“It was when I was seven or eight, I was the first in a race on a sport day,” says Haruka Katayanagi, chef and owner of Oniku Karyu in Tokyo. “My father grilled wagyu steak for the first time. I still remember it clearly.”
Chef Katayanagi took that memory and devotion to wagyu and brought it to Oniku Karyu. The restaurant features wagyu beef from all over Japan, but they are all of the kuroge variety, known to be the best breed of cattle in the world. The color, glossiness, softness, and marbling of kuroge wagyu is superior to other breeds, according to Katayanagi.
After breaking down each piece of meat, the chef shows us how he makes different dishes from each cut, with painstaking attention to detail — from the thickness of a slice to the temperature of the water to a custom flour blend. The dishes include beef tongue stew, Japanese beef sirloin and Chateaubriand shabu-shabu, white beef tripe and white asparagus with miso dressing, Japanese beef sukiyaki Chateaubriand, and Japanese beef rare cutlet.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a superior chef because I serve wagyu,” says Katayanagi. “But I am glad and honored to be able to serve people with such exclusive ingredients that many would consider a treat.”