On our last evening in Tokyo, we ventured out to Shirokane in the southern end of Minato for an early dinner at Yakiniku Jumbo. This yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant only serves A5 Black Wagyu which is the highest quality of Japanese beef. The place is simply decorated with wooden booths and tables with a built-in grill in the center. Reservations are recommended as the place fills up quickly as soon as they open at 5:00 p.m. and tables are allocated every two hours so we were gently ushered out at 6:30 so they could reset for the next batch of diners.
Different cuts are available on the menu from traditional cuts like short-plate kalbi and the loin to higher-priced prime cuts like shoulder and rib-eye plus sirloin which is only served in extra thin sukiyaki slices and served with a raw egg dip. There's also a large selection of offal: beef tongue, intestine and stomach as well as pork womb (not really sure what that is) along with the more usual pork cheek and pork loin. Specialties include Korean-style beef tartare and raw beef heart sashimi. A few salads, kimchi and some vegetables (pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, mushroom, onion, carrot and shishito pepper) to be cooked on the grill is all there is for vegetarians. Aside from steamed rice in small (individual), to medium or large (family-size) portions, they have two special rice dishes cooked in hot stone bowl: the traditional bibimbap topped with vegetables and a raw egg or the unusual Wagyu garlic rice version which is topped with a mound hand-chopped raw Wagyu beef and raw garlic which is mixed into the hot rice and continues to cook in the super hot stone bowl sort of like an instant extra-delicious premium fried rice. Desserts are limited to Hokkaido soft-serve milk flavored ice cream or sherbet.
We ordered both beef and pork, a green salad of lettuce in a sesame soy dressing, assorted vegetables and both the bibimbap and the Wagyu garlic rice. The meat was melt-in-the-mouth tender with the marbled fat making every mouthful a pleasure. The kids enjoyed it as well as we did and we ended up ordering more meat as the first plates went by way quicker than we expected. Our server was a friendly California-raised Japanese surfer dude, making it the only meal we had in Tokyo where we could communicate easily with the person assigned to our table. After a fantastic meal, we skipped dessert and instead took a short walk along the pedestrian street of the quiet residential area of Shirokane before heading back to the hotel. Out of all our meals in Japan, yakiniku was the one that appealed to the whole family even if they only served one type of food: meat on the grill. My Argentine husband got his meat fix and the kids and I all enjoyed the simple dinner of quality grilled meat and rice. Looks like they have a partner restaurant in Singapore Yakiniku Yazawa which we are now eager to try for our Sunday family dinner out.
Dai-ichi Azabu Bldg. 1F, 3-1-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open daily 5:00 p.m. to midnight (Closed 31 December to 2 January)