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Kobe Beef in Kobe

Posted: 01/03/13


Kobe Beef in Kobe

Restaurant: Japan Setsugetsuka

Nelson @ Kobe: We made a special trip to Kobe Japan just to eat Kobe beef. Of Kobe, I only know it from the train station to this restaurant at night. Nothing else. From an internet search, Rino recommended Setsugetsuka, a 1 star Michelin that specializes in teppanyaki style Kobe beef. We had a bit of trouble finding the place since there is no English signage whatsoever, but luckily some random Japanese people pointed us in the right direction and then followed us to point out the exact restaurant location.

As soon as you enter, you are greeted with the smell of butter and beef. Such an awesome smell. There is a large Teppanyaki surface with a large fume hood above. The restaurant only seats about 15 people and we had to take a 9PM reservation as no other were available.

I ordered the Chef's recommended course which among other things included prawn (¥12075/$137), while Kitty had the Ajisai course (¥9975/$113) which included Foie Gras. Both included Kobe beef, either 120 g of sirloin steak or 100 g of tenderloin steak. Strange why the prawn would be higher priced when compared to Foie Gras, right? I think I know why, so read on.

Right away there is a dipping sauce, but I didn't use it very much. The table setting is nice and you can see how close we sat from the Teppanyaki surface.



















Our meal started with something that looked like tofo, but ended up being our nemesis: Tororo.






























The salad had a light Japanese dressing which was pleasant.






























Next I was served the prawn. The chef brings out a live prawn and cooks it in front of you. But the most impressive thing is how he was able to deshell it, cook the shell and other parts that are not normally eaten and present it so nicely. I think you pay extra for this service and display of technical skill. I recorded a video or two of this feat, but unfortunately I stopped rolling during the most impressive displays of skill. I suppose I'll leave it as a mystery and something for you to experience if you ever make it there.

You can see the chef dousing the live prawn in wine when he begins cooking it. Click for video






























It quickly stops moving and turns red quite quickly.






























This is my only shot of how the chef separates the different parts and shell. It is very hard to tell from this still (my videos linked above misses this part, but I caught the end (CLICK FOR VIDEO)) but I was very impressed with the chef's knife skills. I can't even deshell a prawn with my ten fingers well, and the chef was able to do it with a knife!






























Yet another surprise is how the prawn is served. I never thought that a prawn could look so appetizing and artful.






























The body is cut into two large pieces and leans on each other. The cooking from the grill is evident and the flesh is so white and firm.



























Even more impressive is how the head of the prawn and the tail is flatten and fried in oil. This made it completely edible and not tough at all. It also looks really neat. Underneath is another piece that is propping the other parts up.

So how did it taste? If you like shrimp, you will like this because the natural flavour of the prawn was clearly evident, along with a slight (and welcome) grilled firey flavour. The shell was fried such that it was soft enough to eat comfortably, yet provide a nice crunch (especially the legs). The head merits special mention as it had the juices and extra shrimp flavour cooked into the shell itself. Normally I don't eat the heads, but this was too good to pass up. Wonderful!

Prawn as an edible art form! At a Kobe beef restaurant! Stay tuned for the beef!

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Categories: Appetizer,  Fine Dining,  Japanese,  Salad,  Seafood,  

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