One of the first things that came up to my mind when thinking about my upcoming Japan trip was: I have to try Kobe beef!! On the other hand I didn´t want to spend a fortune for trying it. I read that you can easily spend 500 € for a dinner. Wow! I decided to ask my dear colleague Yuko (she is living in Tokyo) for an advice. Yuko asked a friend and suggested me to go for lunch (a lot cheaper!) to Kobe Plaisir directly in the city of Kobe. That sounded like a great plan. Where could you possibly get better Kobe beef than in the city where it comes from? I made a reservation via their website and was lucky to still get a spot.
Kobe Plaisir in Kobe
Kobe Plaisir (Website) is located in the heart of Kobe, about 10-15 min walking from the train station. We stayed in Kyoto for 5 days and went to Kobe only for the lunch. It´s about 50 min by train from Kyoto. The city itself is not really beautiful I have to say (and not as clean as all the other places I saw in Japan). It´s really enough just to go for lunch and then to go somewhere else (we visited Himeji afterwards) since there is not much to see or do.
The Kobe lunch experience
We arrived a bit early to Kobe Plaisir when the restaurant was not open yet. People were queuing already! The restaurant opened punctual on the minute (I love Japan!) and we were accompanied inside. There are about 10 seats only and you are sitting right in front of the cooking station where your Kobe meat will be prepared for you. A stylish brown apron with the Kobe Plaisir logo is provided.
The restaurant is decorated in dark colors (black, metal and wood) in a minimalist and elegant design.
After choosing our drinks we received 2 starters with different vegetables and an aperitif (I decided for a non-alcoholic juice). As a second course we received a delicious potato soup.
Then it was time for the highlight of the lunch: The cook was first showing us the raw Kobe meat and was heating up the seamless steel cooking field. He quickly started to prepare the sides (garlic, mushrooms, onions, beans and a vegetable that looked like white cabbage to me, but was not ;)). Once he was almost done with the sides, he finally started to cook the meat until it reached the perfect stage. Together with the Kobe dish we also got different sauces. The Kobe beef in combination with the sides was an explosion of taste! It definitely has a very special and unique taste, soft and tender.
As a last course we could decide between fried or cooked rice with Kobe meat pieces. Along with that we received Japanese pickles and Miso soup. I am not a huge fan of Miso soup I have to say. I tried it a few times but I just can´t get used to it. At this point I was feeling already full! But there was still dessert to come!
For the dessert we were accompanied to a different nice room with comfortable armchairs, sofas and a cosy atmosphere. We could choose between coffee or tea. The dessert itself was a variation of green tea ice cream & a white wine jelly with fruit sauce.
It was a great experience to try the real Kobe beef. The lunch was affordable and we paid ~ 75€ per person. The meal was definitely worth every cent.
Although the Kobe beef was delicious, I think that for me it was enough to try it once. I prefer more lean meat. The Kobe beef is very fat and I couldn´t eat much of it (the size of the meat was not that huge though anyway). Since I tried also a lot meat while being in Argentina, I prefer an Argentinian steak for sure.
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