Yakiniku restaurants, establishments where customers grill their own meat on tattoo inspiring little BBQs, are extremely popular in Japan. Here, customers can quickly cook up whatever cuts of meat they like from tongues to tails and everything in between.
It’s really a meat-lover’s paradise, as it cuts out all the excess like buns and toppings, and aside from an optional dipping sauce or marinated offering, focuses solely on the meat’s inherent flavor. On the other hand, yakiniku restaurants are often boisterous drinking establishments frequented by chain-smoking salarymen after a long day’s work.
Up until now, that’s always been part and parcel of the yakiniku experience, but one establishment in Osaka has decided to buck the trend and go all non-smoking and non-alcohol.
Sandaime Wakihiko Shoten Honten has only been open for a year now, and already gets booked up for three months at a time. They’ve also already opened a second location in Nagoya as of August this year.
Both locations operate on a membership system but are not as exclusive as they sound. By following their Facebook page it is possible to find openings for non-members as well.
For those not familiar with yakiniku restaurants in Japan it’s probably hard to imagine but this is actually quite a radical departure for this kind of eatery. Wakihiko says the reason for it is quite simply to allow the high quality of their meat, rice, and sauce to shine, without the aroma getting diluted by cigarette smoke or taste lost by an alcohol numbed tongue.
The demand for such a meat-intensive experience is certainly there, with the only drawback being lack of seating. But until more yakiniku restaurants follow suit, it looks worth the wait for a table at Wakihiko. Just get some of that yakiniku bath powder to hold you over until your reservation.
Sandaime Wakihiko Shoten Honten / 三代目 脇彦商店 本店
Osaka-shi, Fukushima-ku, Fukushima 2-10-22, Daiwa City Fukushima 1F
Hours: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Source: PRdesse, Facebook/Wakihiko
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