Shovel Time: Matasaburo
I was thinking Kobe beef might be a better thing to eat in Osaka than Tokyo since Kobe and Osaka are geographically close to each other, though I don’t know if that’s true. It might be like how I assumed there would be good Thai food in Malaysia since those two countries share a border and was sorely disappointed.
I was really tempted to try Steak Misono because it’s the original teppanyaki restaurant a.k.a. The O.G. Benihana. It originated in Kobe but is now a chain, so I thought better of overpaying for something potentially gimmicky and touristy. Also, wagyu sandwiches seem to be all the rage. Well, at least they were a few years ago and now this $180 nonsense is washing up in America. I’m curious but not that curious.
Anyway, I ended up choosing a modern yakiniku style restaurant, partially because its tagline was so irresistible: “The Beef Wonderland.” Also, you could make online reservations, an anomaly in Japan, as long as you could decipher the Google translated text.
You can order a la carte but I didn’t trust myself to pick the optimal cuts (plus, my dining companion isn’t as enamored with tongues and intestines, “horumon” in Japanese, as I am) and I have an awful time mentally converting grams to ounces and an afraid of getting charged like $100 for a petite piece of meat, so I went with a set meal.
The show piece is dry-aged Kuroge wagyu (there is also Tosa-Akaushi, a brown cow from Koshi) which is cooked for you on the charcoal grill. The marbled piece of meat gets tended to periodically, turned, placed closer and farther from the flame, and strategically covered in foil.
I was kind of overwhelmed by the whole meal (and was spatting off and on–no, not about offal). Strangely, the meat was just a fleeting memory. I should have parsed the flavor and savored it more.
Meanwhile, other dishes are presented like wagyu tartare on toast and boiled peanuts, which I had no idea was a Japanese thing. Oh, plus smaller cuts of beef we got to grill ourselves.
The savory portion of the meal is finished with curry rice, which seemed odd as that’s a substantial dish, but was odder when we were warned it was spicy. Nothing in Japan is truly spicy so I mentally called bullshit. It really was spicy, though!
This is the point I would split a dessert if I had to but probably wouldn’t order one at all. They thought I was nuts saying we could share one, so I picked an eclair even though I wanted the sundae I had seen brought to many tables. The dining companion ordered it and turned out to not be a sundae at all. The parfait glass contained a god damn fruit pile (and soft serve). Fruit is not a dessert and there is no such thing as nature’s candy!
Matasaburo * 2 Chome-13-13 Nagai, Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka, Japan