Yaki Monster Serving Homemade Korean & Japanese on The River – New

By on August 25, 2011

“It was the junk business that brought me to Tulsa,” says Gary Turner, the affable Californian who, along with his wife Soya, owns Yaki Monster. Fortunately it wasn’t the junk food business. Even the soy sauce is lovingly made by hand at Yaki Monster, the newest addition to the restaurant row at Jenks’ Riverwalk. The Korean and Japanese food is excellent and nothing is over $10. (I should add that Gary was selling scrap metal and first came to Tulsa to sell pipe valves to oil companies.)

We went on the only day in months when the heat was bearable, even pleasant. At Los Cabos, the balcony was full at 5:30 PM. Yaki Monster is a long walk north of that, right next to an ice cream shop. It was mostly empty but those few customers were long-time friends of the Turners (who used to run a popular restaurant in Broken Arrow) and one couple was celebrating their anniversary there. It’s a bare-bones space (would you prefer elegant decor and $20 entrees?)

but Gary and his wife made us feel welcome. There was a bit of a wait. Soya cooked everything to order. (On most days, she’s helped by a Korean sous-chef.) I ordered kalbi ($10).

That’s a Korean dish: marinated, grilled beef short ribs. Very tasty indeed. I loved the marinade. You get two side orders with most dishes, and the choices are all the sort of things you’d find in a Korean panchan. I chose sweet potato salad and kimchi. Though Gary warned me the sweet potato wasn’t very sweet, it was certainly sweet enough, and went well with the added raisins. The kimchi, Korea’s most traditional dish, was fiery and obviously homemade. Betty got Teriyaki Salmon ($10).

I didn’t get to taste it but it looked lovely. And Cathe got Bibimbap ($8.50).

It looked so lovely in the bowl, all the 7 elements (beef, noodles, pickles, egg, etc) carefully laid over the rice. But to eat it it has to be mixed up, which isn’t easy. Fortunately Soya found time to mix it tableside.

Somehow all the flavors came together, and it was wonderful.

There’s lots more on the menu. A full sushi selection, and several Japanese dishes such as Ten-don (fried vegetables over rice). There’s also hot dogs, chicken wings and Hawaiian poke salad. All reasons to plan a future visit.

Yaki Monster
Riverwalk, Jenks
209-4747
www.yakimonster.com
(website not working yet)
Open daily from 11:30 AM to 10 PM. (Some days they close between 2:30 PM and 5 PM)

Brian Schwartz: Author

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

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