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Best steak in Tokyo?

j
j_and_s May 10, 2008 02:22 AM

My wife and I are traveling in Japan; after a week in Tokyo, we're headed down to Kyushu and will be back in Tokyo in about a week. We've been using some of your suggestions and loving them. The one thing we haven't been able to figure out is the best place to have a blow-out steak in Tokyo--we're willing to pay top-dollar, but we don't want to feel ripped off. We took a look at New York Grill and we're suspicious; it seemed to have tourist trap written all over it (empty at 7:30pm on a weeknight, great views, insane prices), and we're afraid we'd be disappointed with it. We want excellent wagyu beef (Kobe or otherwise), prepared perfectly, but we don't need frills like New York Grill's view or anything. Zagat suggests a chain called Jumbo, but that sounds a little weird to us. We'd appreciate any suggestions/guidance you can offer, a.s.a.p. Thanks!

  1. FourSeasons May 10, 2008 07:48 AM

    If you are willing to pay top-dollar, this place Aragawa at Shinbashi is ranked as one of the most expensive restaurants in the world by Forbes magazine. It is a steak kaiseki house, minimum budget Yen 40k per person. I personally have not tried it, and I don't think it has been reviewed in Chowhound before. If you do go there, will appreciate if you would post a review here.

    For personal experience, I have been to a Japanese steak house called Makoto at Nihonbashi. One problem there is there is no English menu and there is nobody there that speaks English (at least 2 years ago). And it is in a very narrow alley where even the taxi driver has a hard time finding it too. Minimum ambience, very good steak but not much else (but that may be due to communication problem). Budget around Yen 10k per person, if I recall correctly.

    I have tried very good steak at three other places but they are not pure steak houses. One is in Ryugin and the other at Ariona de Takazawa; both are more like modern contemporary Japanese fusion food, serving tasting menu with 6-9 items where the steak is usually served at the end. Both are reviewed here before, so you can just type on the search function above. The third one is Maimon, more of an oysters+yakitori place, very modern and stylish, very good for dating spot and the steak there is pretty good too. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g398512/

    1 Reply
    1. re: FourSeasons
      FourSeasons May 10, 2008 07:58 AM

      Oh, I forgot to add one more. This place called Dons de la Nature at Ginza has been on my radar screen but have never been there before too. Minimum order is 400 grams so it is big portion. Again, if you do go there, please post a review here as it has never been reviewed in Chowhound.

      http://www.dons-nature.jp/3.html

    2. e
      exPat727 May 10, 2008 11:32 PM

      JUMBO is actually a great yakiniku place (http://www.y-jumbo.com), not really a steak house. they have graded cuts of meat and sometimes run out of the better cuts very early; also reservations are recommended. unfortunately there are no english menus (menus have some pics) and the staff only speaks a little bit - to get the best experience (and the best cuts) i definitely suggest going with someone who reads/speaks japanese.

      1 Reply
      1. re: exPat727
        vbabe May 12, 2008 01:29 PM

        In our experience, there are two wait staff there that seem to communicate in English reasonably well, but don't worry, just tell them "omakase" and you'll be well take care of :-)

      2. Robb S May 11, 2008 12:52 AM

        Oak Door has excellent steaks, but their wine is really a rip-off, and service isn't that great.

        Beacon (http://www.tyharborbrewing.co.jp/rest... ) is good value for money; it's mostly US beef but they have some wagyu cuts. Service can be spotty, but it's generally a good experience, and they have a nice wine list.

        1. vbabe May 12, 2008 01:27 PM

          Jumbo is AMAZING :-) I know, I know, we were equally suspicious when we first heard the name but we went upon the rec of a local Japanese friend, and since then, we go there at least once (sometimes even twice, haha) every time we are in Tokyo. We've even brought other local Japanese friends there and they have all raved about it. The beef there is just plain amazing, but you have to order the omakase, or else you will not get the good cuts which are not on the menu (that is unless you can read the japanese writing on the chalkboard by the entrance which lists the special cuts of the day)

          Jumbo, however, is not steak, but yakiniku, literally grilled meat, but is actually a variety of Japanese style Korean grilled meat. The same meat supplier to Jumbo also owns a steakhouse though, but we have not yet tried it, think it's called Mizawa... oh, and don't miss the Hokkaido soft cream for dessert :-)

          1. a
            Asomaniac May 12, 2008 06:50 PM

            DONS DE LA NATURE is easily the best steak house I have been to in Tokyo, and I have been to very many as I am totally in love with Japanese beef and live in Tokyo long term. There are not enough superlatives to describe the meat. It is expensive, but I think you get your money's worth because you will not forget the steaks, ever! At the beginning of the meal, the waiter comes to your table and shows you three pieces of meat of maybe 6 pounds each (two sirloins and one fillet, the fillet and one of the sirloins comes from the same cow, the other sirloin is from a different region). You pick your steak and tell him how big a piece you want. The minimum amount you can select is slightly less than a pound, so many people just share one steak, although I would strongly recommend you take the minimum amount of one of the sirloins and the fillet, and share both as the different taste sensations are fantastic. I can't recommed the place highly enough.

            BTW, the New York Bar & Grill you mention is not bad. Given the amount of amazing steak places in Tokyo, I would not necessarily pick it for steak, but the quality of the beef you get there is actually extremely good.

            30 Replies
            1. re: Asomaniac
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              exilekiss May 12, 2008 07:55 PM

              Hi Asomaniac,

              Thanks for the recommendation! :) If I may ask, what cuts of beef does Dons De La Nature usually carry? Matsuzawa? Kobe?

              Thanks~

              1. re: exilekiss
                a
                Asomaniac May 13, 2008 02:43 AM

                Exilekiss,

                They are using kuroge-wagyu. Beef from Kagoshima, Matsuzaka and Kobe are all classified as such, so they might use beef from any of those, whichever they feel is appropriate at the time.

                All this talk of beef has made me incredibly hungry. I am now going to call the restaurant to see if I can get a place for tonight. And will need to pursuade my wife that she wants steak. Good thing about Dons de la Nature: tends to be very easy to book, despite the Michelin star.

                1. re: Asomaniac
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                  exilekiss May 13, 2008 07:23 AM

                  Thanks Asomaniac. :)

                  I'll definitely have to try this place on my next visit. Last question:

                  * Do you know (or do they tell you) the Grade of the Kuroge Wagyu you're getting? (e.g., true "A5" Max Rating, etc.)

                  I know most restaurants don't tell (or the servers don't know), but some restaurants in Japan pride themselves on being able to serve A5-rated Wagyu.

                  (And on a side note: Have you tried A5 Wagyu, and still think Dons is better? :)

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: exilekiss
                    FourSeasons May 13, 2008 07:28 AM

                    Hi exilekiss:

                    can you tell us the name of the restaurants in Japan that serve A5-rated Wagyu?

                    1. re: FourSeasons
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                      exilekiss May 13, 2008 07:48 AM

                      Hi FourSeasons,

                      I don't know of any that are well-reviewed. :( That's why I was asking. When I first found out about A5-rated Wagyu last year, I was so excited and wanted to try some places on my last Japan Trip, but never got to (but I had Ryugin, Mizutani, excellent Ramen at Menya Kissou, etc. (^_~)). But here are some links to A5-rated Wagyu and some random Yahoo Japan results:

                      Info:
                      http://www.globalchefs.com/article/current/art143jap.htm
                      http://www.rakuten.ne.jp/gold/hayato/categorypage15_special.html

                      Some random search results:
                      * Gyuzantei
                      http://www.gyuzantei.com/

                      * This place is in Akihabara and got average reviews (2) so far on Tabelog:
                      http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a671701/

                      * Shichirinya (Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
                      )This place comes up, but seems kind of touristy?
                      http://www.hotpepper.jp/A_20100/strJ0...

                      Definitely curious if anyone's tried A5 Wagyu and if it's worth it. :)

                      Let me know if you try any FourSeasons. Doumo! (^_^)

                    2. re: exilekiss
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                      Asomaniac May 13, 2008 06:08 PM

                      Hi exilekiss

                      I am afraid I have to plead ignorance: I don't know what grade the beef was, and I don't know whether I have ever eaten A5 wagyu.

                      As to your second question, the steaks at Dons de la Nature were not only the best I have ever had in Tokyo, but probably also anywhere, I guess that if I have eaten A5 wagyu before, Dons was better (assuming Dons itself is not A5)..! Having said that, many years ago I had a perversely good steak in Osaka, possibly better than at Dons, but I just don't remember the name of the restaurant.

                      1. re: exilekiss
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                        dachowmonkey Jul 27, 2008 07:58 PM

                        Hi exilekiss,

                        First, thank you so much for so many of your posts regarding Japanese restaurants. My girlfriend and I were in Japan in May and we had an opportunity to track down Menya Kissou for lunch after an early sushi breakfast in Tskiji Market. Definitely the best ramen on the planet. Your comments were spot on.

                        Turning to steakhouses, we had an opportunity to sample incredible cuts of Wagyu beef at Gekkou Kamen Steakhouse in Osaka. It was an amazing experience and the price of the meal was quite reasonable (10000 yen per person). Sadly, having tasted a small piece of heaven makes it very difficult to ever go back to western style steaks.

                        In case anyone wants to see A4 and A5 cuts, the following link goes to a useful comparison table, compliments of a great meat store in Vancouver, Canada: http://www.nikuya.ca/products/our_vie...

                        Cheers.

                        1. re: dachowmonkey
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                          exilekiss Jul 28, 2008 07:57 PM

                          Hi dachowmonkey,

                          Glad you were able to try the *amazing* Ramen at Menya Kissou! I'm drooling just thinking about it; and really sad that So Cal's Ramen scene is absolutely pathetic compared to even average places in Tokyo. :(

                          Thank you for the info on Gekkou Kamen Steakhouse. Do you happen to have an address or URL?

                          1. re: exilekiss
                            a
                            abizarvakharia Sep 19, 2011 02:01 AM

                            Just wanted to thank y'all for the recommendation on Menya Kissou. I was able to go this afternoon for lunch and it was nothing short of AMAZING! The establishment opened at 11:30AM. I arrrived at 11:45AM and had a ~30 minute wait. The menu was in Japanese only and so I simply requested Ramen. What I got was incredible! Soba noodles with tender pork chunk/slices, seaweed and mushrooms (i think.) The broth was INCREDIBLE, the noodles the best I have ever had.

                  2. re: Asomaniac
                    l
                    lost squirrel May 12, 2008 08:13 PM

                    Yikes, I just checked the prices and you're right. It is expensive!
                    http://dons-nature.jp/3.html

                    Perhaps next time bonuses come around!

                    1. re: Asomaniac
                      FourSeasons May 12, 2008 08:24 PM

                      Hi Asomaniac:

                      I think you are the luckiest person. You are always a few steps ahead to try the restaurants that are on my radar screen. Thanks for the review; I think I would definitely visit Dons on my next trip.

                      But just 2 more questions: which region did Dons select their beef? How do you compare the steak of Dons vs the ones you tried at Ryugin and Takazawa?

                      1. re: FourSeasons
                        a
                        Asomaniac May 13, 2008 02:38 AM

                        FourSeasons,

                        They do not limit themselves to one particular kind of beef, it can be any of Kagoshima, Matsuzaka or Kobe.

                        How do those steaks compare to those at Ryugin and Aronia? They were a lot better than at Aronia. They are harder to compare to the steak at Ryugin, because it is to an extent a little like comparing apples and oranges as the method of preparation at Ryugin (vacuum etc) is so different. However, ignoring that, if I comment purely on my eating pleasure, I would have to say I preferred Dons de la Nature (while I also loved the Ryugin steak).

                        I also liked the starters - very good fish starters, which with a half bottle of Corton-Charlemagne were absolutely divine. Then a half bottle of some wonderful Bordeaux with the steaks, and complete bliss is guaranteed. Do bear in mind though that it is very expensive. I am normally quite relaxed about prices as a great meal is worth paying a bit extra, but paying that much money for a piece of meat even made me flinch.

                        1. re: Asomaniac
                          FourSeasons May 13, 2008 05:03 AM

                          You must be a wine lover, all your food reviews came with pairing of the wine as well.

                          We have before talked about Ryugin, Aronia, Aso, Koju and now Dons. Any new discovery of a "must go" place recently?

                          1. re: FourSeasons
                            a
                            Asomaniac May 13, 2008 06:33 PM

                            Hi Fourseasons,

                            Yes, I am - sadly for my bank balance - quite wine-obsessed. Over the course of the last two years, wine has actually overtaken food in terms of importance and I often pick a restaurant based on the wine list rather than the food. I am hoping that red wine really does have the health benefits you sometimes read about, otherwise things are not looking good for my liver. It does not help that my wife is the same (and happens to be an expert on wine regions I am less familiar with, so we complement each other).

                            Recent must-gos? Not a lot, partially because I have been a little lazy, opting to re-visit places I knew rather than exploring the way I should. If you are around in winter, I recommend Cogito, which does incredible venison freshly shot by the owner-chef on his trips to Hokkaido. They also have one of the best, if not the best, Burgundy wine list in Tokyo. The atmosphere is wonderful as well, and you can take your port downstairs in the wine cellar after dinner (or have a cigar; the sitting room sporting some very old sofas (seating for a maximum of 4 people) is separated from the wines by a glass wall, so you are in the midst of the wines but do not distrub them with your fumes).

                            There is also - considerably less high brow, but great, great fun - a pork restaurant serving everything pig-related. Literally absolutely everything, including some incredibly unusual stuff. I'll need to check their meishi for the name. In this context, I also very much recommend this book: "Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them" by Peter Kaminsky.

                            1. re: Asomaniac
                              HKTraveler May 14, 2008 09:35 AM

                              Asomaniac> how would Dons stack up against Gorio or Aragawa? would be interested in your thoughts since would like to try the best next time I am there.

                              If you like wine, one place that I quite enjoy is Les Vinum in Nishi Azabu. It is cozy and quite a romantic place to visit with the wife!

                              1. re: HKTraveler
                                a
                                Asomaniac May 14, 2008 06:28 PM

                                HK Traveller,

                                Gorio I would also rate very highly, I think on balance I still preferred Dons, but that may very well be personal preference rather than a differenc in quality. The steaks taste different, they store and treat them very differently at Dons in the weeks before they get served.

                                I have not been to Aragawa. I live in hope that given Gorio is the sister restaurant, the meat won't be all that different. To be honest however, I have not checked to see if they use a different type of wagyu - schoolboy error, I know, but the price tag of Aragawa has put me off sufficiently to not be that interested. As mentioned elsewhere, I am more than happy to spend top dollar on exceptional food that is worth it, but I don't like to pay over the odds. If a restaurant that just serves steak consistently comes top in the world in the most expensive category, I hesitate a bit... No doubt curiosity will get the better of me sometime this year, but so far I have managed to resist.

                                Les Vinum - thanks for the tip. I have not been yet and will definitely go very soon. I just checked it out on the internet, and it sounds great.

                                If you are into wine, in Nishi Azabu I would also recommed Elevage, a rare wine place. It only has two tables and a counter, but the wines are divine. It is run by a man who used to run or co-run the imperial wine cellars. He is particularly strong on Burgundy, but also does some real gems by the glass, like top notch 1970s German Rieling (the sweetness is gone, burned tyre is storng and it is a fantastic taste sensation), 1960s Chateau d'Yquem or the occasional 1945 or 1961 Bordeaux.

                                1. re: Asomaniac
                                  HKTraveler May 14, 2008 09:56 PM

                                  I actually did the same thing. Went to Gorio since it is the "cheaper" cousin of Aragawa. I really enjoyed it though I am not sure it is worth the price given there are many great steak places that are much cheaper. Some friends of mine raved about Aragawa though and that's why I am trying to go to one good steak place the next time I am in Tokyo. Still looks like a toss up between Aragawa and Dons.

                                  Thanks for the tip. Elevage sounds fantastic! Am a big fan of Burgundy and German Riesling. Looks like they have lots of treasures there. Is the price off the charts as well?

                                  1. re: HKTraveler
                                    a
                                    Asomaniac May 14, 2008 10:04 PM

                                    The prices are not low, but they are not excessive for Japan, and there is no premium for the fact that they have certain bottles you would not be likely to find elsewhere (esp. if you take a look at the vintages).

                                    One thing that is excellent and makes it "cheaper" in a way is the fact that page 1 of the menu consists of by-the-glass wines which should not be served by the glass anywhere. The pricing is that the owner simply divides the bottle price by the number of glasses you get out of the bottle, so there is no mark-up for the glass. This is pretty generous if we are talking about an 800 dollar bottle of wine, and he has no guarantee that the rest will be drunk while the wine is still in its prime state. If you know the owner a bit, he even lets you pick a bottle or two to open, and then you are free to just have a glass, and the wine becomes the next by-the-glass wine on the menu.

                                    1. re: Asomaniac
                                      a
                                      Asomaniac May 15, 2008 12:14 AM

                                      HK Traveller,

                                      I have just booked Les Vinum for tonight. Very curious, thanks for the tip.

                                      1. re: Asomaniac
                                        a
                                        Asomaniac May 15, 2008 07:57 AM

                                        HK Traveller,

                                        I absolutely LOVED Les Vinum tonight, thank you for the tip. Will write a review when I am sober.

                                  2. re: Asomaniac
                                    e
                                    exilekiss May 15, 2008 07:08 AM

                                    Hi Asomaniac,

                                    Just out of curiosity, how expensive is Aragawa, and do you have an address or URL link?

                                    Thanks~

                                    1. re: exilekiss
                                      a
                                      Asomaniac May 15, 2008 07:58 AM

                                      exilekiss,

                                      I am afraid not, I just got my information from the Michelin guide and whatever information I googled. Put me off enough price-wise not to explore further.

                                      1. re: exilekiss
                                        FourSeasons May 15, 2008 09:10 AM

                                        Hi exilekiss:

                                        Michelin guide wrote the budget for Aragawa is from Yen 40k to 80k per person.

                                        Forbes magazine ranked it as one of the most expensive restaurants in the world :

                                        http://www.forbes.com/forbeslife/trav...

                                        1. re: FourSeasons
                                          a
                                          Asomaniac May 15, 2008 09:18 AM

                                          And I would add to that that it means it will probably be even more expensive if you have a proper meal there, at least if you indulge a bit. I end up spending 50% or more, often over double, than a guide says an average meal will cost. If you go for a decent amount of food and not just the minimum, often the guides should only be viewed as indicating the low end, expense-wise.

                                          1. re: Asomaniac
                                            skylineR33 May 15, 2008 01:07 PM

                                            Hello, here is a video regarding Aragawa, I heard it is $265 for 8 oz of fillet or sirloin. Enjoy !

                                            What Aragawa use is sanda beef which is a famous branch of kobe beef (from my understanding). Have not tried it. However, I have tried some A5 Wagyu and Real Kobe Beef in Japan, the kobe beef is almost double the price of the A5. The kobe beef is melt in the mouth without excessive fat as I have the tenderloin part of it, where as the A5 I had is the sirloin part which is full of fat marbling, cannot take more than a few pieces for me.

                                            Some teppanyaki restaurants actually use A4 as it is not as fatty.

                                            http://www.cctv.com/english/20061228/...

                                            1. re: skylineR33
                                              e
                                              exilekiss May 16, 2008 10:12 PM

                                              Hi skylineR33,

                                              Thanks for your info! :) So is there a such thing as "A5 grade Kobe"?

                                              1. re: exilekiss
                                                skylineR33 May 19, 2008 07:30 AM

                                                Yes, Kobe beef is just one kind of Wagyu beef. There are many different kind of wagyu beef, when beef is from some less well-known prefecture, the restaurant usually use the general word Wagyu.

                                              2. re: skylineR33
                                                n
                                                Negaduck Aug 22, 2008 04:11 PM

                                                That's about the same price Guy Savoy was offering for A5 Kobe when I was in Vegas a couple weeks ago.
                                                Anyone know cheaper alternatives in Japan where I can get A5 Kobe/Yonezawa/Matsusaka Wagyu?

                                              3. re: Asomaniac
                                                p
                                                prasantrin May 17, 2008 02:08 AM

                                                Some acquaintances from another board dined at Aragawa last December. One of them wrote about it on their blog http://www.alifewortheating.com/tokyo... . They weren't impressed with the experience (though the food was fine). No mention of prices, though you could always ask!

                                              4. re: FourSeasons
                                                e
                                                exilekiss May 16, 2008 10:11 PM

                                                Hi FourSeasons and Asomaniac,

                                                Wow! (O_O) 40k - 80k per person?! Yikes. That just seems ridiculous. Thanks for the info.

                              2. Peech May 18, 2008 09:37 PM

                                While I have not been to Aragawa, I was dissuaded from going by my foodie friends, as no one felt that the price was justified - and none of us have budget constraints when it comes to good food.

                                Instead I went to Ukai-tei in Ginza on my last visit, and really enjoyed it. The experience was so different from the run-of-the-mill teppanyaki places. I thought they really put a lot of heart into their food. Here is my review: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Peech
                                  a
                                  Asomaniac May 19, 2008 12:13 AM

                                  If you liked Ukai-tei, consider Morimoto next time. I think the beef is probably a bit better at Ukai-tei (though it is still very good at Morimoto), but the originality of Morimoto's dishes is hard to beat for a teppan yaki restaurant, and less conventional teppan yaki meats (chicken, pork) there are unbelievable, as is the lobster. You will also like the sashimi-foie gras combo or the turtle chawan-mushi. Finally, you get incredible value for money.

                                  1. re: Asomaniac
                                    e
                                    exilekiss May 19, 2008 07:03 AM

                                    Hey Asomaniac,

                                    Do you have an Address or URL for Morimoto? Thanks!

                                  2. re: Peech
                                    a
                                    Asomaniac May 19, 2008 12:32 AM

                                    Peech,

                                    Just had a look at your website - very entertainingly written stuff, I'll read all your reviews. Makes me wish I wasn't so lazy and set up a Tokyo restaurant blog.

                                  3. a
                                    amrx Aug 24, 2008 06:09 PM

                                    This has been a terrific thread. The discussion of Grade 5 beef got me to check on a teppanyaki restaurant whose site I found previously but have never visited. I'm contemplating doing so on a trip to Tokyo this Fall. The restaurant is Hanezu. Its website (in Japanese which I can't handle) is
                                    http://www.hanezu.jp/
                                    The price for Grade 5 is vastly higher but appears to be in line with prices mentioned in this thread. Any information or comments are appreciated.
                                    I

                                    1. FourSeasons Oct 17, 2008 10:26 PM

                                      Hi Asomaniac:

                                      I will be going to Tokyo again on November. My brother is going to join me on this trip; he loves Japanese beef. I want to bring him to either Dons or Morimoto, so will appreciate your comparison for both places based on your experience. I was a bit underwhelmed by my experience at another Japanese steak house Makoto, where the highlight was a very tender delicious steak, but that was it. My personal friend who went to Dons spoke of the same experience in Dons, where he thought there was no other dish to accompany the steak. So I am thinking of Morimoto as the other alternative.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: FourSeasons
                                        a
                                        Asomaniac Oct 19, 2008 09:19 PM

                                        FourSeasons,

                                        Morimoto and Dons de la Nature are very different animals.

                                        Morimoto is a teppan yaki place with a large menu (both set menus and a la carte) that features unusual starters (containing fish, shellfish, meat and vegetarian dishes), a very good lobster, great chicken and pork (pretty unusual for a teppan yaki place; you don't exactly tend to go there for pork or chicken) and of course beef steak. Value for money wise it is excellent, 10 courses or so for 12,000 Yen, including a very generous amount of lobster. However, steak-wise it is just a normal teppan yaki place, the beef is not outstanding (it is good of course, and they have several grades of beef, depending what you are willing to pay, but it is by no means in any way better than at other good teppan yaki places, and you will find plenty of teppan yaki restaurants where the beef is better).

                                        Dons de la Nature has unforgettable, incredible steaks that really, really stand out. But they do not have a big menu and the focus is very much on the steak. They do have some really excellent seafood starters (the scallop sashimi was particularly great), and on my first visit, we enjoyed sharing a few such starters with a half bottle of white wine, before moving on to the steak with some very good red wine (their red wine list is excellent). But it ended up just being too much; if there is two of you and you share the smallest steaks they have (i.e., 400 grams per steak, sharing one fillet and one sirloin), then the fat from the sirloin alone is enugh to fill you up. We neeeded some serious liquor afterwards to cut hrough the fat. Ever since that first time at Dons de la Nature, I have always limited myself to just the steak with some grilled vegetables and potato, plus red wine or beer, and it has always been more than enough.

                                        So in a nutshell, if you are just going for excellent beef, go to Dons de la Nature. If you are going for variety with some good beef, go for Morimoto.

                                      2. o
                                        olivierb Nov 4, 2010 01:18 PM

                                        As this thread is one of the reasons I went to Dons de la Nature last April, I thought I would post my review here. So here it goes:

                                        As I could not manage getting a reservation for Kawamura, that I discovered through a fantastic post on Gastroville (which may very well be my favorite food-blog out there), I was wondering whether I should go to the illustrious Aragawa, or the less famous Dons de la Nature. After checking a few websites, I settled with the latter. What a great idea that was!

                                        Dons de la Nature is located in Ginza. In spite of a good reputation in Japan, as I deduced from the tabelog ratings, and a Michelin star, the place was two-thirds empty the night we went. Its interior is simple, almost bland looking, and reminds of a very standard high-end French place.

                                        Dons de la Nature is a steak place, and in this regard, choice is quite simple. Three types of meat are offered, and brought to the table, so that one can have a look before chosing. Two sirloin cuts, a “fat” one and a “medium-fat” one, and a fillet. That day, this beef came from a Kagoshima cattle, but the chef selects his meat in function of what’s the best he can get. Just have a look at the photos, and you’ll see that even the less fatty cut of meat is still very marbled by our Western standards.

                                        Once the cut chosen, all that’s left to do is determine the thickness of the steak, knowing that a minimum of 400g is required, so as to get an optimal cooking. As we were only a couple, our waiter told us that sharing a 400g steak would be enough.
                                        Theoretically, the desired degree of doneness should be specified too. That said, as I just told that I wanted my beef rare, I asked our waiter if the chef had a recommendation. And indeed, we were told that a medium-rare cooking would be preferred, as it could allow the intramuscular fat to melt evenly.

                                        I will not comment much on our starters and desserts, really simple salads of vegetables and fruits, respectively that were good, prepared with fresh ingredients but not exceptional in any way.

                                        I was way more excited when I saw the grilled piece of meat arriving at our table. It had been rubbed with salt and pepper and now exhibited a lovely brown crust. The size of this steak seemed more than reasonable. Our waiter cut it in two pieces, dressed in our plates garnished with only a potato, snap peas, a bit of carrot and cauliflower.
                                        The cooking quality was then perfectly apparent: under the Maillard reaction that caramelized the outside of the meat, its inside was perfectly pink, and most of the fat had melted. A few of the thickest streaks of fat had only partially disappeared. Quite clearly, the coal cooking technique employed at Dons de la Nature was perfectly mastered.

                                        But it was of course with the first bite that the real qualities of this steak shone. I immediately discovered sensations I did not know about until now. Accordingly to what was visually expected, the steak was crispy on the outside and perfectly tender inside. Or, should I say, melting. This may be the most used epithet to describe wagyu beef, and I can only admit that it’s particularly appropriate. Each and every bite released its flow of dissolved fat, making for a particularly enjoyable eating sensation. This meat was more akin to foie gras than the leaner cuts of beef we usually eat in Europe. However, what may have struck me even more than its texture is the taste, profound yet subtle, very different from anything I had tasted before. Mustard was at the same time superfluous (why compromise this fantastic taste?) and welcome, its vivacity bringing a satisfactory contrast to the “gentle” fatty flavors of this meat.
                                        In the end, 200g per person were enough. I could have eaten more, if not only to extend the duration of the meal, but maybe not a whole other piece. The ideal way to enjoy this restaurant would probably be to come as a group of 6, so as to share a bit of each cut of beef without risking being overwhelmed.

                                        All in all, and as was apparent with sushi, this example perfectly illustrates the way an exceptional ingredient can constitute a fantastic meal in its own right. It also brings forward the fact, once again, the law of diminishing returns. This 400g cut of meat cost around 250 EUR. Ouch. Then again, I don’t regret it at all, considering how incomparable this experience was. I have not tasted other wagyu steaks in Japan or anywhere, but I believe one could probably have something almost as good for a much lesser price. On the other hand, something leads me to believe that a place like Kawamura could push the envelope even farther than Dons de la Nature in terms of ingredient quality, but for a price I’d rather not think about.
                                        Whatever, in the end, I still believe that anyone remotely interested in food should try to treat himself with such a great steak, even if that means cutting on other meals

                                        Photos of the meal here: http://picasaweb.google.com/miaaampics/DonsDeLaNature
                                        Full review with pictures here: http://www.miaaam.net/en/2010/10/25/d...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: olivierb
                                          a
                                          Asomaniac Nov 4, 2010 07:25 PM

                                          Thanks for that - it's brought back memories of some amazing dinners at that place. I have not been for a very very long time because of the price tag, but maybe as a Christmas treat...

                                          1. re: olivierb
                                            a
                                            AWESOMEKETCHUP Nov 9, 2010 09:21 PM

                                            you just gave me an orgasm.....@_@

                                            1. re: AWESOMEKETCHUP
                                              t
                                              theskyflyer Nov 10, 2010 01:27 AM

                                              Has anyone had lunch at UKAI TEI? The price difference between lunch and dinner is quite great and I wonder if there is a limited offering at lunch, or the meat is less stellar than that served at dinner.

                                              Perhaps not ranked among the best, but has anyone had steaks at HAMAYU, YEBISU (Westin Hotel) or AKASAKA (ANA Hotel)?

                                          2. p
                                            piconets Oct 20, 2011 08:51 PM

                                            Please check this like below: Recommended Kobe beef steak restaurants.
                                            http://www.wearetraveller.com/2011/10...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: piconets
                                              Robb S Oct 20, 2011 10:20 PM

                                              Are these your recommendations? Can you tell us more about them - budget, ambiance, wine list? Because otherwise, a list of four names and addresses isn't that helpful.

                                              I do like the photo credit though: "Thanks flickr.com for very nice picture."

                                              [Oh, and I see that that same website lists the very best sushi restaurants in Tokyo as Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai. OK....]

                                            2. Robb S Oct 20, 2011 11:03 PM

                                              Here's a very recent write-up of the excellent Kobe beef specialist 511, which is located in Akasaka.

                                              http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/eat/cut-ab...

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