Teppanyaki dining specialising in Kobe beef
Whilst in Kobe, it was an insane thought to not try Kobe beef on my one evening in the city. The concierge at my hotel recommended this venue for Kobe beef and was another highlight of the holiday. The set menu of 7, simplified courses was 17,000 JPY (around £130 per head all in) and featured either 180g of Sirloin Kobe beef or 120g of Tenderloin of Kobe beef. This was a thing of beauty to try, especially fried in garlic oil, but the only sad thing was that it simply wasn’t the Matsuzaka had in Tokyo at Dons de la Nature. Still, it was very good to do and even though the chef spoke no English and it was a silent meal, it was very good to have the genuine black, Tajima article in Kobe itself. You can almost bet your mortgage on the fact that wherever you have had ‘wagyu’ elsewhere in the world (where it is virtually guaranteed to not be 100% wagyu), it will simply be nowhere near the awesome flavour of having in this prefecture.
There were several set menus for this evening visit and the menu I chose consisted of the following courses:
- Seasonal Salad
- Abalone and lobster
- Seasonal fried vegetables
- Kobe beef in one of the variants
- Steamed rice, pickles and miso soup
- Fruits and coffee
For what was included I thought this was actually quite good value and the buildup courses (which, frankly I did not really need considering the main event) were actually not too bad. They were certainly a step up from Dons de la Nature in terms of finesse and the miso soup was particularly good.
Caviar, sea urchin and green been tofu; pretty tasteless as way too much tofu but the side salad with French dressing & ponzu was good. Potato with bamboo mushroom, mushroom, Konyaku (a type of vegetable root that has a rubbery texture). Throughout the meal, there were two types of salt available – charcoal & seaweed salt.
All of the beef was done in front of me at the teppan grill (ergo, teppanyaki dining). I have found that the further you go out of Tokyo, the less that English is spoken and is certainly the case in Kobe in comparison. Garlic oil was used for cooking the beef which had a copper cloche placed over it as it cooked to preserve moisture. Garlic chips were also served with a mustard sauce on the side akin to nearly French mustard strength. I actually went for the sirloin as the cut for this meal and was good to see how this differs from a regular cut in the UK or USA such as longhorn, Angus or red horn.
There is a reason why even this ‘lower’ quality is better than any of the normal breeds I have had in the West. In the prefecture of Hyogo, there are three forms of wagyu: Black, Brown, Shorthorn & Poll. Black is considered the holiest of flavours and in black there are three blood lines: Tajima, Kedaka and Shimane – only pure Tajima, bred, raised and slaughtered in the Hyogo Prefecture are certified as Kobe beef and this is what my Sirloin was. Even though it was not quite the Matsuzaka which I keep going on about, it was still a superbly decadent and fatty beef considering the marbling was actually not that substantive relatively.
I liked this restaurant, set high above most and with a partial city view included. As an aside, I discovered in the city of Kobe afterwards that there are actually bars with signs that do not wish foreigners who cannot speak Japanese which is a new one for me, hence my earlier comments on language. This was a grand experience and I cannot recommend for any beef lovers to come to Kobe or anywhere in Japan if need be to try this sensational beef – its ‘butteriness’ and softness is simply like no other on the planet as far as I can tell. All other aspects of the meal including water chestnuts, fried vegetables, pickles, rice and fruits were passable and formed a good overall value, but it was the beef that was obviously the star of the meal and proved beautiful….but even this was not Matsuzaka.
Food Grade: 69%
Location (Click google logo for directions)