Weird But Delicious: Intestine, Diaphragm, and Liver at Yokohama Meat KitchenJune 3, 2015
Intestine, diaphragm, liver: these are words that you might expect at a freshmen pre-med lecture or a Saw film, but never at a place like Yokohama. Yokohama Meat Kitchen, with their self-served, fresh-off-the-grill approach to barbecue is a perfect hook for families, dates, or whatever kind of social permutation you might have. But for every slab of raw sirloin or rack of wagyu ribs that come out of the kitchen, there is a plate of innards waiting for some adventurous eater to venture into in the stranger parts of the Yokohama menu. We arrived to lunch with just that in mind. The menu became more like a list of challenges. Beef intestines? Raw liver? How far could we go? We only sought out the weirdest and wildest of anything. The strangest of what we ordered was the Shiro Senmai Sashi (PHP 390), otherwise known as tripe sahimi. Tripe, often ignored in our own kare-kare pots for its raggedy texture and rubbery consistency, is already a bizarre choice of viand even when cooked. To eat it raw seemed, at first, daunting. For a moment, I could not believe that I was about to eat what looked like leftovers from a science experiment on a deceased alien. To my relief and delight, it tasted less like alien flesh and more like the tougher, worldlier cousin to Chinese jellyfish. I drowned that tripe in its accompanying sauce, a tangy orange condiment that I could have downed all on its own.
Having never had diaphragm, I expected some flimsy, membrane-y kind of meat to arrive at our table. The Wagyu-Tokujo Harami (Wagyu beef diaphragm) (PHP 690) looked and tasted like beef, except even more tender and melt-in-your-mouth-soft. Tongue, which I have enjoyed before after years of eating lengua, came in the form of Negi Gyutan (PHP 490), a skirt-steak-esque cut of meat that is best eaten with the mound of salty green onion and brine that accompanies it.
We found ourselves the high-end equivalent of isaw in the Yawaraka Horumon (PHP 390) or soft pork intestines. Grilling it to a medium might get you a great, goopy inside and a somewhat gummy outside, but grilling it long will make it deliciously charred, crispy, and almost like chicharon.
So if you choose to head onto Yokohama Meat Kitchen, you may want to poke around the menu for some of the more peculiar items. If a challenge means getting to eat stuff like this, then challenge accepted.