Saturday, January 29, 2011

The perfect wagyu steak



Looking for a great steak place to get my wagyu fix just before leaving Tokyo for Narita Airport and on to Manila last week, we ended up at the top of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, at the teppanyaki grill Akasaka.

The best deal in town

Teppanyaki is expensive everywhere, but for lunch in Tokyo, where competition among restaurants is extremely tough, even a first-class restaurant has reasonable lunch sets. (So if you're visiting Japan, make sure you book all those Michelin-starred restaurants at lunch...) We decided to avail of a lunch set serving 150 grams of Japanese sirloin beef with grilled vegetables and garlic rice. There was a cheaper set for 3000 yen that served Australian beef; but as I was already in Tokyo, I decided on the more expensive set that offered real Japanese beef.

The fuss about wagyu

By the way, in case you were wondering what all the fuss about wagyu actually is, wagyu literally means Japanese beef. It's not a brand name for a steak, it's just plain Japanese beef. Any beef you buy in a supermarket in Japan that indicates it's local beef is called wagyu. However, as almost any kind of Japanese beef is tender and superior to our own beef, it's become a brand in itself. Then of course there are steaks being marketed as Australian wagyu or US wagyu -- this just means that it's beef from cows that have been raised in the Japanese style. If you're looking for real branded Japanese beef, on the other hand, these include Kobe, Matsuzaka, Maezawa, Yonezawa, and Omi beef.

This is what you call a steak with a view!

Here's my perfectly cooked sirloin steak...

Perhaps the atmosphere had something to do with it, but we had an excellent and tasty lunch that day. The Akasaka Grill is located on the top floor and it has three teppanyaki counters around which are seats for lunch and dinner. From the restaurant's large windows, too, is a beautiful view of Tokyo, with its skyscrapers and greenery, that is just so relaxing to see. So you get a really great deal of a good meal at a reasonable price (for Tokyo standards, at least) and a lovely view. Few people probably know of this restaurant, as well, because we've usually been able to get a good seat at this restaurant even at last-minute notice.

The lunch itself began with a salad with Japanese dressing, and the meat and grilled vegetables followed. I wanted to have my rice with lunch, however, so I requested the chef to cook the garlic rice early on so that I could have it with my steak instead of with pickles and miso soup as the Japanese usually do.

Steak done to perfection

The result was a steak done to perfection, with heavenly garlic rice to accompany it. And the Akasaka had prepared two kinds of salt and three different kinds of sauces to accompany our steak: a bearnaise sauce, a Japanese ponzu lemon sauce, and a black pepper sauce.

That's the sashimi starter
and the three kinds of steak sauces.

That's our garlic fried rice being cooked...


This has got to be one of the most
relaxing teppanyaki grills in Japan.

And after the meal, I ordered tea with lemon.
Look at what a lovely peeled lemon
they served with my tea!

It was the perfect way to end a stay in Japan!

To reserve a limited seat,
please call Rachel at 813-8400 or email travelife@travelife.biz
Tickets for the dinner and concert cost PhP 1499 per person.


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