Address: 255 Queens Road Central
When: Sept 2015
Vegetarians be warned!
Feeling carnivorous and having had enough of Korean style barbecues, me and my friend decided to try out the new Yakiniku Great. A Japanese charcoal beef BBQ joint that features DIY grilling. Yakiniku means ‘grilled beef’ in Japanese, where the restaurant describes itself as ‘the’ beef expert from Japan’s Kanto region. Yakiniku Great specializes in a unique breed of black-haired bovine, the ‘kuroge black breed’ wagyu, one of the more superior cuts you can find. When you talk about Wagyu beef, you normally go for the fatty cuts, but Chef Shoji Tsugawa introduces you to rare leaner cuts that has even greater flavor profiles.
First thing you see as you enter the restaurant is a big blackboard drawing of a cow, with its different parts labelled, showcasing the heritage and setting mood of the restaurant. You are given a napkin to put around your neck, which is very considerate, especially for the ladies! As you look through the menu, there are normal, premium and rare cuts to choose from, as well as some non-beef selections. There are also a few side dishes and wagyu appetisers. If you still can’t decide there is an set menu with about 10 different dishes, guaranteed you will not leave hungry!
Our meat diet began with a pair of complimentary Wagyu sushi, dressed lightly with marinated ginger. Melt in your mouth heaven and definitely a welcomed surprise! Then there was the Wagyu Tataki Sashimi (HKD 98) topped with spring onions, and had a soy dipping sauce. Full of beef flavour and again melt in your mouth. NOM! The slices were cut at just the right thickness. Too thick and beef sashimi can become chewy.
It was time for the pièce de résistance; OUR GRILLED MEAT! First up, the Maru-shin; a cut from the belly part of the cow. The menu described it as ‘experiencing the cow’s level of satisfaction’.We sure did! Grilling for only 3 seconds on each side, slightly chars the meat and retains the flavour. The meat slowly glides on your tongue and melts.
Then came 2 types of beef tongue; the premium, thicker prime beef tongue and normal beef tongue (HK$228 and $128 respectively). We were eager to compare the difference and who would say no to more delicious Wagyu beef, right!? The normal one was good but more chewy than the premium cuts. The premium beef tongue slices were at least double the thickness and much more tender when grilled.
Our final push came the mixed lean cut and marbled Wagyu 250g (HK$298), a great value for such a big mountain of quality beef (picture top of page). This is a good option for those who would like to try different cuts but want to save a few pennies.
Verdict: Melt in your mouth beef with great marbling and colour, you can tell the Wagyu is very fresh and of top quality. All items are around HK$200 a portion, which is a fair price for such good quality beef. Yanikiku takes pride in its beef, how each piece is marinated and sliced, and how it should be cooked to ensure maximum pleasure and enjoyment.
Heavenly and worth all the calories, but expect to smell like barbecue meat afterwards!