A favorite yakiniku haunt in Chicago for Japanese Major League Baseball players has now opened a Tokyo branch—after first hitting success in Osaka. Interestingly, it replaced Korean yakiniku veggie specialist Vegiton, that had rebranded itself from a high-end pork yakiniku restaurant just one year ago. Was there karma in this new incarnation? It was not for us to presume.
Waitresses in baseball jerseys welcomed our arrival and showed us the buffet table with kimchi, salads, roast beef and such. Once we sat, taking advantage of the all-you-can-eat menu, we grilled up a storm of their specialty wagyu and American beef hybrid’s thick-sliced premium tongue (¥1,880), boneless short plate (¥1,880), rib eye roll (¥2,580), rib finger (¥1,380), outside skirt (¥1,280), and spicy hot innards (¥1,180), which was recommended to eat with their specialty soy sauce-based dipping.
Their signature kalbi beef was quality indeed, but the salted tontoro (thinly-sliced pork belly, ¥1,280) with shredded and sesame-oiled negi became the favorite of everyone at the table. Perhaps it was due to the overwhelming amount of beef that had made our tastebuds long for pork and some vegetables to go with it. If we could be any more demanding, some greens to wrap the meat–an essential ingredient for any genuine Korean style BBQ–would have been appreciated. But this is Japan, and with people eating less of the veg and more of the meat, it seems like a trend that is hard to challenge.