The Ferris wheel at Wuyang Casa Japanese BBQ was larger than it looks. It took two servers to set the golden contraption onto the table, as it was about 4 feet tall with multiple levels of swinging compartments, each holding a paper boat filled with raw meat. The staffer carefully removed one of the meats and placed it on the hot Korean barbecue grill in the center of the table. It had to be done slowly, because any change in weight disturbed the balance of the Ferris wheel, and the whole thing would start swinging around, threatening to catapult the meats into the air.
This supersized golden Ferris wheel — a recent TikTok sensation in San Francisco — was, startlingly, only one of the many stunts at this new restaurant in Lake Grove. After the pandemic led to a four-year delay on the project, the team behind Stony Brook's Red Tiger Dumpling House has gone all out with their new restaurant. The entrance is pure suburban kitsch: A lavish Chinese pagoda juts out onto the sleepy shopping center. It's crowned by two imperial guard lions that look out onto a Lidl supermarket and Retro Relics antiques store.
Inside the cavernous red temple of a dining room, roaming dim sum carts are filled with strikingly colorful buns. State-of-the-art barbecue grills inside the tables suck up the smoke, and the food menu is unbound by the traditional confines of cuisine. Is it Japanese? A hybrid of Korean and Chinese flavors? The definitions are murky, but the restaurant takes some cues from the corporate Japanese barbecue chain Gyu-Kaku, which has locations in Manhattan and Flushing, Queens. Both use the same nifty golden barbecue grills and invite you to toast your own s'mores for dessert.
The name Wuyang translates to a crowd or a gathering of people in Mandarin, server Jenny Guo said. There was no crowd during a recent lunch. The $75.99 combo comes with enough meat to feed four people, and that's without all the rainbow dumpling appetizers.
Skip the dim sum unless you're with a big party. Get straight to the grilling, because it's ... interesting. Side dishes include pickled radishes, but they're neon blue. There are also stringy potatoes and raw onion slices in a brown sauce. Dips include a spice mixture of cumin and nuts. And then there's the wagyu beef, the "snowflake beef," the beef ribs, brisket, beef tongue, "superior" fatty beef, thin cut rib-eye, beef belly and garlic shrimp.
Delicious it was, but the savory feast nevertheless felt like a mere precursor to the complimentary s'mores dessert. Grilling your own marshmallows on a Korean barbecue grill, with graham crackers and melty chocolate? Now that's amazing.
Wuyang Casa, 2880 Middle Country Rd., Lake Grove, 631-619-6502. Open 12:30-9:30 p.m. daily.