How to eat Wagyu beef yakiniku | Pair the choicest cuts of domestic A5 black wagyu with sake!
As one of the most sought after culinary experiences in Japan, the yakiniku style of barbecue hardly needs any introduction! High-end yakiniku, which includes world-renowned brands of premium wagyu beef, is a true meat lover’s dream. In this article, we visit Ushigoro Kan to savor a course of yakiniku featuring grade A5 domestic black wagyu paired with nihonshu (sake) – the pinnacle of luxury.
Table of Contents
- 1 Appetizer with SAKE
- 2 Aburi style Wagyu Sushi
- 3 Grilled Shabu-Tangue
- 4 Chateau Briand
- 5 Today’s Stewed＆Salad
- 6 Thick-cut Outside Skirt ~ Uchihira inner thigh ~ Kuri-Shoulder Cold
- 7 A quick break with white kimchi
- 8 Prime Misuji〜Rib Eye Roll〜Rump
- 9 Kelp Soup with Tongue Balls and Japanese Parsley Mitsuba
- 10 Special Chuk Flap SUKIYAKI
- 11 USHIGORO Kan curry and rice
- 12 Dessert
Appetizer with SAKE
For this article, our editors selected the Kiwami Course served at Ushigoro Kan, one of Tokyo’s most renowned venues for premium yakiniku, which is located near JR Gotanda Station. We enjoyed a magnificent meal expertly paired with sake.
The seating is on the sophisticated side. Smokeless roasters are used, so you needn’t worry about your clothing picking up excessively smoky smells. Don your apron, and stand by for an amazing meal to come!
At Ushigoro Kan, the prevailing style is to start from reishu (chilled sake). We chose Isopokamui, a newly-released junmai (sake made only from rice, koji, and water) from Aramasa. We learned that this is a limited label, only available in winter. The serving staff at Ushigoro Kan will gladly assist with selecting sake to pair with the menu.
The sake is brought in one gou (180 milliliter) servings, in lipped carafes known as katakuchi. Serve into your glasses and enjoy.
The first dish of the course is a selection of three appetizers. From left to right are horenso (spinach), moyashi (bean sprout), and kikurage (cloud ear mushroom) namul (a Korean style of vegetable preparation).
Aburi style Wagyu Sushi
The beef makes its entrance in the form of aburi nigiri (seared nigiri sushi). This masterfully delicious starter makes use of a cut of black wagyu known as kurashita.
The sushi is topped with oroshi ponzu (grated daikon radish with citrusy ponzu sauce). Enjoy in a single bite, savoring the elegant sweetness as the fat gently melts away in your mouth.
The next dish is served: Yaki Shabu Tan (Tongue), a generous portion of thickly-cut beef tongue. Each piece includes the three components of tan-saki (tongue tip), tan-naka (mid tongue), and tan-moto (tongue base), allowing you to compare the texture of each.
It’s recommended to let your server cook the yaki shabu tan for you. First, your server will fold the slice of meat in thirds, and transfer it to the roaster.
Next, the meat is unfolded. Your server will pass the tip of the tongs beneath the slice to ensure that it does not stick to the metal grill.
Once juice begins to appear on the surface, it’s time to flip. Your server will first fold the meat into three, flip it over, and then…
Once again, unfold the slice. This wagyu tongue is so tender that it may tear if not gently folded before flipping.
Once both sides are cooked, the meat is again folded into thirds, then transferred to the serving plate.
Once again unfold the meat, season with shio-kombu (salted kelp), and enjoy.
Finally, fold the tongue back into a bite-sized package, and pop it in your mouth! Close your eyes and appreciate the variation of textures.
Next is grade A5 black wagyu chateaubriand! Each head of cattle produces only about 600 grams of this highly-sought cut of filet. The serving staff will also assist to cook this piece.
The chateaubriand is cooked on the center of the roaster, to avoid excessively high temperatures.
Once the color begins to change about three millimeters up, it’s time to turn.
It’s best if the grill marks are not too strong. This degree of doneness is the mark of a true professional.
After cooking both sides, serve. The chateaubriand is lightly seasoned with salt and pepper prior to cooking. Try the first bite just as it comes.
Next, put a little moshio (salt traditionally harvested from the surface of drying seaweed) on the edge of your plate. Dip just a tiny bit, and enjoy the salty accent, which brings out the true sweetness of the beef.
Let’s take a short intermission from these wagyu masterpieces. This stew of harami suji (outside skirt tendon) features a pleasant fattiness, matched perfectly with spring onion.
After enjoying the stew, cleanse your palate with a light choregi (Korean-style geotjeori unfermented kimchi) salad, garnished with nori seaweed.
Thick-cut Outside Skirt ~ Uchihira inner thigh ~ Kuri-Shoulder Cold
The second round of grade A5 black wagyu begins. From the right, the serving includes thickly-cut harami (outside skirt), kuri (shoulder clod), and uchihira (inner thigh). Harami is a diaphragm cut, kuri comes from the upper foreleg, and uchihira is from the thigh of the rear leg. All are best simply seasoned with salt and pepper, with no need for any sauce.
It’s time for another gou of sake. Our server has recommended Nabeshima junmai daiginjo (sake made only of highly-milled rice, koji, and water) from Saga prefecture. Its slight sparkling characteristic accentuates a bountiful bouquet. It is served in a wide-mouthed choko (small sake cup).
Let’s go ahead to enjoy this wagyu and sake pairing.
Let’s start with the thickly-cut harami. Cook it near the fire, on the hottest part of the grill to get a good sear.
The technique is to sear the harami to about this stage, which seals in the juices. Savor the bold, beefy red meat flavor.
For the kuri, instead use the middle of the roaster, avoiding excessive heat as you lightly cook both sides until faint grill marks are visible.
This is a dream come true for lovers of tender, juicy red meat.
Last is the uchihira, which is thinly sliced.
Like with the thinly-sliced tongue before, fold this tender piece in half before transferring to the grill, and unfolding.
As soon as you see juices on the surface, it’s time to flip. Be mindful not to overcook!
After both sides are cooked, fold in half and transfer to the serving plate. Add yuzu kosho (a condiment of yuzu citrus peel and chili) to your taste, and savor the succulent fat of this cut.
A quick break with white kimchi
Let’s take a quick break with white kimchi, which will help to counteract any lingering fat from the uchimomo. This is also the perfect timing to ask your server to replace the grill. Just ask for a “change” of grills at any time, free of charge.
Prime Misuji〜Rib Eye Roll〜Rump
The third round of grade A5 black wagyu is served. From the right, this serving includes rib shin (ribeye), ran ichi (rump and rump cap), and gokujo misuji (prime oyster blade). Rib shin is located in the middle of the rib loin, near the sirloin. (In this case, “shin” means “center” or “core” in Japanese.) Ran ichi combines ranpu (rump) and ichibo (rump cap or picanha) spanning the rear thigh and rump. Misuji comes from behind the shoulder blade of the front legs. These are all dipped in tare (sauce) just before enjoying.
The next sake is introduced: Hanamura junmai ginjo from Akita prefecture. A junmai ginjo is made only from rice, koji, and water, with no added alcohol, and the rice must be milled down to at most 60% of its original volume. Hanamura is notable for its fruity fragrance, which plays well with the rich meat and flavorful sauce.
Let’s start with the rib shin. Cook both sides rather long until well seared. You’ll see fat start to seep out from the marbling.
Dip in the sauce and enjoy. The slightly sweet, soy-based sauce is the perfect counterpoint to the juicy fat.
Next is the ran ichi. This is a red meat cut, so be mindful that overcooking will cause it to become dry and tough!
Cook both sides gently on the middle of the grill to seal in the juices. This cut is also best dipped in sauce. The perfectly tender texture will captivate your senses!
Fold the gokujo misuji in half before transferring it to the roaster.
Don’t forget to pass the tongs under the meat, loosening to prevent burning onto the grill!
Once you see fat beading on the surface, it’s time to turn.
First fold in half, then slide the meat to the side of the grill…
Now turn over and unfold the meat! It’s ready to enjoy just moments after turning.
We’ve heard that gokujo misuji is very popular with tourists from overseas!
Kelp Soup with Tongue Balls and Japanese Parsley Mitsuba
After savoring the exquisite fat of the gokujo misuji, cleanse the palate with a bowl of kombu dashi (kelp broth). The hint of yuzu citrus fragrance is superb!
Special Chuk Flap SUKIYAKI
The course comes to a powerful finish with tokusen zabuton no sukiyaki. Zabuton is a specially-selected, particularly well-marbled portion of the chuck eye. It is accompanied by a small serving of rice and an egg yolk, to be enjoyed in sukiyaki style.
The zabuton should also be folded into three before transferring to the roaster, and gently unfurled. The serving staff will cook this piece for you.
When turning, the meat is folded into thirds and once again unfolded.
After lightly searing both sides, the slice is folded into thirds and served.
You are now ready to enjoy this specially selected cut in sukiyaki style. From left to right: zabuton, rice, egg yolk, and soy-based sauce.
A tip is to divide the rice in half, and transfer half to another plate for later.
After beating the egg yolk, dip the cooked zabuton into the soy-based sauce.
Dip into the egg yolk until plenty of yolk clings to the meat.
Top the rice with your slice of wagyu, and enjoy this magnificent morsel of sukiyaki in a single bite!
But wait, this dish is not over yet. Add dipping sauce, which has absorbed wagyu fat, to your remaining egg yolk. Now, pour it over the remaining half of the rice that we put aside earlier.
This is perhaps the ultimate tamago kake gohan, a Japanese comfort food of seasoned raw egg on rice. Savor the rich depth of flavor of these brand eggs, specially sourced from Tokushima prefecture. And, don’t be shy about asking for another helping of rice.
USHIGORO Kan curry and rice
After savoring the premium sukiyaki dish, the true shime (finishing dish) makes its appearance. Ushigoro Kan is also renowned for its delicious beef curry. This dish is served topped with simmered daikon radish. You can also purchase Ushigoro Kan Curry online.
Dessert is a hand-baked monaka wafer with ice cream. Today’s ice cream flavor was hojicha (roasted green tea). Take your time to enjoy this sweet treat as you reflect upon the evening’s magnificent black wagyu experience.
Ushigoro Kan always has a selection of renowned sake labels available. Let the serving staff know your preferences, and ask them for seasonal recommendations.
What did you think about Ushigoro Kan’s style of serving a premium yakiniku course menu? It’s also quite reasonably priced for a chance to experience domestic grade A5 black wagyu. When you visit Tokyo, please try it!
* The published information is current as of February 2023. Prices and other details are subject to change.
Savor premium domestic grade A5 black wagyu paired with specially-selected sake in this new serving style developed by renowned restaurant Yakiniku Ushigoro, located in Nishi Azabu, Tokyo. Both courses and a la carte ordering are available. This is also a popular spot for nihonshu (sake) aficionados from around the world. In Tokyo, Ushigoro Kan also has locations in Ebisu and Gotanda.