By Adam Capelin
Meet for Meat. It’s a simple concept that doesn’t require much explaining. Meet with friends and enjoy Meat (usually the red meat variety). It started back home with two mates, Wally and Geoff, arguing over which Brisbane establishment offered the best steak in town. The only way to settle the score was to visit each restaurant and taste the meat, sample the beer, test the service, savor the atmosphere and guage an overall rating. From humble beginnings to a monthly MeetMeat pilgrimage with capped numbers and a MeatMeet score card that followed. The search continues for the best steak. And for the first time MeatMeet travels to Japan.
Japan, the home of wagu steak. We were in a wagu restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo. Everything on the menu was Wagu. But instead of huge thick cuts of meat, wagyu in Japan is served on a tray as small thin single bite slices ready for barbacue-ing. There was no fatty strip on the edge of the steak or chewy veins of gristle through the middle. The steak had a marble effect of tender red meat and fat. A pan of hot coals was placed in two round recesses in the centre of the table and covered with a cooking grill. Anyone could grab a bit of steak, throw it on the grill and cook it as desired before dipping it in a plate of special watery dark wagu sauce before savouring the succulent meat. A small selection of carrots and onion were also cooked on the grill – but this seemed like a token vegetable offering compared with the wagu. Tray after tray of wagu arrived at the table and disappeared just as quickly as everyone decended on it. We complemented the wagu steak with great tasting Japanese Sapporo beer. Although the beer was struggeling to keep up with the flow of wagu.
We took turns to cook the steak on the two grills and fling the ready cooked hot steaks onto empty plates. The thin wagu cooked quickly in its own fatty juices. A quick sear on each side and a dripping hot steak was devoured from the end of chopsticks. The meat was delicious – wagu at its best! Top marks.