June 9, 2017
Six Course Kobe Beef Dinner at Bifteck Kawamura in Tokyo
Since this was my first time in Japan, I really wanted to try a portion of fabled Japanese Kobe beef. Kobe beef is a breed of cattle raised in Japan’s Hyoga prefecture. To be classified as genuine Kobe, each cow must come from the Tajima-gyu lineage and must be raised in Hyoga. Every cut of Kobe beef comes with an identification number that traces back to the exact cow it came from, and every cow’s lineage is profusely documented. The animals are fed the highest quality grains and are slaughtered by certified slaughterer houses to ensure authenticity. There are also strict fat marbling ratios that must be met in order to qualify as Kobe.
What makes Kobe beef so special? It all comes down to fat. Kobe has very high fat marbling, and the fat is distributed insanely evenly throughout the meat. This isn’t the normal tough to cut fat you’ll find on a steak, it’s butter-like soft fat. This makes it especially tender and gives it the ‘melt in your mouth’ experience.
I decided to have my first taste of Kobe beef in Japan at Bifteck Kawamura, Ginza. Bifteck Kawamura is a teppanyaki restaurant, meaning the chefs prepare all the food on a Japanese grill in front of you. The restaurant offers three tiers of beef-Tajima Steak, Kobe Beef Steak, and Award Winning Kobe Beef Steak. Since I viewed this as a sort of once in a lifetime experience, I went with an Award Winning Kobe six course meal.
The first Amuse course consisted of three thinly sliced pieces of Kobe tenderloin in a sugary broth with vegetables. This came in a plastic bag, which the chef boiled on the grill for just a few minutes. The broth and beef tasted incredible.
Next, we had had four assortments of seared Kobe beef. These were presented cold. While they were still good, I generally prefer hot beef over cold beef.
For our third course, we had oxtail soup. I was a little weary of eating soup made of a tail, but I gave it a try and it was absolutely delicious. It was also a surprisingly light soup and was easy on the stomach.
We then received a salad. This tasted just like you’d expect-like a salad!
Finally, we came to the main event. The chef laid out my chosen cut of Kobe beef on the grill and prepared it like an artist. The main course comes with two dipping sauces and a mix of Himalayan salt & black pepper, which you apply according to your taste.
This was the fattiest and most tender piece of meat I’ve eaten. That being said, the fat tasted very different from traditional beef fat and was delicious.
Our last course was a set dessert. Of course all the dessert tasted great, but that melon deserves special recognition. This was the most delicious slice of melon I’ve ever had. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. It was perfectly ripe and full of flavor. Juice started flowing out the moment my spoon touched it.
I’d highly recommend trying Kobe in Japan if you love beef. But beware-the most prized steak in the world is expensive. A full course Kobe dinner at Bifteck Kawamura ranges from about $150-$500 depending on the grade of Kobe beef you want, the cut of the steak, the number of grams, and the optional seafood accompaniment. Alternatively, you can head there for lunch and try the Kobe beef for a bit cheaper. While the Kobe tasted great and was an enjoyable experience, I don’t think it was so drastically better than regular steak as to justify the price premium. It’s one of those things you splurge on for the special experience.
How to Pay
If you’re shelling out this much money for dinner, you want to make sure to maximize those airline miles! The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns an unlimited 3X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining and charges no foreign transaction fees 🙂