When I planned my trip from Mexico to Japan, my wife said she would treat me to a dinner in Kobe, to try the best of the best in steaks. After some research I chose Meriken Hatoba, being the #1 in Trip Advisor, but also due to the comments of the chef being very special.
Arriving to the restaurant was tricky, as it is located on a small street, like an alley. It gives it a special look, intimate from the start. We were greeted by the chef himself, master Sonoshi Okumoto, and quicky asked about our country of origin. He brought a Mexican flag right away and told us he’s a big fan of our country and “Lucha Libre” as he holds about 75 wrestler masks from famous wrestlers like “El Santo”. We loved that.
Restaurant is small, perhaps 10 seats and I believe we were lucky to get in without reservation, as at that time it was not full (I strongly recommend reservations to avoid any trouble).
Looking at the menu, we chose a plate including 130-150 grams of Kobe beef and sides of rice, vegetables, salad and soup. We also asked for two glasses of red wine and chose a local Kobe type. Steak was everything I expected, soft and buttery, perhaps a little bit too much pepper for me, but easy to wash on the meat juice on the plate to soften the flavor. The vegetables and sides were good, but steak was the king of the night (perhaps I should have asked for a meat only plate and skip the sides). Wine was also amazing, great pair for the dinner. Price for the whole meal (2 people) was about $140 dollars, which I believe is a fair price for the great food we had.
We met a couple from Malaysia and got to chat with them to share travel tips and talk about the food.
Tipping in Japan is not accepted, but we brought some Mexican candy to give away to people giving us a great service. We shared some with Sonoshi-san, his team, and also with our Malaysian friends. We hope they enjoyed them, and hope to return soon to Kobe and Meriken Hatoba.
Muchas gracias, Maestro Sonoshi !!
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