Kobe is synonymous with its beef. In fact, many would consider this marble-textured meat to be a symbol of Kobe. For this reason, it commands a hefty price in the market and travellers come from across the globe to enjoy a “Kobe beef” meal.
Today, as I walk through the energetic and buzzing streets of downtown Kobe, in search of the original Teppanyaki steak, I find many options. However, local experts have pointed me in the direction of Misono, a steakhouse, which is said to be the birthplace of the Teppanyaki steak. Misono was founded way back in 1945 and today it has been voted as the best address in Kobe to enjoy steak in its purest form. Misono has an interesting history — in 1945, Shigeji Fujioka decided to give a Japanese twist to beef steak, which was consumed entirely in Western style. Instead of tenderloin fillets, he started to use prime quality sirloin, more juicy and tender than a fillet. In addition, he revolutionised this Teppanyaki steak by cooking it on an iron plate. This tradition continues even today, and diners at Misono sit around an iron plate grill as the Teppanyaki sirloin is prepared right in front of their eyes.
I watch with wonder as the expert chef shows me the raw steak, slices it with scientific precision and proceeds to grill it before my eyes. He tells me, through an interpreter, that all the beef served here is pure black Japanese beef from cattle that is no less than two years old. The meat needs to comply with the highest standards of the Japan Meat Grading Association.
Interestingly enough, to suit Japanese palates, the steaks began to be served with rice, sparking off a trend that continues even today. As I taste the meat, it has a certain melt-in-the-mouth characteristic, delicately flavoured with salt and garlic, for a nice twist.
I was happy to have found the home of Kobe’s original Teppanyaki steak. This is indeed a feast for a meat lover. However, for those at the table who do not eat beef, the restaurant offers other grilled options like lobster and fish.