Kobe beef Tor Road Steak Aoyama in Kobe
There is something magical about the way Japanese people handle food…You can feel the amount of focus, respect and attention a cook gives when dealing with ingredients: cutting, assembling, grilling, cooking, serving, cleaning…all those phases seem equally important. The same happens in sushi restaurants or other joints where people serve food in front of you. It’s always an exceptional experience. Whenever we can, we sit on the counter so we get the chance to admire this artistry over and over.
Kobe beef restaurants
Kobe beef is a national anthem and in Kobe itself you can probably find plenty of good places. But nothing comes without a price. We also tried another Kobe beef joint, more commercial, bigger and much cheaper, but the difference in experience couldn’t have been bigger, so the disappointment as well. Don’t even bother to go and try Kobe beef if you don’t want to spend money, don’t step into a tourist trap.
Tor Road Steak Aoyama
Tor Road Steak Aoyama is a small and friendly family run place on Tor Road. The beef is prepared and grilled in front of you by the owners’s son while the rest of the menu is being served by his very kind mother. Reservations are a must, book well in advance – the easiest is via their facebook page.
We took the dinner menu course of 12000 yen (97 euro) p.p. which included a soup, carpaccio, the beef itself (160gr), salad, rice desert and coffee. There is also a wine menu.
You sit next to each other and in front of you there is a grill plate on which the cook prepares the beef. After the entrees you get presented the raw ingredients (see picture above): vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and the beef itself. The cook first starts with the veggies and the tofu, then cuts the beef into small cubes and grills them carefully on each side to perfection. In a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere he chit-chats while finishing up the dishes. He then serves the garlic slices previously grilled together with the beef cubes. The light ponzu sauce with salt are the only toppings. And honestly, nothing more is needed, it’s heaven on earth!
The silver cutlery and tableware are vintage and some of the plates had been damaged during the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995, the mother explained us. Instead of throwing them away she made them restore using the Kintsugi technique. So the plates from which you eat have a lot of history and memories associated with them. We learned that this is how Japanese people deal with disasters: by keeping the memories instead of forgetting about them.
Tor Road Steak Aoyama is a great small place with very warm and friendly owners. We sure want go back when we have a chance. We last visited in 2017 and hope next time will have better images 😉
What else do to in Kobe?
Related to the topic of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, we deeply advise you to go and see the The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (人と防災未来センター). In this museum we learned and witnessed what an earthquake can do and how it works and how Japanese people learn to live with it, how disaster prevention works.
P.S. While in Kobe please go and see the mighty Akashi Kaikyō – the biggest suspension bridge inn the world. 🙂