The last thing you’d expect to find in a small, dark basement in an obscure part of Shibuya is a premium A5 wagyu burger. Yet that’s just the jewel you’ll stumble upon if you trek beyond Shibuya station’s West Gate, past the Nishiguchi Bridge. Joy! Joy!
But for me, joy slowly dissipates as I learn they’ve sold out of what my heart and stomach yearn for. Although the A5 wagyu burgers (200g for ¥1,400 or 400g for ¥2,000) have all been claimed, lunch is still available and other options include a wagyu beef bowl (¥1,400), a Korean dish (¥1,300) and curry.
My fixation is only on wagyu, so the rest is completely lost in translation. The beef bowl it is. Six magnificent slices of roasted wagyu, wasabi and ginger on a bed of rice and sweet soy sauce are presented with accompanying miso soup, salad and a small plate of vegetables.
The dinner menu is also available in English and dishes include, but are not limited to, extreme rump steak 200g (¥1,800), japanese inside skirt steak (¥1,680), sashimi of beef carpaccio (¥1,200) and soft beef stew in red wine (¥1,180).
The bar is cozy, and would be a natural choice for “in-the-know” students, cashed-up salary men or a secret society of poets. Inconspicuous and blending in with its surroundings, the hippie music is an odd choice. But considering this dark basement is home to premium beef and white walls adorned with rainbow-colored cows, it suits. It’s a scene straight out of a Haruki Murakami novel, where cows fly, sheep dance and people can feast on A5 wagyu burgers in secret cellars.
Though my quest for the A5 wagyu burger was foiled, a number of days later I’m finally able to sample the treat. It’s as juicy, succulent and delicious as one would hope: Two hundred grams of A5-grade goodness, floating in a vinegar-and-soy sauce, topped with radish and sprinkled with spring onion. Because the reward has been delayed, it tastes even sweeter.
Time to wake up! Snap out of the dream! Maybe it was not a dream after all. Two doses of wagyu beef in one week. Ready to conquer the world!
24-8 1F Sakuragao-katyo, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03 3464 0803. Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm, Dinner 5:30-11pm. Nearest station: Shibuya. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/gay5801/