Before you ask me how I managed to get a reservation at Kawamura steakhouse in Tokyo – I didn’t. There are two Kawamuras which both happen to be in Ginza. The famous one where it’s almost impossible to get into as the chef gives priority to his regular customers (I heard that as for today, it’s fully booked until next February) name is written in hiragana (かわむら), while the one I’ve been – in katakana (ビフテキのカワムラ).
Bifteck Kawamura (Ginza 6-5-1 Ginza Mst Building 8F Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061; tel.03-6252-5011) is a traditional teppanyaki restaurant priding itself on using the highest award winning Kobe beef. Only a certain group of cattle which passed strict conditions from among Tajima Beef Cattle can be called Kobe beef and according to the website, Bifteck Kawamura only purchases “champion” Kobe beef at the auctions.
For me, teppanyaki ( iron griddle) cooking is all about excellent products and at Bifteck Kawamura even vegetables served with the steak were superb. I was told by the chef who cooked my lunch that sometimes they are even doing onion and other vegetables tastings so only the best of the best is offered to their customers.
If Kobe beef has reached mythical status in the rest of the world, in Japan is just one among others. (Mishima, Sanda, Matsusaka are to name a few…) What I liked about the grade A5 Kobe beef I had at Bifteck Kawamura that it was not too fatty and you could still enjoy the texture of the steak. My English speaking chef told me that Joel Robuchon himself had a meal there few weeks before my visit. If it’s good enough for the grand maître, it’s definitely good enough for me!