Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Kobe Beef Experience in Japan

After some researching on the Internet, my dad decided to try out Kobe beef at Akasaka Ajitetsu in the Akasaka district in Tokyo. We made a booking over the phone with the manager, Fumitaka Kumashiro, who gave us a warm welcome when we arrived at the restaurant.

The restaurant itself was a lot smaller than I'd expected, with only 3 staff. One being Kumashiro himself, who was also the head chef at the restaurant. As there were only 3 staff in the shop, the service was slightly slow but still very attentive and enthusiastic.

We were introduced this special set menu where we get to try different cuts of Kobe beef using different styles of Japanese cooking to allow us to sample the different texture of the beef. The first style was Kobe Beef Sashimi where top grade Kobe beef was selected, thinly sliced, and served raw. The thought of having raw beef put me off slightly in the beginning, but how often do I get to eat raw Kobe beef in my life? I decided to try it anyway, and I totally love it! There was no fishy/slimy smell/texture I was expecting at all.

'Beef Sashimi' according to the Chef
This was beautiful! The fat literally melts in your tongue with a slightly sweet flavor

The condiments eg finely mashed ginger
The beef sashimi was excellent by itself that I did not need to add any extra flavor to it.

The next style of Kobe beef we were having was the grilling method. The pan was heated on low heat with a piece of fat on top until the fat started to bubble. The staff had helped us grill the beef to ensure that it was cooked to perfection.

Cast iron pan for grilling

Dipping sauce for the grilled beef

Refreshing salad, the toasted sesame gave it a nice crunch.

A thin slice of Kobe beef
I'm ashamed to say that I do not remember which cut the beef was. I actually made notes while I was at the restaurant, but unfortunately I lost my little notebook.

Premium Japanese beer only sold in Japan!

A beautiful piece of top grade Kobe Steak

Sliced into pieces and grilled

Seared on both sides while the center is still pink and juicy

Vegetables ready for grilling

Some lovely warm beef consomme to warm your stomach through the course

Different cuts of Kobe beef, each with different texture and flavor.

Aged beef
The beef was aged to improve its texture and flavor.
They texture of the Kobe beef became extremely soft after aging, perhaps even too soft for my liking.

Our third style of cooking for the Kobe beef was Shabu Shabu. According to the chef, "This is not traditional Shabu Shabu, but an original one", which I'm not exactly sure what the difference was, but it surely was different from the usual Shabu Shabu I was used to.

Paper thin sliced beef for shabu shabu

Add the beansprouts to the soup base

Swirl the beef inside the boiling soup base for 5 seconds, and voila, a perfectly cooked shabu shabu beef! This shabu shabu style was quite interesting for me as the soup base was slightly spicy, yet salty and sweet at the same time, hence adding different dimensions to my taste bud.

The Shabu Shabu was served with a bowl of perfectly cooked Japanese rice, however, you can also enjoy the shabu shabu with some homemade udon.

Sesame ice cream to finish off the night

For me this is probably one of the best dinner I've had. With good company, amazingly tasty beef, friendly restaurant staff, and a good atmosphere in a foreign country, it was definitely one of my most memorable experience!

Kobe Beef Restaurant Akasaka Ajitetsu


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

wow, REAL Kobe beef. I've never had tt. does it taste any different frm wagyu?
my friend insisted she ate kobe beef when we were travelling in japan. for rm200/person, i knew it couldn't be. too many people get duped into thinking any marbled beef is kobe beef...

btw, pls check my latest post. u r on.

Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

Nong Lyn... Extremely jealous now :D

obachan said...

Oh Boy! You just introduced me to a part of Japanese culture I have never experienced. Kobe beef! (I can never say this word withouta sigh.)
Lucky you. And thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed this virtual experience. :)

Jutapha said...

look sooooo good...i always love beef :)

another thing, i updated my blog leaw na ka