We've had Japan's famous steak a number of times.
We tasted it grilled at 3-Michelin starred Taian in Kyoto. We've enjoyed it in shabu shabu (hot pot) at Seryna, and we've had it teppanyaki style at Ukai-Tei (2 Michelin stars). All of the meals have been excellent, and I've enjoyed each one for different reasons.
However, my fondest memories would have to be from the new place I visited this past February, Shima in Tokyo.
Shima is located in a non-descript basement of an office building in the Nihonbashi neighborhood in Tokyo. Chef Manabu Oshima uses steak from his hometown of Kyoto that he ages himself and then cooks over binchotan, Japanese white charcoal.
Diners have a choice between sirloin or fillet steak. A 150 gram portion costs 13,000 JPY ($120 USD) , which is very reasonable compared to most of the other top steak places in the city.
On top of steak, there are also appetizers and small snacks. We started with some awesome black ink bread with butter.
We also enjoyed some olives and a decadent but perfectly made crab croquette.
The menu includes other dishes such as fresh seafood with lemon, boiled abalone with seasonal vegetables, and duck liver with green peppercorn. There were a few soups as well.
We didn't order any of those. After all, our main reason for coming here was for the steak.
And the steak was awesome. It was tender, not at all too "fatty" tasting, and full of meaty flavor.
I loved eating it with the fried garlic pieces. It reminded me of the steak + fried garlic we had at Ukai-Tei, though the steak at Ukai-Tei was definitely more buttery and "melt-in-your-mouth".
The BEST part (IMHO) is the takeaway steak sandwiches you get at the end of the meal. I believe they are made with smaller, scrap pieces. You can't just order the sandwich. You only get a sandwich if you order a steak at the restaurant.
The sandwich is made with this lovely thick Japanese toast, and it's DIVINE.
Perhaps I'm biased.
It just so turns out that we were flying back to the US that day. So naturally, I took my steak sandwich onto the airplane. About 8-10 hours into the flight, I was famished and decided to eat my sandwich. Yes, I know it was at room temperature. And yes, I know the meat had been sitting out for HOURS.
But I still ate it, and it was amazing.
It was by far the best steak sandwich I'd ever eaten in my life.
I will never forget this sandwich. This sandwich makes me want to ensure I visit Shima again on my next visit to Japan. In some ways, I almost think I enjoyed the sandwich more than the steak, ha ha.
For fun, here's a video of the steak sandwich being made.
Dessert was simple. We just had some ice cream and little cookies, and they were nice.
Shima Steak Tokyo - General Thoughts
I really enjoyed my meal at Shima. I'm sure a big part of it is that Chef Manabu Oshima speaks excellent English and is genuinely a really warm guy. We sat at the counter, which gave us more opportunities to talk to him and also watch the flurry of activity behind the counter.
The steaks are very good, and his prices are very reasonable compared to other high end steak places (which can be 3-5x the price!). The best part, of course, is that the already-reasonable price also includes the very awesome take-away steak sandwich.
So worth it, and so fun! Can't wait to go back!
Shima Steak Tokyo
3 Chome-5-12 Nihonbashi
Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 103-0027, Japan
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