Steak House Satou – A5 Matsuzaka Beef

by Ed Lau on August 28, 2008

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

There’s steak…and then there’s steak.

Japan is home to some of the most famous and expensive cuts of beef known to man. I’m sure everyone has heard of Kobe beef as Kobe is one of several regions that produces high grade Wagyu cattle. A5 Wagyu doesn’t come exclusively from Kobe as some are led to believe. In fact, there’s regions of America and Australia that also produce high grade Wagyu cattle. The main difference is the marbling and distribution of fat compared to regular cattle, making for not only a more tender and flavorful meat but, despite the higher fat content, a meat that has a higher ratio of omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats.

It isn’t uncommon for the prices to reach stratospheric figures. In my search for a decent restaurant that serves A5 Wagyu steaks, I came across several places that charge $200, $300 or as high as $500 for a set dinner that includes a mere 8 or 10-ounce steak. I’m sure the rest of the meal is fantastic too but c’mon, we’re only here for the beef, people. However, I’m sure I would’ve been up for going to one of these places had I not heard about Steak House Satou.

I originally read about the Kichijoji restaurant on fellow REVscene member Paul’s travel blog, where he said a rather large lunch set was a mere 5000Y and used a great cut of A5 Matsuzaka beef. He also mentioned that the line-up for lunch is commonly 30 minutes. After lining up for more than two hours for sushi at Sushi Dai on two separate occasions, I had had enough of lining up altogether and opted to go for dinner, which is slightly more expensive.

Kichijoji is about eight stops away from Shinjuku station on the Chou Line and a very interesting and busy area of town despite being a bit far from most major stations. However, if you’re not familiar with the area, you might easily end up a tad lost. Carl and I managed to find Steak House Satou but it was more of an accident than navigational skill. I’m not exactly sure how to give directions but head north out the central exit from Kichijoji station and you’re bound to hit it. If not, ask a local about “Satou Nikuya” (the meat shop below the restaurant) and they should point you in the right direction.

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

The restaurant is located up a very steep and narrow flight of stairs with steps so small they could barely fit my toes let alone my size 11 feet. Walking up isn’t too difficult if you’re holding onto the railings but the descent is downright frightening! There are three or four tables and about six or seven seats at the counter for this small establishment so on busy days, get there early or you will have to wait on the scary steps for a spot. They don’t take reservations…or accept credit cards.

The dinner menu is a bit more complicated than the lunch one. There are three cuts of beef…a sirloin, a premium Matsu A5 and the tenderloin A5. Then you choose how big of a steal you want (180g, 270g and 360g). Carl chose a 270g sirloin set (8400Y) while I went with a 270g Matsu set (12000Y), which is a slightly better cut of beef. All meals come with a salad, miso soup, a bottomless bowl of rice and a big pile of bean sprouts and various veggies as well as a drink of your choice.

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

Before eating all this meat, having a salad is quite refreshing.

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

This is Carl’s set, the 270g sirloin.

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

And this is mine, a 270g Matsu set. I also really enjoyed those little fried garlic chips on top of the bean sprouts.

The meat is amazing. The beef is tender enough for you to not actually have to chew any of these little cubes. Simply pressing them with your tongue in your mouth is enough for them to almost explode with flavor. An incredibly juicy steak, cooked a perfect medium rare. Don’t bother if you’re going to order anything more cooked than a medium. Having one of these steaks well done would just be a waste. It has to remain uncooked in the middle for you to really get at the flavor of the meat. Amazing…one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.

Steak House Satou, matsuzaka, beef, A5, wagyu, kobe beef, Tokyo, Japan

As for the difference between Carl’s meal and mine…I traded him a cube of mine for one of his and noticed that mine was more tender, probably with a bit more of that marbled fat content. If you look closely at the picture of Carl’s meal, you can see the grain of the meat in the cube that’s sort of standing up…whereas the in the close-up above of one of mine, it’s all rather even. My meal also included little clippings of extra beef and fat that practically melt when you stuff them in your hot bowl of rice. Either way, it’s tough to go wrong with any meal when the beef is of this sort of quality.

Service was great as our waitress (who we thought was really cute, by the way) spoke a little English and was quite understanding and friendly to the silly foreigners who spoke such terrible Japanese. There wasn’t a line when we arrived but there was a good 10-12 people waiting by the time we were ready to leave…and I can see why. A fantastic meal that won’t break the bank compared to other restaurants in Tokyo serving A5 grade beef. A 10-ounce (270g is about that much) isn’t a huge meal but probably due to the higher fat content, I was stuffed when I finished my set.

Definitely a must visit for foodies in Tokyo…y’know, if you’re not a silly vegetarian.

in Food and Fine Dining,Travel

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul August 28, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Damn…makes me wanna go back to Tokyo right now!

I think the steak I had for 5000yen for lunch must have been of the 8400yen quality, and it was only 180 grams. Your steak looks really amazing, and you seem to be enjoying tremendously. Congrats!

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Michael Kwan August 28, 2008 at 9:34 pm

That looks really good. The beansprouts and stuff, not so much, but the steak looks to be loads better quality than a Gotham or Morton’s.

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Carl August 29, 2008 at 9:42 am

Hmm for some reason my reply is not showing up here…

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Ed Lau August 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

I don’t see anything in Akismet.

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Carl August 29, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Weird.. I linked to the restaurant I ate at in Kobe after you had left… It was more expensive than this place, but IMHO it is noticeably better in every way. They even fry up the bean sprouts in some of the extra fat that is trimmed off the steaks – YUM!

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Greg from self improvement http://betterlife-seeker.com September 1, 2008 at 5:26 am

Wow, this food looks lovely. What can I say, Yummy :)

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Grace November 9, 2011 at 2:36 am

I just came back from having Matsuzaka Beef in Satou. I regret to say that it was a very disappointing experience.

My waiter/chef told me that the only Matsuzaka Beef option in the menu was the 10,000 yen dish, the most expensive one, of course. I was confused because from reading some reviews, I thought they had cheaper cuts on the menu. After doing further research, it is most likely that he lied and took advantage of a tourist in order to make more money.

Even though I ordered the 10,000 set, I got half the portion that is shown above in this blog. The beef was good, but definitely not 10,000 yen good.

I liked the fried garlic that came with the dish so when I requested more, they gave me a FEW more pieces. When I got my check, I couldn’t believe that they charged me extra, especially for the price that I was paying for. Couldn’t they at least let me know beforehand? And no drinks were included with the set.

Satou Steak House may have been wonderful in the past, but since they got famous online, they probably didn’t care to give out good service and food anymore. They were going to make money either way.

Go at your own risk.

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S LLoyd May 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Japan is food paradise. Lucky you!
Question: on the strict aspect of beef for beef comparison, would you say it is pointless to spend big money on higher end places like dons de la nature, aragawa, etc? I mean, here in North America, as you probably already know, the diff between upscale steakhouse and a low key one can be discernible, mostly because one is using, say, usda prime and the other usda choice, one ages its beef, the other not, etc. Would that be the same thing in Tokyo? Also: how would u compare heavyweights like satou, dons de la nature, aragawa? Thanks

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koos habes January 31, 2015 at 7:03 am

It is a long time ago I enjoyed a matsusaka steak in one of the Suehiro restaurants in Osaka. . Expensive but I wont forget for the rest of my life. Unbelievable. This steak is said to be the best in the world and beter lthan the best US steak. Try Suehiro.

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