Where The Stars Do The Cooking

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Most celebrities don't even know their way around their own kitchens, so why are they happily cooking up a storm at LA's trendy Gyu-Kaku? Can Leonardo DiCaprio cook? What about Drew Barrymore? And Fred Durst? To find out, make a reservation at a restaurant named Gyu-Kaku in Beverly Hills, because that's where stars, who might not even use the stove in their own homes, cook their dinner. And they're happy to pay for the privilege! Gyu-Kaku (which means "horn of the bull" in Japanese) serves Japanese barbecue with a Korean influence and does it in a very unusual way. Each table has its own charcoal grill, so diners can cook their food themselves. The do-it-yourself dishes range from steak and chicken to seafood and vegetables and there's even DIY scrumptious, mouthwatering desserts. A variety of marinade sauces are available for the food, which is grilled in state-of-the-art charcoal roaster systems. (There's absolutely no smoke or charcoal odor emitted.) The owners of the restaurant like to say that no complaints about the cooking are accepted at Gyu-Kaku, because every customer is his or her own chef! This unique concept has created a huge following among Hollywood stars. Leo comes in with girlfriend Gisele Bundchen at least once a week (they recently came in three nights in a row!) to make their own dinner. Their favorite dish is a steak marinated in a miso-based sauce. When Drew Barrymore recently dined there she posed for pictures with a birthday group at the next table. Bridget Fonda is a frequent diner who cooks (and eats) at a communal table. And all the waiters vie to serve Sofia Coppola, because they say she's so nice.

What makes Gyu-Kaku so successful? General manager Issei believes that "the restaurant's upbeat, friendly atmosphere is a real plus." Then there are the famous Soju mojito drinks, which are made with Korean vodka and a secret, never-to-be-revealed juice. "I can't tell you what our secret juice is," Issei says. "But that drink is unbelievably popular." They're clearly doing something right. Gyu-Kaku boasts over 800 restaurants in Japan, one of Hawaii and three in L.A. And they plan to open more this year in Pasadena, Calif., San Francisco and New York.

"We plan on sharing our concept with the entire country," Issei says with a smile. "So watch for us!"

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