Kobe Beef might not be totally new to me as it is definitely one of the few fortunate culinary luxuries I’ve gotten to experience at an early age. But I have to admit that my taste buds weren’t as discerning then. On a recent trip to Osaka, which is just beside Kobe; I decided to treat myself to a Kobe Beef teppanyaki dinner after foregoing some shopping urges of the unnecessary kind.
Since it was a last minute decision, I wasn’t really able to research on where to actually eat. I just did a quick search online for reviews and chanced upon Kozai Steak House which is literally hidden within the Shinsaibashi area (It took me 1 hour to look for it). The quaint steak restaurant is located on the second floor of MaruKiyoshi Building.
When I entered the restaurant, there were no customers so I had the place all to myself. Since I starved myself from walking and trying to find the restaurant, I just decided to stay and keep an open mind. It has two long teppanyaki tables, one on each side and seats about 16-20 customers in full capacity.
I made a quick browse through the menu and decided on a Sirloin Kobe Beef Steak Course. It comes with Hors d’oeuvre, Salad, Vegetables and a bowl of steamed or fried rice. Hors d’oeuvre came as a plate of smoked duck fillet with some picked radish. Salad was a service of lettuce with cherry tomatoes, young corn with vinaigrette.
The came the main attraction, a beautifully marbled 170-gram slice of Sirloin steak from Kobe with fresh veggies on the side.
My meal was carefully prepared by Chef Fujii Ryu, who has been with the restaurant for two years. I had my steak cooked medium and it was done in absolute perfection and every bite literally melts in your mouth. You could either eat your steak as-is or dip it in their special steak sauce, shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt). I preferred mine as-is.
Interestingly, there was a small piece of fat on the side that he grilled on the side; I later found out that it was to be used for the awesome bowl of fried rice. What’s more interesting is the way the fried rice was prepared. Normally, the egg is mixed with in with the rice to cook; Chef Fujii cook the egg alongside the rice and shredded it once cooked to mix with the rice. This gave a better separation of flavor between the rice and egg.
The meal was finished off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped on a small slice of grapefruit.
There might be other restaurants that are better than Kozai. But for a last minute find, it was still worth getting lost for and the JPY12,000 I paid.