It’s the fad that sweeped the nation and fascinated Asia; Gyu katsu (gyu=beef).
I remember when this first came out in Japan, I believe early 2016, it was on the news all over Asia and was quite the talk amongst food lovers. I thought it was just plain strange, like, “Oh, Japan has done it again!”, but at the same time, I was intrigued.
So I went to a location near Kyoto Station for early dinner. There is always a line for this at peak meal times, even on regular weekdays.
The red lighted wall sign says “Kyoto style beef, Wagyu beef, Aging beef”. It’s beef, we get it.
I went inside at 5:45pm on a Tuesday and the place place was packed. By the time I had finished my meal and exited at around 6:15pm, a short line had formed, and it was sure to grow longer. This gyu katsu fad was still going strong after a year since it started, so I guess it has proven itself out of being a simple fad. It has entered the arena of Japan’s must eats.
The menu features different qualities of beef (like wagyu) and different cuts, all of them dry aged. You can also choose the amount of beef for some items, and the price will increase accordingly. I got their most popular regular beef cutlet, 130g (can also choose 100g or 160g).
Draft beer and gyu katsu…match made in heaven. Rice with barley, miso soup, gyu katsu with shaved cabbage and freshly grated wasabi, curry sauce, and sansho peppers in the sauce plate. Two empty sections on the sauce plate for you to pour soy sauce and worcestershire sauces that are available on the table for self-serve.
There are instructions on how to eat with all the different combinations of sauces. You can have it with wasabi and soy sauce, sansho peppers that came on the sauce plate, worcestershire sauce, curry sauce, and raw egg or yam (if you had ordered them). You can also use the raw egg and curry sauce on the rice. The rice is refillable at no extra charge!
*Heavy breathing* Cooked on the surface, raw on the inside.
To be honest, I was skeptical on how good this could be…I had eaten raw beef and medium-rare steak before, so I just thought it’d be that familar taste, plus the crispy katsu crust.
But I was so, so wrong… The meat was chewy (had a spongy, springy bite to it), flavorful, and the fat of the beef melted on your tongue nicely. So this is what dry aging does to beef!
It wasn’t heavy at all despite being deep fried, and with so many sauces to compliment it, your mouth could go on an adventure.
I deeply regretted getting 130g of beef…Should have gone for the 160g…The 130g was the enough amount for my stomach, but not for my heart… I did not take advantage of the free rice refill, because I was stuffed. It was a lot of food! Probably because I drank a whole glass of beer though…
The grated wasabi was not too spicy and had a natural sweetness to it
Finishing off the meal with the remaining curry sauce poured on to the rice with barley…The curry sauce was quite sweet as well.
The meal was so satisfying that I was going to go a second time before I left Kyoto, but I had other foods to conquer. There are also locations in other parts of Japan, so I could have gone to another location in Tokyo, but alas, too much good food to be had in Japan, and too little time!!!