If you think you’ve eaten great beef, you probably have, but not as wonderful as the Hida beef at EN Japanese Brasserie!
It’s an incredibly rich, well marbled beef (think Kobe or Wagyu).
Raised in Gifu Prefecture, in the mountains of central Japan, where they say the 4 gallons of spring water the cattle drink in a day is responsible for the taste of the meat.
Another factor is that the Hida-gyu is raised for 14 months, almost twice as long as Wagyu beef.
Picture large black cattle prowling around the mountains, lapping up spring water for over a year, acquiring their signature “marbling, luster, color, texture and aroma.”
We got to try it four ways.
First up, slices cooked in a magnolia leaf with special local mirin, thinly sliced scallions and a hint of ginger, served on a grilled rice cake.
Across the room, a sushi chef draped the beef over flavored rice and hit it with a blow torch to give it a quick sear. Think about the best tuna sushi you’ve ever eaten and you get the picture.
Also raw, a version of steak tartare, with the beef cut in thin ribbons in a light sauce and garnished with uni and tiny pansies. A nice, light preparation of a rich meat.
My favorite dish was the fourth one. It was a trio of seared Hida beef slices, each topped with
something different. One with sea salt, another with Rokusuke salt (a umami blast made from preserved natural matsutake mushrooms, konbu kelp and preserved scallops, condensed with a secret technique and infused into the salt and not apparently sold in the US), the last with ponzu sauce (my favorite of the three).
And what goes better with great beef than sake? A dozen different types will also be launched in Manhattan and, like the beef, be available in limited quantities until they’re sold out.
For something non-alcoholic, there were glasses of iced cold-brew green tea. Not a fan of green tea, this changed my mind and those of most of the people standing around me. It was light and refreshing, not over-brewed, tannic or powdery-tasting and dull, like most green tea.
Sadly, like the Rokusuke salt, only available on your next trip to Gifu.
If this sounds delicious (and it was), you can experience it at seven local restaurants for two
weeks beginning September 8th or until supplies run out.
Raid your 401K (the beef is sold to restaurants at about $450 a pound) and go out and enjoy this