Yakiniku West was the first official stop on Lthug's bachelorette itinerary. I went in with some concerns. Will I have to sit on the floor? My dress is awfully mini for the up and down. Will I really have to take off my shoes? Did I forget my ID when rushing downtown after a brutal collision with a table in my apartment? The answers were all yes, obviously, and the only one that ended up problematic was my ID.
Jaime and I arrived on time or so we thought. Lauren, Vika, Jenn, and Jackie arrived a little later. Turns out Yakiniku pushed back Lauren's reservation 15-20 minutes without complaint, even with a bit of a wait forming outside. This was a sign of good service that would continue all night. Baskets of Dum Dum lollipops free for the taking also sweetened the impression.
Once our shoes were stored in plastic bags to carry or in cubbies we were led upstairs. While you do not sit on the ground, your table is on the ground with benches around it. Hard to explain. There were only three tables in the room we were seated it. One table had the perfect addition to our party - guys from West Point who were really into Sake bombs to the point of shaking the floor. Naturally Lauren ended up participating. Sake bomb? No, a Steve bomb. Right.
The basic portions of the bbq stuff, packaged with soup, salad, and a scoop of ice cream for dessert, are for one person. We ordered three, two with bi bim bop for $5.00 extra, edamame, shochu and sake and had just enough food. The burners are way too small to cook a plateful of food for each person simultaneously making eating a slow process. At least with Shabu Shabu, which I rapidly decided I prefer, you can prepare food for a whole group at the pace you want to eat. Alternatively you can order sushi, teriyaki, or regular bi bim bop but that isn't the point of Yakiniku.
The food we cooked on our own was good, but the edamame was barely salted and the ice cream flavors didn't pop. So if I come back it will be about the service and atmosphere not the food.
As for the ID, I ended up heading home after dinner rather than continuing on to go out. NYC never lets those slide for normal people...
Location: 218 East 9th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, closer to 3rd)
Hours: Don't know...We went for dinner! So that is a safe bet.