Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Beef Teppanyaki from Kikusui, Kobe

Cutting up the Kobe beef

Kobe is where it all began; that is, where the Japanese were allegedly first introduced to the concept of eating beef. And of course everyone knows the fame with which Kobe surged to afterwards in the world of beef. So while we were out here on a quick day trip to Kobe, we had to get some of it, right? There were of course plenty of shops selling it. We hit up this one on the second floor of the King Stone Building (the first floor is their butchery) across from the Benetton store just north of the Sannomiya subway station (their phone number is 078-392-0048...I think it's Kitanozaka Avenue?).

Guess which one is the more expensive Kobe beef?Specializing in teppanyaki, these guys actually offered some very affordable lunch sets, including the so-called sliced steak set at only 1900 Yen (US$16.50). But of course there was the standard Kobe beef meal too...up to a whopping 12,000 Yen (US$105). Yes, it was expensive, but I had to try it. We also grabbed one of those cheap sets so that we could make a comparison.

The Kobe beef set started with beef sashimi and tataki starters, neither of which seemed to stand out too much (presumably since they used a lower-grade beef for those?), although they certainly weren't bad either. When we finally reached the grilled beef though, things really took off. Actually, the basic (cheaper) beef was already pretty darned tender and tasty, but when we got to the Kobe beef, my face lit up with such a huge smile that I literally started laughing with joy. OH DAMN, that was good! I mean, I'd had wagyu beef before, but this was just pure heaven; I hardly even needed to chew as the little cubes of richness practically melted in my mouth (yeah, it tasted a bit like butter or foie gras). I didn't even bother with any of those dips that they gave, lest they cover up the natural taste of the beef, although those thin garlic chips and gourmet salt did spin it in another nice direction when used moderately. This stuff was so spectacular that you could probably convert a few vegetarians with it.

Without a doubt, this was one of the best meals that I have ever had (Morton's doesn't even stand a chance against this). Sure, it cleared out my wallet in a hurry, but it was worth every single penny. Even if that Kobe beef price blows the budget, give that basic set a shot. I really liked that other grilled beef, and in fact would be praising it quite a bit if that Kobe version didn't provide such a distraction. I'm still salivating at the thought of that stuff. Thumbs up...waayyyy up!


p. said...

man, the way you put it, i've just gotta get there and try it in my lifetime. aha. nice writeup!

Anonymous said...

Great recommendation! Tried the 12,000 Yen set during a recent trip to Japan, and I've got to say that it was by far the best meal I've had in a long long time. The morsels of beef found in the vegetables and fried rice made those 2 dishes turn out much better than I had expected as well. Totally agree with you that this meal beats Mortons hands down! Thanks!