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A Delightful, Delicious Carniventure at GINZA SIX

Keiko Kodera

Ginza Six Editors Vol.9 (Food)

Some maybe 10 years ago, I declared meat to be the thing I would most want to eat for the final meal of my life. As the carnivore that I am, I’ve since continued to enjoy at least one kind of meat dish with every meal. I’m proud to declare that when I hear a place is serving delicious meat, I’m there—I move fast, whether north, south, east, or west. I also take pride in my resilient stomach, which is never discouraged despite this rigorous regimen. Today I’m heading to GINZA SIX because I’ve heard people say you can go on meat excursions in Ginza (something I like to call “carniventures”).

With its prestigious teppanyaki, steak, and other restaurants of the sort especially suited to special occasions, Ginza is truly a pioneering meat-lover’s holy land. Connoisseurs of refined palate and discerning eye assemble here. If you arrive at Ginza somewhat casually to go on a carniventure, your heart will no doubt swell with anticipation. First stop: Sukiyaki Gyu-Shabu Matsuju, esteemed for the pleasures provided there of shabu-shabu and sukiyaki with Matsusaka beef.

It’s often been said recently that we live in an era of brand-name beef. And hearing the name Matsusaka beef, the brand of brands, makes one’s mouth water. Purchased directly from Asahiya, the long-established Matsusaka beef wholesaler, this super beef is sliced right before you. The presentation alone is spectacular.

With Kansai-style sukiyaki, it’s standard practice to first brown the meat and add sugar and other seasonings. At this restaurant, a sukiyaki stock is used in the Kanto style. The beautiful marbled beef is simply majestic. There’s an ambrosial aura before you even start; mixing in the egg and taking the first bite is sheer heaven. The Matsusaka Beef A5 Sirloin (Asahiya) Course lets you choose either sukiyaki or shabu-shabu. It’s priced for lunch at 6,800 yen—a bargain that makes it all the more enjoyable.The Japanese Black Wagyu Courses start at 3,800 yen (lunch) and 4,800 yen (dinner). That’s stellar cost performance.

The menu’s variety is also appealing. It includes Beef Cutlet Gozen with Japanese black wagyu beef (2,200 yen with rice and red miso soup), a beef dish whose popularity has soared in the past several years, and Japanese-Style Stew (2,400 yen), which uses miso as its secret ingredient. (Beef Cutlet Gozen and Japanese-Style Stew are available only at Ginza Modern Terrace inside the GINZA GRAND Premium Food Hall.)

Having experienced a reaffirmation of the overwhelming brand power of Matsusaka beef with Matsuju’s sukiyaki, I’m now off to Sansui, a yakiniku chain with a flagship restaurant located in Kokubunji.

It’s often said that good yakiniku places are in out-of-the-way locations. Still, it’s unusual to come across a fabulous yakiniku restaurant somewhere unexpected. When you do, they’re usually family-run operations that have been around forever. Beloved of locals since its founding in 1976, Sansui remains one of the region’s hidden treasures. “One’s enemy is in Honnoji,” it’s said here in Japan—meaning one’s true purpose lies elsewhere. But if we’re talking meat, where we want to be is in Kokubunji—simply the place among yakiniku connoisseurs. I’m overjoyed, then, to partake of flavors from a town somewhat off the beaten path right here in Ginza. I enter the restaurant; what first meets my eye is a sign hanging on the wall, which states: “If you’re going to eat meat, make it good meat.” So, I order raw sliced and salted beef tongue (2,000 yen for four slices) and premium loin (2,400 yen for two slices). When they arrive, I’m convinced no words could be truer than those of that slogan.

The famous tongue pieces are sliced extra thick, and the premium loin slices are generously proportioned. More places these days are promoting their thick cuts and large slices, but Sansui has been hand-cutting its meat in this style for the past 40 years or longer, a practice that’s praiseworthy indeed. I often hear people say marbled beef sits a bit heavier in the stomach compared to when they were younger, but Sansui’s sirloin is more joy than trouble to any self-respecting stomach.With its homemade red-chili paste blended into a soy sauce base, the sauce is also marvelous. Surely, it’s irresistible to lovers of white rice. Seated at the GINZA SIX Sansui, it occurred to me I would have to get out to the flagship restaurant in Kokubunji, and I firmly resolved to do so.

The final stop on today’s carniventure is JASMINE Washinkansai, the sister restaurant of JASMINE, founded in Hiroo and with locations now in Nakameguro and Nihonbashi. All the JASMINE locations are packed daily. The Shanghai-based cuisine prepared by Chef Yusuke Yamaguchi has drawn rave reviews. I’d heard certain meat dishes were available only at the GINZA SIX location, so, of course, that is where I head.

The menu is loaded with mouthwatering meat dishes, including JASMINE’s famous Yodare Chicken (1,780 yen), pagoda-inspired Dongpo pork (3,600 yen) and crispy-fried Cantonese-style Kaoridori-brand chicken from Ibaraki Prefecture (2,800 yen).

To top off everything, I suppressed my desire to eat the Szechuan dandan noodles (the ones made by Chef Yamaguchi are the best!). Instead, I ordered an original item, Szechuan Sukiyaki (3,000 yen), a new style of sukiyaki in which spicy red-pepper sukiyaki sauce accents special premium loin and homemade green onion rice cakes. As the name Washinkansai suggests, Chef Yamaguchi’s Japanese-Chinese fusion menu is more than worth trying once if you’re a meat lover.

Of course, GINZA SIX offers many other highly distinctive restaurants and eateries. If you find yourself in Ginza, head to this culinary pavilion for your very own carniventure.

Text: Keiko Kodera Photos: Hajime Tomizawa Edit: Yuka Okada


Keiko Kodera

Born in Tokyo in 1980. Launched freelance career after working as a magazine editor for NIKITA (Shufu to Seikatsu Sha), Tokyo Calendar, and other media. Writes feature articles for various restaurant guides, culture magazines, and online sites in her role as a carnivore-and-writer who subsists on meat. Even after successfully losing 18 kilograms last year, her meat-eating continues, which, perhaps, explains a slight rebound in her weight. She fights the good low-carb diet-driven weight loss fight each day while maintaining a spirited commitment to her workout routine.
Sukiyaki beef shabu-shabu Matsushige (Ginza dining hall)

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JASMINE washinkansai
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2017.11.01 improves