I later learned that Gyu-Kaku is actually a franchise that started in Japan, and that there are over 1,200 Gyu-Kaku restaurants located in the U.S. and various parts of Asia. If you've never been, and you like yakiniku, you should definitely check it out. Although the concept is the same at the various restaurants, the menu in different geographic regions is different. For example, I was really hoping that the Gyu-Kaku here in Japan was going to have cheesy broccoli (like the restaurants in Hawaii), but I was out of luck. On the other hand, the Japanese beef here really is top notch.
We had the good fortune of discovering the Pine Sour on our first trip to Gyu-Kaku (or rather, Rich discovered it - hey, I'll give credit where credit is due). I of course ordered some stupid peach drink while Rich went straight for the good stuff. When the waitress returned with our drinks, I watched in awe and a little bit of jealousy as the waitress juiced a half pineapple at our table by hand and poured the juice and all the pulpy goodness into a glass filled with Chu-Hi. If you're not familiar, Chu-Hi is basically shochu and carbonated water flavored with lemon. That's all I'm going to say on the matter for now, because I'm sure it will be the topic of some later post, as it's very popular here.
Anyway, after trying Rich's Pine Sour, I was hooked and couldn't stand to take one more sip of my peach drink so I immediately ordered myself a Pine Sour. The combination of pineapple and Chu Hi is amazing and you can hardly taste any alcohol, which can be quite dangerous (something you don't realize until you wake up the next day with a nasty hangover). Since that first visit, Gyu-Kaku has become a favorite spot of ours and we do our best not to let too many weeks pass in between visits. In fact, on many a vist, our group has ordered so many Pine Sours that they actually run out. So this morning, when I got a text at 8:30 a.m. asking if Rich and I were up for Pine Sours and dinner at Gyu-Kaku, I knew it was going to be a good day (we ordered all the Pine Sours they had in stock).