Yakiniku Like has got a great reputation in Japan for being a convenient and affordable yakiniku eatery. Think of it as a fast-food eatery, but for yakiniku. When it first opened its doors in PLQ mall early 2020, it created quite a buzz with set meals starting from $9.80 nett. Now, 10 moons later, my visit on a weekday afternoon during an off timing like 230pm still had an hour of waiting before my turn. I can only imagine the horrendous waiting time if I were to visit on a weekend or during peak hours.
The interior sits less than 50 pax, and there is sufficient space between tables, uncharacteristic of informal yakiniku restaurants in Japan where they try to pack as many patrons together as possible. They even have seatings for singles which faces nobody so you won’t feel awkward if you’re dining alone.
The Prime Karubi and Rosu set is probably for those who want to splurge a little more than usual, but find that the Wagyu Steak set ($19.80 for 120g) is a little too over the top for a place like this. Don’t get me wrong; Yakiniku Like is clean and fuss free, but the main downside is their long queues and 40 minute dining time. I certainly wouldn’t like to gobble up a wagyu steak in 40 minutes!
Each set comes with a bowl of rice (pro-tip: get the largest sized; the price is the same and you would need the carbs to fill up your tummy in place of more meat), a soup and a choice of either kimchi or salad.
The Prime Karubi and Rosu set is essentially beef short ribs and beef chuck. I was slightly disappointed that the quality of the meat wasn’t what I had expected in terms of fat to meat ratio. Not that it mattered a lot though, because the meat was so thinly sliced that it was a breeze to eat after grilling. Unfortunately, that meant that there’s no good bite to the meat and each piece was gone before I knew it. The house seasoning that came with the meat thankfully, was rather flavourful and goes well with the fluffy white rice.
I felt a little shortchanged here because beef short ribs is something that I eat on a weekly basis whether at home or at restaurants, and this off-shaped beef short rib just screams like it was the leftover ends of the meat (it looked like normal rectangular pieces until I removed the slices of beef chucks covering it).
While the entry level sets do come off as being very affordable, they are definitely not meant to be filling. The pinch comes when you either upgrade your meat, or increase the amount of lower tiered meat. Think trice before you do that though, because you’ll eventually be faced with a dilemma — given the long queues and limited dining time (I reiterate, 40 minutes!), is it still worth paying so much for a meal at Yakiniku Like? On the other hand, is it worth waiting so long just to spend a little bit on a meal (starting from $9.80 for 100g) that is hardly substantial? My take is that you’re better off having better and more comfortable yakiniku experiences elsewhere.
Nevertheless, Yakiniku Like is still worth a try for the novelty. Just be prepared to brave the long queue and don’t expect the quality to be mind-blowing.
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