The Meat Speaks for Itself at Wagyu Japanese Beef in Sunvar —and It’s Quite EloquentSeptember 17, 2019
Wagyu Japanese Beef is more of a meat shop than it is a restaurant. It is tucked in the back of Sunvar Plaza, an oft-forgotten, nondescript building at the bottom of the Skyway, known more for its seedy storefronts than housing hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The shop looks like nothing out of the ordinary from the outside, but upon entering the tiny space, you are greeted by a display of meats, all tagged Wagyu. You are assured by the man behind the counter that these are all A5 grade, and currently, the cuts they have are from Hokkaido.
While you can order slabs of meats from karubi cuts to prime rib-eyes to take home, Wagyu Japanese Beef offers a short menu for those who want to try their bovine offerings in house. They serve their Wagyu beef on a stone grill, the simplest way possible, to showcase the quality of the marbling. There is everything from Chateaubriand to karubi or short-ribs, to the muscley neck. Aside from this, the menu provides the option of steaming their Wagyu sirloin or organic pork traditionally, in a bamboo steamer, and a few other simple methods such as tataki, and croquettes.
Wagyu Japanese Beef is absolutely no-frills, letting the meat speak for itself. They come undressed, with seasoning on the side. There is yuzu salt, which has the distinct aromatic note of the citrus, umeboshi salt, with the acidic sweetness of the pickled plum, salt and pepper, and ponzu sauce. The meat sticks a little to the surface of the grill, but if cooked to perfection (I like mine slightly more rare, only slightly kissed by the heat of the stone), the fattiness of the marbled cuts let the beef melt against your tongue. A sprinkle of salt brings out the flavor even more. The steamed pork belly came sans seasoning as well, with some ponzu or sesame for dipping. It was incredibly simple, but the fat of the thinly-sliced yakiniku melted into the accompanying vegetables, making even the most basic lettuce and okra taste delicious and feel tender. The owners of this place have incredible dedication to their ingredients, even growing the okra themselves on their farm.
It’s hard to judge Wagyu Japanese Beef on the merits of a restaurant; it really is more of a specialty deli that lets you sample their goods before deciding to take home what part of the animal you prefer. Steaming or grilling is the best way to really let the Wagyu shine. With plans to bring in even Kagoshima beef (my personal favorite), and other regional Wagyu from Japan, this place definitely serves its purpose as a fine butcher and purveyor.