Tsurugyu: A Taste of Kobe Beef in Osaka, Japan

Tsurugyu: A Taste of Kobe Beef in Osaka, Japan

It’s funny, I’ve written over 600 posts for this blog, but I’ve used the word “sublime” on just three occasions. One was to describe the climate-controlled charcuterie room at Spirals, and the other two were in reference to something other than the food I was describing, so they don’t count. In the past few days though, I feel like I’ve been using it in every other sentence when describing the dishes from our recent trip to Japan. I guess you can say that we liked the food?

I try not to overuse words to avoid sounding repetitive, but in this case, it can’t be helped. Because to describe Kobe beef using any other adjective would sound like an understatement. Yes, everything you’ve heard about it is true. Yes, it does melt in your mouth, And yes, it is THAT good.

Thanks to my friend Tom, who treated us to this amazing dinner as a 40th birthday present, we finally got a taste of this most legendary cut of meat.

To give you a quick background, Tom works as a purchasing agent at a five-star resort so he deals with many suppliers. Asking their meat purveyor for suggestions, this restaurant was one of two in Osaka that came highly recommended. Endorsed by a Japanese meat merchant to high-end resorts, can you get a better guarantee than that?

To start us off, Tom ordered two types of beef tongue, the first being this Australian wagyu. Apparently, it’s customary for the Japanese to start with tongue. Incredibly soft and almost squid-like in its tenderness, this piece of meat changed Ren’s perspective and made her reevaluate what her hypothetical last meal would be. 😆
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

The second type was this Kobe beef tongue cut from a different section of the organ. It was different in texture from the first but every bit as tender and delicious.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Grilling them up yakiniku-style. How good does that look? If this picture doesn’t make you salivate, then you’re either blind or dead.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

The Rolls Royce of meat, just check out the marbling on that thing! If I remember correctly, everything that we tried tonight other than the tongue was cut from either the belly, back, or shoulders. Those pieces on the right-hand side are their second most expensive cut on the menu, retailing at ¥3,000 for six pieces. Expensive I know, but worth it. Apparently, it’s a good deal for Kobe beef as well, which is one of the reasons why Tsurugyu came so highly recommended.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Interestingly, with every cut of meat came a different set of dips. Some were simple, others more elaborate with karashi and seaweed. No two dips were ever the same tonight, which told me just how important food pairing is to the Japanese. Here we are browning the meat to caramelized perfection.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

MWAHAHAHAHA!! 😈
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

And now for the really good stuff. Practically dissolving in your mouth, wars have been waged over less than this. Without question, this was the most sublime piece of meat that I have ever tasted in my life.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Not sure where this cut was from, but it came with toasted garlic chips and another set of sauces.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Grillin like a villain
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Now that we had gotten a taste of all the premium stuff, it was time to fill up. Less expensive than the previous cuts, this one was meant to be eaten with rice. You’ll see why in the next picture.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Just look at that thing! Almost half of it is fat! Delicious but way too unctuous to be eaten on its own, this was perfect when paired with rice. So unbelievably good and satisfying.
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

Finishing up the remaining pieces
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

You can’t have all that meat without eating some veggies right? After our meal, we were given these shots of vegetable juice. You know, for health and stuff. 😉
Kobe beef at Tsurugyu in Osaka, Japan

With this epic meal forever seared into our memories, I can’t thank Tom enough for this once-in-a-lifetime treat. Among all the dishes that we tried on this trip, this was by far the most unforgettable. I doubt we’ll be experiencing this again anytime soon, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

If you’ll be visiting Osaka and want to treat yourself to a special meal, then this is it. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It truly is…(wait for it)…sublime. 😀

On Kobe Beef Certification

A reader emailed us recently asking why Tsurugyu didn’t have a bronze plaque nor certificate guaranteeing that their meat was indeed Kobe Beef. He also pointed out that Tsurugyu isn’t on this WEBSITE that lists all the restaurants in Osaka certified to sell Kobe Beef.

I asked my Japanese friend about this and according to his aforementioned meat supplier, Tsurugyu hasn’t paid for the certification that allows them to advertise and sell their meat as Kobe Beef. This is why the “Kobe Beef” at Tsurugyu is priced considerably lower than establishments that do have that certification. His meat supplier did however guarantee at the time of our visit that Tsurugyu does serve genuine Kobe beef. They just can’t openly advertise nor price it as such because they don’t have that formal certification. Thanks to my friend, I guess we were just treated to a bit of insider knowledge.

With that said, I do understand that some diners may want to see an actual Kobe Beef certificate. If you’re one of those diners, then Tsurugyu isn’t for you. It’s best that you go elsewhere.

Tsurugyu

3-5-14 Kawarayamachi chuo-ku Osaka, Osaka 542-0066, Japan
Tel: +06-6767-2989
Website: tsurugyu.com
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 5PM-12MN
Expect to spend: ¥6,500 per person with drinks
Reservations: Not required, but a good idea

For more Osaka travel tips, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Osaka, Japan

 The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Osaka, Japan

For travel tips to Kyoto, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Kyoto, Japan

 The First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Kyoto, Japan

JB Macatulad

JB Macatulad

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.  He's the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.  Don't listen to him.
JB Macatulad


There are 22 comments for this article
  1. David F at 12:20 am

    Great post! I saw this last minute and decided to follow your advice. Tsurugyu was just amazing and open until very late. The service was fantastic as well. Highly recommended.

  2. jane at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Will be in Japan this December and looking to eat some authentic kobe beef at a reasonable price. I find Misono overrated and would love to try this. Problem is the website is japanese. Do they have english menu or picture that states it is kobe beef? Thanks. And from the map it seemed to be in namba area or just about 10minutes walk from there. Am I right?

  3. JB Macatulad at 4:11 pm

    Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by. To be honest with you, I don’t know. We were with my Japanese friend so he did all the ordering for us. I don’t recall even looking at the menu haha… But let me ask him. Will let you know soonest. 🙂

  4. JB Macatulad at 9:09 am

    Hi Jane, I asked my Japanese friend and this is what he said:

    “They have the certification of kobe beef. Actually, all restaurants that serve wagyu should have it. If the restaurant serve kobe beef, like tsurugyu, they should have wagyu certification and kobe beef certification. If you ask them to show the certification, they will. They locate in namba area, more specifically, they locate in nippon bashi area. It’s on mattchamachi suji. The closest subway station is nippon bashi or tanimachi 9 chome, either one.”

    As for an English menu, he’s not sure if they have one, but he did say that there are pictures of each cut of meat on the menu. Hope that helps. 🙂

  5. Jane at 10:27 pm

    Thank you so much JB. My family just got back from tsurugyu and we ordered the most expensive on the menu which was 3500yen then ordered other cuts which were less expensive like jou karubi, kalbi and barra. Very satisfied. Thank you for posting. Good thing we went tonight because they will close for 3days starting tomorrow Dec. 31. Thank you

  6. Julien at 7:15 pm

    After reading this article, my friends and I decided to go to Tsurugyu today. It was an amazing experience so thank you to have share this adress.

  7. JB Macatulad at 7:27 pm

    Happy you enjoyed it Julien! Tsurugyu is awesome. Thanks for stopping by and telling us about it. 🙂

  8. Jari at 5:49 pm

    Wow! This place looks awesome!
    Me and my buddy are going to Osaka in april and we will visit Tsurugyu, that´s a promise. =)

  9. Shelley at 8:47 pm

    Really very worth the trip. Beef very very yummy. Boss is a Korean so serve excellent kimchi and bibimbap too

  10. JB Macatulad at 9:07 am

    Hi Shelley, really? The owner of Tsurugyu is Korean? Had I known, I would have ordered some bibimbap as well. Thanks for the info! 🙂

  11. LomX at 3:42 pm

    Well sorry to say guys. They did serve kobe gyu but a normal kobe gyu. Which means they just happend to have a cow ranch in kobe. Which means you guys just ate the normal wagyu beef ????. Their quality is lower than A3 grade while the other listed kobe gyu restaurant has at least A3/ A4 and A5 kobe gyu on their list.

  12. JB Macatulad at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for clarifying LomX. This will be helpful to anyone who comes across this post. And no need to be sorry. Normal Kobe gyu notwithstanding, it was still the best beef I’ve ever tasted in my life. 🙂

  13. Hanna at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for the rec! It was just as you described – sublime!!!
    You mentioned this was one of 2 recommendations the meat purveyor gave, do you remember the other?

  14. JB Macatulad at 10:02 am

    Happy to hear that you enjoyed it Hanna! Sorry but I don’t remember the name of that second restaurant. I’ll ask my friend. Hopefully he still remembers. 🙂

  15. Trish at 8:07 pm

    Thanks to your blog, I had the tastiest beef I’ve never had in my life. My partner and I had a lovely time. Certificate or not, the service and food were impeccable. I’ll be drooling when I’m back in Aussie for this again. Thank you for your recommendation! 🙂

  16. JB Macatulad at 9:41 pm

    Happy to hear that Trish! The beef at Tsurugyu really is fantastic. Can’t wait to go back! 🙂

  17. Amie at 9:13 pm

    I just want to ask how do they eat kobe beef. Is it usually paired with rice or is it like the Korean’s that they wrap it in a lettuce.. or better alone? hehe thanks!

  18. JB Macatulad at 11:31 pm

    Hi Amie, each cut of meat is paired with different sauces. When we went, they only served rice for the very last cut of meat. It was the fattiest cut so they served rice to temper the unctuousness. 🙂

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