Owned by a friendly butcher who raises his own cattle just outside the city, Yamatake Shoten is part butchery, part restaurant. We started by selecting our beef from a large refrigerated case. Though the owner informed us that a Japanese person usually eats a 200g portion, Jon was hungry and thought that 730g would be more suitable for the two of us.
While the owner chopped up and seasoned the beef, we helped ourselves to platefuls of vegetables and brought them to our table which had a small grill. We had three dipping options for our grilled veggies and steak: a sweet-ish vinaigrette, wasabi with soy sauce, and ground black pepper.
The highly marbleized Hida beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was the beef equivalent of toro — mostly fat, but absolutely delicious. We really liked eating the steak with the ground black pepper, which was much milder than any black pepper I’ve had before. We signed their guestbook with the message, “Better than Luger’s!” Definitely one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.