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Jul 26, 2006 10:47 PM

Gyu-tataki in SF?

Was just reading another post that mentioned Tanpopo ramen house in Japantown and recalled how years ago -- at least 6+ years ago -- Tanpopo used to offer gyu-tataki that was absolutely decadent. Unfortunately they took it off the menu, and I don't think I've eaten this in San Francisco since, though I haven't explored as many Japanese restaurants as I'd like.

Gyu-tataki is essentially marinated thin slices of raw beef (perhaps imperceptibly seared), served with a dipping sauce. Sometimes appears on menus as "beef sashimi". When it's good, it's phenomenal.
But most Japanese restaurants don't even offer it.

Any hints on where this might be available here?


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  1. Juban Yakiniku might have this as I've seen wagyu beef used in their offerings before for the higher end bbq. The SF location branches is in Japantown, lower level from the bookstore.

    3 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thanks. Just did a search and found their menu on . "Beef tataki" does
      indeed appear on the menu. Could be good. Not sure how
      enticed I am by the "grill it yourself" novelty -- I do that
      at home -- but I'm guessing this doesn't apply to absolutely
      everything on the menu (and certainly not the tataki).

      Is this place good generally too? Sort of a "Japanese steak house" feel I'm guessing?


      1. re: jflesh

        It's basically Korean bbq with fancier ingredients, higher prices, and less after-smell. The downdraft grills they have there are way cool. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything exciting either. I just like taking my Korean friends there because it makes them mad.

        1. re: jflesh

          Umetaro is right. This is essentially Japanese style Korean BBQ, their take on it. Unfortunately Juban seems to be the only known yakiniku restaurant in the Bay Area (much like on the bridge for Japanese style western food, if I am not mistaken).

          In Japan yakiniku has an avid (bordering on rabid) following, and in some cases more fanatical than ramen fans. I remember seeing a Japanese TV show in Taiwan where some game contestant was blindfolded and he did a taste test of yakiniku dipping sauce from various restaurants, and he was able to ID each version correctly. It was wacky fun.

          There might be other Japanese restaurants (non BBQ) that offer gyu/wagyu tattaki, but in most few cases wagyu beef is a seasonal or white board special item (tattaki or nigiri sushi/makimono) and depending on demand may not offer it often.

          Sushi Sam's in San Mateo for the most part offers kobe beef sushi via their white board specials that can be quite good (pricey though at $8 ish if I remember), though I've never confirmed whether the kobe beef is imported from Japan, or if it is really domestic wagyu.

          Juban I think is pretty good, worth trying once if you haven't had Japanese style Korean BBQ before. A shame about the higher price tho in relation to a good meal at say Brothers, Han Il Kwan etc :-/

      2. Although not in SF, Tomi Sushi in Mountain View (or is it Sushi Tomi?) has a pretty decent version when they offer it.

        1. A quick update to my old post: Takara in the Japantown mall does a decent gyu-tataki. Good enough so that I tend to get it everytime I go. The meat has been consistently fresh, blood rare (just a light sear along the edges), and is served with a tastey ponzu sauce.