Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ootsuka おおつか : Hidden Wagyu Rated No.1 Tripadvisor Japan

Thanks to my good friend Pearlyn’s recommendation, I could indulge in the premium Wagyu beef without breaking my wallet. Ootsuka is a very exclusively hidden place situated in the quiet residential estates about 20-25minutes walk away from Kyofuku Line Arashiyama Station.
If you are not familiar with the place, you might easily walk past the restaurant thinking that it is just another private house. One feels very relaxed dining at Ootsuka because it doesn’t remind you that you are eating at a restaurant until the moment you pay at the cashier. Even the toilet is so nicely decorated! (Yes, do check out their toilets too haha)
Ootsuka is not listed on most guidebooks, which would name several tofu restaurants instead when it comes to gourmet in Arashiyama. That said, Ootsuka was rated the No.1 popular restaurant on tripadvisor japan. With just three family tables and 5 counter table seats, this place can become crowded during peak hours and thus it is best to place a reservation to avoid disappointment.  Lunch sets start from a super reasonable price of 1000 yen and would not exceed 5800 yen for the most expensive dish--  150g of Murasawa A5 Wagyu Steak that comes in a set with rice, soup and salad.
From the teishoku section, my favourite was the Roast Beef Rice Bowl (1500 yen) that boasted an alluring pink as the meat is only treated with a light sear and retained a soft chewiness. Some people might find this a bit raw but it was not too lean. See top pic for close up shot of this bowl of deliciousness!
The Beef Tendon (1000 yen) looked quite dry at first but I was surprised by that the meat was interspersed with fats that disintegrated in my mouth without any chewing. This is quite good for people who are not huge fans of beef because there are other ingredients such as eggs and tofu.
For a more satisfying meat experience, go for the Roast Beef or this Japanese short plate beef set (1500 yen) where the rice grains soaked up some of the mildly sweet sauce and natural oil/juices that seeped from the beef atop.
All the steaks are served on sizzling hot plates in two sizes; 100g and 150g. Just get the 150g because they are so good you’ll be crying for more if there was only 100g.
Besides the prime Japanese Beef that is used for most dishes, the chef-owner also uses A4 grade Kuroge (Black Hair) Wagyu and Murasawa Wagyu. The Murasawa might not be as popular as Kobe or Matsuzaka Beef but the marbling of fats and lean meat met my ideal proportion. They are soft, tender but not too greasy as if you were swallowing a whole cube of butter.  
In fact, the chuck flap steak is already a decently good cut at 3000 yen for 150g or 2200 yen for 100g. Those who don’t wish to invest too much money can opt for this without getting short-changed for the quality. I can’t tell which cut is which now from the pictures I took but it doesn’t really matter because everything is good.

Ootsuka おおつか
20-10 Sagatenryūji Setogawachō, Ukyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 616-8376, Japan
Lunch 11am-3pm
Tel: 075-864-7989 (Reservations are HIGHLY recommended)
English Menu is Available

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