YAKINIKU GEN: Carnivore Happy Hour

Yakiniku Gen

Dear Food Diary:
My ability to hold alcohol has gone down dramatically in these past years, so the words Happy Hour usually just means a glass of wine – two if I want to be wild. But a Carnivore style Happy Hour? Sign me up! This Chubby can eat her weight in red meat (the Argentinean in me is giving myself a hi-five).

Last weekend, my friend W introduced me to Yakiniku Gen’s Happy Hour at Midtown East (my old stomping ground). $2.50 sake, you bet I went crazy and got another round. Plus, lots of grilled meat, meat side dishes, ramen and more.

Now that’s what I call “happy hour”.

Yakiniku Gen - Happy Hour menu
Happy Hour goes until 7:30pm even on weekends. The menu is mostly Japanese with some Korean dishes.

Yakiniku Gen - Renko chips
Renko Chips
Fried lotus root are crispy and salty. Perfect with beer actually, but sake worked just fine. One of my favorite snacks. I’ve bought pre-packed ones while living in Tokyo and freshly made are just so much better (unlike potato chips).

Yakiniku Gen - Sesame Tofu
Homemade Black Sesame Tofu
When it came I was sure they made a mistake. But turns out it’s suppose to be this color. Appearance aside, it really did have a pretty strong sesame flavor. The texture however is stickier, almost like a wet mochi (in a good way). Gooey but delectable. It has a mild sweetness that went well with the soy sauce and bright wasabi. I would of liked it with sweet toppings as dessert as well.


Yakiniku Gen - boiled beef tongue with shiso dressing
Boiled Beef Tongue with Shiso Dressing
Lean and tender, the muscle is completely broken down and each strip absorbed the minty shiso dressing beautifully. The scallions gave it an extra layer of freshness. Great dish for $4. I could eat a few orders.


Yakiniku Gen - ox tail boiled for 6 hours
Ox Tail Boiled for 6 hours
This was so tender, without breaking apart. Harmony in what was fatty and lean. A little bit of sesame and heat, mild enough to taste the meat.


Yakiniku Gen - grilling meat
You can order it marinated in this sweet glaze or just plain salt.

Nakaochi (Finger meat)
has this unique crunch like texture. It’s fatty and gelatinous enough to catch fire on the grill, which makes a perfect seared edge all around.
Hamari (Outside skirt) is very juicy and thick enough to get a nice toothsome bite. Marinated is the best way to be enjoyed.
Turami (Cheek) has a nice proportion of lean vs fat, the result is quite tender.
Misuji (Oyster blade) is tender, once grilled it is not unlike grilling tongue. Lean but very flavorful.


Yakiniku Gen - ramen
Ramen wise, their signature and spicy broth were voted as too salty across the table. The char siu (pork) wasn’t too inspiring. The oxtail version reminded me of Korean sulung tang which was definitely less salty and much more palatable. I would skip it all together next time around.


Yakiniku Gen - taiyaki with mascarpone ice cream
Taiyaki with Homemade Mascarpone Ice Cream 
Extra creamy and better than vanilla for sure. The teriyaki however didn’t have that crispy exterior like the ones I’ve fallen in love with in Japan. I would of liked to grill it myself as you do at Gyu Kaku.


Overall, the food was good.  The grill variety is a lot less adventurous than Takashi, so this would put it in the Gyu Kaku territory with a smaller, more after work vibe.  The sort of place you want them to know you by name.

The Happy Hour had enough drinks and food to make it a meal, which was great.


P.S. Chubby’s Rating:chubby rating 3.5more like 3.75 (close to 4)

250 East 52nd St.

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