaki Niku
Price: 2500 yen
I was excited to try a new for me yakiniku restaurant for a friend's birthday party. We were to all order the cheapest course menu as it was about 15 people. For 2500 yen, the course includes salad, kimchi, about ten kinds of meat, a kind of soup cooked with rice, and ice cream. Drinks were additional.
I sat at a table of four and each dish or plate of meat that came was for all four of us to share. We ate through them way faster than the table next to us, where they had two of each dish despite having four adults and two children sitting there. We could have eaten much more. Everything was really good, although not at all at Korean spicy level. This restaurant is the Japanese friendly location, on the new side, but the original restaurant nearby is more authentically Korean. For example, there is no lettuce or ssamjang to eat with the meat. I was a disappointed that the kimchi was not tabehodai - it was just a tiny amount. Maybe I prefer the authentic Korean yakiniku. We could eat enough, but not as much as we had expected.
Another bad point was the restaurant got so smoky from the grills, even though we turned the heat down a lot. The ventilation wasn't working well enough and the heater/air con blew the smoke away from the vent... We were all getting watery stinging eyes and feeling like we were at a campfire. The staff was very attentive but seemed to not know what to do about the smoke, as if this didn't happen every time. I asked if we could turn off the air con and open the window, which helped a little. Staff are maybe Korean-Japanese or Korean students, some are not bad at English, but not native at Japanese.
As we came for a birthday party, someone had brought a cake and staff brought it out with candles for us to sing. When he took it back to the kitchen to cut it, it accidentally fell on the floor. He came back and apologized profusely, but we were all having a good time and suggested it would be fine to skip it or just remove the dirty part. We got our ice cream then the reformed cake and it was no problem, but the staff gave a discount ticket for the next visit to the friend who brought the cake.
Overall, everyone had a good time and the food is excellent. Compared with eating this kind of meal in Korea, taste and price just doesn't compare, but I had to remind myself this is the Japanese version of Korean food. San Kyuu is about 300 m from the East exit of Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station, after passing the Aeon entrance, go left at the intersection and it's on the left.