Kobe, Japan: Steak Aoyama

You don’t travel to Kobe for sushi or yakitori. No, you go there for one thing, and one thing only, beef! So it’s no wonder that this city is overrun with steakhouses on every corner. But finding one that serves actual Kobe beef requires careful scrutiny.

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In order for a restaurant to sell Kobe beef, it must be certified. Steak Aoyama is an old establishment that not only serves real Kobe beef, but certainly knows how to treat it well. Opened since the 1960’s, this restaurant is still family owned and operated. Everyone is hands on, including the mom and dad.

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The meal begins with a fresh salad and house-made cream soup, which is an old family recipe that has been unchanged for decades. The highly marbled meat is seared directly in front of us, which makes it humanly impossible not to drool or salivate.

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The beef speaks for itself. It is exactly how you would imagine a steak of this caliber to taste. The tenderness, though soft and buttery, has it’s own delicate texture. Wifey had hers cooked rare. But I prefer my doneness medium-rare, as it had more of a chew. Stubbornly, she keeps insisting that rare is the ideal doneness for this premium quality beef. Whatever you decide, you really can’t go wrong.

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What made this meal even more enjoyable was the chef behind the grill. Now, we are all too familiar with teppanyaki chefs who toss shrimp tails into their hats, but not him. He’s not here to perform tricks for you. Rather, his true talent is to make you laugh with his dry humor. Despite his limited English vocabulary, he poignantly delivers sarcastic punchlines that is equivalent to an amateur standup comedian.

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Reservation is a must as they are fully booked daily. Unless you can call them directly, the best way to reserve a table is through Facebook.

At the time of visit
Cuisine: Kobe beef, Teppanyaki
Cost per head: 5100 yen (47 USD), lunch, without drinks

2-14-5 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0011, Hyogo Prefecture



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