Kisoji is a budget chain to savour Wagyu and Shabu-shabu. They have many stores across Japan and have ventured outside. And the secret to their success was not the price, it was the service.
History of Kisoji
Kisoji (木曽路) was an old trade route in the Kiso Valley that stretched from Niekawa-juku in Nagano Prefecture to Magome-juku in Gifu Prefecture. There were eleven resting spots along the route, all of which became part of the Nakasendō when it was established.
Shabu-shabu is believed to have originated in the northern region of China. Shabu-shabu is a course prepared with carefully selected beef and seasonal vegetables. Compatible ingredients complement and accentuate the flavors of each other. No oil required. Simple preparation only involves pouring soup stock over ingredients. Prepared with lean meat with any excess fat removed and plenty of healthy steamed vegetables, shabu-shabu has an excellent nutritional balance.
Standard of Beef
Kisoji carefully selected premium, quality meat from various places around the country. Two types of beef were available – the well marbled Kuroge Wagyu and the superb quality Matsusaka beef.
Kobe, Ohmi, Matsuzaka and other highly coveted Japanese beef brands actually belong to a prized category known collectively as kuroge wagyu, which all hold the highest possible A5 beef ranking. Meat from this elite group is renowned for its sumptuous texture, rich taste, and superb aroma. Fine grain and excellent fat content, showcased by exceptional marbling, are also trademark kuroge wagyu traits that dazzle the connoisseur with every mouthwatering bite.
Matsusaka beef (松阪牛) is the meat of Japanese Black cattle reared under strict conditions in the Matsusaka region of Mie in Japan. It has a high fat-to-meat ratio. Within Japan, it is one of the three Sandai Wagyū, the “three big beefs”; the others are Kobe beef and Ohmi beef or Yonezawa beef. About 2500 cows are slaughtered for Matsusaka beef each year.
The secret sauce that Kisoji used is Gomadare, a sesame-based dipping sauce. Besides sesame, they used more than ten different spices, carefully selected and blended to make this sauce.
How To Enjoy Shabu-Shabu
The objective of Shabu-shabu is to enjoy each ingredient separately. The set came with starter, shabu-shabu (beef and vegetables), kishimen (noodles),
mochi (rice cake), rice, pickles, dessert
First, when the broth comes to a boil, pick up a slice of beef and swirl it around two or three times in the broth. When the meat turns pale pink, dip it in the Gomadare and eat it. You may want to add garlic, leek, scallions, or chilli to make the sauce tastier.
Next, put some fresh vegetable into the broth. When they’re ready, just dip them into the Ponzu sauce. Also, don’t cook everything at once. The purpose is to blanch and not overcooked the vegetables. Also everything has different cooking time.
After you’ve eaten the meat and vegetables, add the kishimen noodles and mochi 餅 rice cakes to the broth. When soft, take them out and put them into the bowl with a little broth.
Soup is even tastier if seasoned with salt and pepper. Remember, the Japanese eat their noodles and mochi separate from the vegetables and meat, and they take a lot of effort to make sure the broth becomes clear before they cook the noodles. Don’t ask for eggs or adding more insult, cook your beef with the noodles.
Once again, dessert was a simple slice of melon. But since it was Japanese Musk Melon, the quality and sweetness were out of this world.
Service in this place is immaculate. English friendly (menu, staff with simple understanding) and a wallet friendly price. No wonder there’s many foreigners and tourists in this restaurant.
Reservation recommended. And yes, the reception can understand English, so you do not need the concierge to book for you.
Shinjuku new Fuji Building 4 – 6F,
3-17-5, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku,
Tel : 03-3226-0667 (+81-3-3226-0667)
Subway Marunouchi Line Shinjukusanchome Station 1-minute walk
Date Visited : Dec 2017