The bustling town of Kamata, a suburban neighborhood lying between Yokohama and Tokyo, offers plenty of spots within an old-time atmosphere for after-work drinks or a few games of pachinko to help ease the memories of a bad day. So Metropolis was delighted when we received an invitation to head down and try out a brand spanking new teppanyaki place, Sasaya, which is only a few minutes walk from Kamata Station. Part of the Spice Works restaurant empire, Sasaya aims to bring a touch of old Tokyo nostalgia to the good folk of Kamata and its surrounding areas.
Located in a beautiful old wooden building, which dates back to the Meiji era, Sasaya is a casual dining space aiming to bring teppanyaki and izakaya fare to the masses. The carefully decorated two-story space has Japanese lanterns and patterns adorning the restaurant that reflect this period, and overall, is the perfect place for families and colleagues to eat, drink and be merry in a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
The all-Japanese menu, for some, could be quite challenging with raw horse meat being the house specialty. In a feeble attempt to fit in, we tried a starter plate consisting of minced raw horse meat, okura, natto and a raw egg, mixed together with a dash of soy sauce. As expected, the texture was quite slimy but the overall taste was rather light and easily washed down with some Suntory Malts beer. The peppery Taiwanese fried chicken, however, was glorious. Served with scissors, customers are encouraged to cut up the large chicken cutlet by themselves which adds a bit of theater to the experience. Next up was the beef tendon gyoza, served with a mountain of bean sprouts. Japanese gyoza traditionally uses pork so this was a bit of a modern twist on a classic. The meat was soft but packed a strong, slightly pungent punch.
The star of the show, however, was the huge sirloin steak which, as we were upstairs and away from the main kitchen on the ground floor, was presented tableside on a portable teppanyaki hot plate with the chef expertly cooking, seasoning and cutting the meat in front of you. Again, a bit of theater and performance to make Sasaya definitely a place worth visiting. The lightly cooked steak was perfectly tender and came served with a lovely citrusy dipping sauce. The final dish can only be described as a grilled onigiri pizza, which sounds bizarre but hit the spot. The drinks menu is extensive enough, with some Mega Highballs on offer for the thirstier customer, and after a few glasses of sake later our night at Sasaya came to an end. It’s a great wee local place and if you live nearby or on the Keihin Tohoku line then it’s definitely a spot worthy of putting on your radar.
Address: 144-0052 Tokyo, Ōta, Kamata, 5 Chome−16−6, マルキビル1F Telephone: 03-3730-6500