When enjoying Japanese food, tasting Kobe beef is one of the things to do at least once in your life.
A very different meat
Kobe Beef is recognized as one of the 3 Best Meats in the World along with Matsuzaka Beef and Omi Beef. Kobe beef comes from the Tajima breed of cattle, raised according to a strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture.
“Alright, it’s a Japanese beef but what’s so different about our cattle?” you will tell me.
Well unlike our cattle where fat and muscle are distinct, Japanese beef (wagyu) has the particularity of being strewn with filaments of fat, which makes the meat extremely tender and tasty. It is then said that it is marbled.
This strong presence of filaments of fat in the muscles is called “shimofuri” and is essential during the qualitative classification of the meat:
A texture and quality due to the exceptional treatment of the cattle but also to its genetics protected over time from possible crosses with other breeds thanks to the Buddhist influence prohibiting the consumption of beef.
Many myths surround the living conditions of these animals: massages, classical music but no one confirms it.
But beware, all these elements do not guarantee obtaining the precious sesame, the official name!
Per year, out of the 6,500 oxen of the Tajima breed from farms classified by the “consultation commission for the promotion and distribution of Kobe oxen (神 戸 肉 流通 推進 協議 会), only 5,000 carcasses pass the rigorous criteria and are classified” Kobe oxen ”.
Don’t think that ungraded beef is of poor quality, a simple Tajima breed beef from Hyogo Prefecture is a rarity and worth its weight in gold but a Kobe beef carcass sells for several million yen.
A price due to its quality but also to its rarity
Who says 5,000 carcasses of Kobe beef per year only says 10,000 sirloin per year (2 per carcass). The best part of Kobe beef with fillets to be shared by the 552 authorized restaurants (as of January 2019) for sale around the world. Of course the other parts of the beef are just as good and can be cooked and enjoyed differently but you will miss the most tender part.
Choose the right restaurant
In order not to waste your time and money, the first questions to ask yourself when you want to eat Kobe beef is the form in which you want to taste it. Personally, I can only recommend the teppanyaki (cooking on an iron plate).
Also pay attention to the place you choose. Kobe beef restaurants don’t need beautiful photos or flashy signs to find a clientele. You can find the list of restaurants on this site. Note that there are also some in France (around 20% of carcasses are exported abroad).
Restaurants that pass lambda Japanese beef for Kobe beef also exist. So don’t hesitate to ask for the Kobe beef certificate of authenticity supplied with each carcass.
What is Kobe beef really worth on the plate?
For this first culinary experience, we chose to test the Kobe beef in the place where teppanyaki was born in 1945 (cooking on an iron plate): The Misono restaurant!
On the menu of this meal, a discovery of all the house specialties:
An experience that will not leave you indifferent
Misono Restaurant is a good choice for a first Kobe beef experience. The property offers menus from 3,500 yen (with local beef).
However, to taste Kobe beef, count 14,000 yen for 100g à la carte or 22,000 yen for the cheapest menu (150g of Kobe beef / salad / assorted vegetables / rice / Miso soup / assortment of desserts / coffee or tea).
A budget that remains important but nevertheless accessible to those who want to experience it at least once in their life. And believe me, you will remember it!
Following its success, know that Misono has also opened other establishments across Japan (Tokyo -Ginza and Shinjuku-, Kyoto and Osaka). Which should fix some who had not planned to go through Kobe during their stay.
It is better to reserve your place in advance. So if you don’t speak Japanese, don’t hesitate to ask your hotel staff or a friend to book for you over the phone. Enjoy your meal !
address : 7 & 8F Misono Bldg., 1-1-2 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 650-0011
Hours : 11:30 am to 2:30 pm | 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Website : https://misono.org/en/
Access: (2 minutes walk – west exit of Sannomiya (Hankyu) station in Kobe)