Up until recently, Bryan and I were quite "boring" eaters when it came to our trips to Tokyo. Invariably we would book a number of sushi restaurants. We would then throw in a few noodle, wagyu beef, or tonkatsu places and then call it a day.
It wasn't until more recently that we started venturing out. Our trip to Kyoto and Osaka helped us expand our horizons, and we started to explore restaurants specializing in things like tofu, soba noodles, shabu, and much, much more.
I am still a bit shocked that it wasn't until 2019 that we discovered the beauty of sukiyaki, a type of Japanese beef hot pot.
Sukiyaki is a type of hot pot where thinly sliced meat are cooked at the table with vegetables in a soy sauce and mirin based broth. It's usually eaten in the wintertime in Japan.
The menu offers two options for Sukiyaki set menus. The top sirloin (JPY 10,000 per person), or the top tenderloin (JPY13,000 per person). Each set menu includes an appetizer (we got the squid pictured above), A5 wagyu beef, vegetables, rice, miso, pickles, and dessert.
They also offer Shabu-Shabu at JPY12,000 a person.
We decided to go for the sukiyaki. In Japan, there are two main styles of sukiyaki, and Imafuku allows you to enjoy both styles in one meal, which I thought was kind of fun.
We began with the Kansai style, the western style which originated from Osaka. In this style, the thinly sliced beef is first cooked in the pot (with a chunk of beef fat!) before the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and dashi based broth is added. We ate the slices of A5 Wagyu beef with a foamed egg yolk sauce, which was amazing.
Round Two! We moved onto the Kanto style, the Eastern style that originated from Tokyo. In this method, the soup is cooked in the pot first before the beef is added, sort of like a hot pot. In this version, we finished by adding vegetables and glass noodles to the soup, which we also enjoyed with the foamed egg yolk sauce.
What can I say, we loved sukiyaki! The higher-end places will focus on the beef, sourcing top quality beef from Japan's best known regions. Imafuku executed everything well, from the beef quality and the broth flavors to the excellent service and presentation. Our server spoke excellent English and took great care of us, explaining to us the different styles of sukiyaki and essentially cooking for us table-side (since we didn't know what we were doing!).
I would highly recommend coming to Imafuku if you are interested in trying both styles of sukiyaki while eating top quality beef in a warm and inviting environment with excellent service. Imafuku also serves shabu shabu (hot pot), and we saw other tables enjoying that experience. All in all, knowing the quality of the beef that they procure, you can't go wrong.
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