Say hello to some the country’s best barbecue, or yakiniku, featuring cuts of highly sought-after Matsusaka beef.
Out of all of premium beef you can find in Japan, like Kobe beef, Yonezawa beef, and Yamagata beef, perhaps Matsusaka beef, a black cattle-based meat, is considered the most luxurious. You’d be hard-pressed to find any Japanese person that hasn’t heard of it, but only the luckiest have tried it since Matsusaka City, located in Mie Prefecture, usually limits the number of its beef exports outside the area each year. To really get a taste for it, it’s best to go there yourself, and that’s just what one of our reporters decided to do.
The first thing on his mind as he arrived in the city was getting his hands on this tender meat delicacy, but at several hundred dollars a pound, if you’re not exactly a high roller one fancy Matsuzaka beef dinner can be enough to break the bank.
Fortunately for our reporter, he happened across a well-known yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) restaurant chain popular with locals, called Isshobin. Although Isshobin has different locations, the one our reporter visited was the Miyamachi location, which proclaimed to serve its meat conveyor belt-style, including Matsusaka beef.
As soon as he entered the restaurant his eyes were drawn to the plates of meat and vegetables slowly making their way around the tables. Unlike your average conveyor belt sushi restaurant, however, all of the plates moved within a case, which required pushing a button at your seat to open it and retrieve the dish.
Isshobin has all of your favorites like karubi (short rib meat) and tan (tongue), but of course what our reporter was really after was the Matsusaka beef, priced at a very reasonable 300 yen (US$2.75) a plate. Naturally as soon as he saw some of it making the rounds he immediately snatched it up, tossing it onto his table grill.
▼ Here it comes!
▼ Check out that beautiful marbling!
As soon as the tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat hit his taste buds he was floating on cloud nine, wondering how he’d lived so long not knowing the true taste of heaven. He followed it up with some Matsusaka horumon (offal) and gyusuji (beef tendon), which was also soft and juicy.
Seven plates later our reporter was full and satisfied, and was left with the very reasonable bill of 3,000 yen (US$27.35). For some of Japan’s best gourmet meat it was certainly a steal!
Not only can our reporter brag about having tried Matsusaka beef, but he also got to experience conveyor belt yakiniku for the first time. If you ever find yourself in the area, we definitely recommend you make your way over to Isshobin to see and taste it for yourself!
Name: Isshobin Miyamachi
Address: 144-5 Miyamachi, Matsusaka-shi, Mie-ken
Hours: Conveyor belt seating available every day on weekdays from 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., or weekends and holidays during lunch time from 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. and dinner time from 4:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
All photos © RocketNews24