Sumibi Yakiniku Nakahara
Famous for its Legendary Tongue
GEMS Ichigaya Bldg. 9F, 4-3 Rokubancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-0085
Let me take you on a beef journey with Nakahara, located in this modern architecture below.
It took awhile but I finally secured a spot at the famous counter seat of the yakiniku establishment Nakahara. I have been to this restaurant three times before but it’s the first time I managed to snatch a counter seat. When you sit at the table, he has his staff cook for you, at the counter, you get to witness the famous chef Nakahara at work right in front of you.
As of this moment, Nakahara does not accept direct reservations from foreigners. The reason for this is that foreigners tend to casually cancel their reservations at the last minute not realizing that much time, money and effort has been put in by the restaurant to prepare the special ingredients for one dinner. It is best to ask the hotel concierge to do the booking for you if you are interested in trying this restaurant.
The interior of Nakahara is very modern and not the typical type of bland design you find in other yakiniku joints. Since July 2017, they do not serve ala carte menus anymore. Only courses are available and they do the cooking for you which is not very common for a Yakiniku restaurant. At the counter seat, we will be served directly by Kentaro Nakahara, a chef, a butcher, and a businessman famous for his skill of grilling meat.
Now let’s go through the menu….
The first part of my beef journey came in the form of a cream soup with some beef bacon on top.
Next came the yukke (uchi momo beef) which is raw beef with raw eggs. I loved this dish. It was amazing.
The third dish is what Nakahara is famous for. His legendary tongues. He serves three different parts of tongue : Tan moto, Tan saki and Tan Geta which he then grills to perfection.
Look at how he cuts his tongue, allowing the salt to absorb into the meat.
A brilliantly colorful salad came after.
Before cooking our next sirloin dish he presented it to us.
He grills it so fast so you can still see the red parts and this sirloin immediately melts in your mouth without much chewing effort.
And more meat! Sagari, Harami, Brisket. By now, you start to realize that he serves literally everything. Grilled, raw, cured?
The way he grills his meat is an art form in my opinion. He is so precise that every piece of meat is grilled to perfection. He knows his beef really well.
In between meat courses he serves an oxtail soup broth. It is thick but has a light taste.
And more and more beef keeps on popping out.
This is the ichibo and shinshin part of the cow.
And then we come to my least favorite part. I’ve never been a big fan of innards but here it is. Left one is called mino, right one is called shimacho.
Some side dishes served in between the meat.
This is the innards after grilling and to be honest it really isn’t my cup of tea.
The mino with yuzu kosho which is also part of the innards actually tasted better than I expected. I forced myself to eat this and found the texture to be crispy.
A beef fillet sandwich is served next and Chef Nakahara serves it the way a sushi chef would, from his hand to mine. And this sandwich was absolutely amazing ! Perfection!
More slices for me!
Nakahara Gyudon was the last part of the course. Beef over rice.
Don’t judge but I wasn’t quite full yet and I asked him if he had anything else he could serve me. He grilled this tongue right in front of us.
Here is it! Divided by three.
To cool things off a tiny bowl of reimen or cold noodles, served with kimchi and boiled egg.
And to close things off some pistachio ice cream for dessert. Just perfect after the heavy meat journey.
Overall I loved my omakase experience at Nakahara. He is very talkative and really shows passion for his work, and is indeed a funny guy. Not only is the food good, I was entertained by his presence.
All this cost me 25,000 yen per person for the whole course.