Oku Niku Japanese BBQ Wows Burbankers With Quality Grillables, Tasty Bites

Smashed Cucumber Salad, edamame and white rice at Oku Niku. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Oku Niku Japanese BBQ has become a popular lunch and dinner spot over the past nine months the restaurant has been open, with a solid menu of quality meats, vegetables and sides from which to choose.

The stylish restaurant first opened in November 2022 on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake as Roku BBQ. By January 2023, the name had been changed to Oku Niku.

We typically eschew AYCE menus unless premium meats are also offered, as the quality of the meats included are often not as good as those available a la carte. That’s not the case with Oku Niku. The premium AYCE plan at $75 per person allows everyone at the table to enjoy just about anything from the menu, with a few limitations on amount. The Japanese Wagyu and the Seared American Kobe Nigiri are included in the premium AYCE price at one order per person.

Oku Niku also offers a Deluxe AYCE at $55 per person, which notes a few items that aren’t available to be ordered at that price.

(Clockwise from left): Oku Niku’s A5 Japanese Wagyu, Garlic Shrimp and marinated American Kobe Strip Loin are ready to be grilled at the table. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Our bill, not including tip or alcohol, for four people was just under $200. We ordered an a la carte sampling of appetizers, sushi rolls, meats, vegetables and desserts and were pleasantly full by the end of the meal.

We started out with the chilled and savory cucumber salad that was rustic, chunky, garlicky and mildly sweet, along with some basic edamame.

Our efficient, friendly and knowledgeable server brought out a tray of three accompaniments for the grilled meats: oil and seven seasonings which are recommended for pork, yakiniku sauce for beef that was a little sweet and spicy and a lemon pepper salt for shrimp and chicken.

A piece of bacon fat was also provided to lubricate the grill top for easy turning of the meats and vegetables.

We started grilling a colorful selection of vegetables, including asparagus, broccoli, squash and mushrooms, some pieces of which were pretty thick. They cooked to tenderness within 5-10 minutes and were very good.

Vegetables for table grilling at Oku Niku. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The A5 Japanese Wagyu was nicely marbled and cooked up into tender, delicious morsels. The Garlic Shrimp and the marinated American Kobe Strip Loin also cooked fairly quickly and were very flavorful as well.

We also tried the Salmon Roll and the Soft Shell Crab Roll. The salmon was of obvious quality, melt-in-your-mouth soft. The soft shell crab was excellent and the roll a great combination of textures.

The garlic noodles were very good and the basic white rice was a nice base for the meats.

We had to end the meal with something sweet so we tried the Yuzu Cheesecake and the Black Sesame Mont Blanc. Both desserts were small yet satisfying and tasty. The Yuzu Cheesecake was excellent.

Yuzu Cheesecake at Oku Niku. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Parking can be a challenge in this part of Toluca Lake, but we were able to find street parking within a few blocks.

Oku Niku takes reservations over the phone for parties of five or more. There is also a 90-minute time limit per table that is strictly enforced.

For quality food, a fun and stylish atmosphere and friendly and efficient service, Oku Niku earns a Tops In Town.

Restaurant Info: Oku Niku Japanese BBQ is located at 4013 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505. (818) 839-8199. Oku Niku Japanese BBQ is open Tuesday through Thursday 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday 12:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Oku Niku Japanese BBQ receives: Tops In Town

myBurbank Ratings: Tops In Town (Outstanding) On The Marquee (Really Good) Could Use A Rewrite (Average or Slightly Below) Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Poor)