Japanese chain Gyu-Kaku had already opened 700 restaurants worldwide before they arrived in Thailand, quite sensibly opting to set up their first branch here in Soi Thaniya, with its heavy concentration of Japanese businessman at work and play. Gyo-Kaku does stand out from the crowds of Japanese eateries on this soi, though, by showing that yakiniku dining doesn’t have to be just about the buffet, with quite impressive à la carte menu. The décor is pretty typical for this kind of joint—black tables and some booths—but we do really like the grills and air-con, which mean lovely smoky meat without the unwanted extra of smoky clothes. The recommended Plate A (500g, B890) is the beef set for two persons and includes beef tongue, sirloin, karubi (short ribs) and rump cap. As always, the favorite is the popular marinated karubi—so juicy and fatty you can almost forgo dipping it at all. However, the two types of sauce served with the meat (one is sweet and the other pretty salty) are also enjoyable—well-balanced, without overpowering the original taste of the meat. Most yakiniku places don’t really worry about other dishes, but here, even the noodles are amazing. The gomanegi ramen (Japanese noodles topped with egg and sesame served in a hot stone bowl, B220) comes with a succulent broth that has you licking the bowl clean. The same high praise goes for their fresh spinach salad topped with mushroom (B120) that comes with a creamy sesame dressing that is very flavorful while the accompanying seasoned vegetables (B140) are crispy and fresh. The popular dessert of Gyu-Kaku ice cream with soy bean powder (B80), is less impressive, tasting way too artificial for us. Still, you don’t come to yakiniku for the ice cream, and the other dishes more than justify the price with most of the buffet options coming in at around B500. That’s pretty competitive when you consider the good quality ingredients used here, plus the service is very helpful and affable making it a fun spot for some barbecuing with friends. Corkage B300.