All Beefed Up: A new import straight from Kobe, Japan, Hong Kong’s new Yakiniku Ishidaya is the first global outpost of this famed beef restaurant brand.
Look & Feel: Tucked away in a commercial building in Central, Yakiniku Ishidaya is one of those places you have to know about to visit. Once inside though, you could almost fool yourself into thinking you’re in a hidden gem of a restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district. It’s all sleek black interiors, maze-like passageways, and – perhaps the best part – all tables are spaced out and somewhat separated, offering an unparalleled semblance of privacy.
On the Menu: Beef, beef, and more beef. Yakiniku Ishidaya is all about celebrating the finest Japanese meats, and oh, do they do it well. There’s an extensive a la carte menu offering beef any which way, along with a selection of premium seafood and vegetables, all of which are designed to be grilled up at your table for maximum freshness. There are also some lunch menus which – for the ingredients and location – are surprisingly well-priced.
Our lunch begins with the signature Ishidaya Salad, a light and surprisingly flavorful dish of green goodness and umami tastes; next up is the Roasted Wagyu Thin-Sliced, which is accompanied by a smattering of more green leaves – which are quite unnecessary, if we’re honest – but the melt-in-your mouth beef offers a hint of what’s to come.
In quick succession, a A5 Kobe Wagyu Rib-Eye, A5 Wagyu Chateaubriand, and Omakase Platter (featuring three types of marinated Wagyu) show up at our table. Luckily, a yakiniku master is also on hand to ensure that the meats are grilled to perfection at our table. And what perfection it is. The Rib-Eye is incredibly tender and perfectly offset by the duo of sauces we’re giving; the Chateaubriand is heavily marbled, offering a soft mouthfeel and fatty tenderness once cooked; and the Omakase Platter meats are so simply yet elegantly marianated that they only need the lightest coating of wasabi to become culinary perfection. Simply put, beef really doesn’t get better than this. The meal finishes on a high note with a massive bowl of Wagyu Cold Noodles, a refined take inspired by the classic soba noodles, and the refreshing dish is the perfect foil for the heavy meatiness and fattiness of the beef that came before.
All the food is, of course, accompanied by unlimited cups of green tea – as any Japanese restaurant worth its salt should offer – but there’s also a curated drinks list offering some surprising drops. We’re directed to a Japanese red wine – by Kashiwabara Vineyard – which we can’t quite make head or tails of since the labels are entirely in Japanese and (unfortunately, the only downfall of our experience) the server is unable to answer any questions about the wine. We take the gamble, though, and on first sip, we’re surprised by the light sweetness of the wine – later though, it becomes clear that the fruit-forward flavors – which lean heavily towards raspberry and candied apple – are good for tempering the fattiness of the beef.
Jeng: The food. This is high-quality Japanese beef, and it’s oh so good. We’re also big fans of the privacy afforded to each table.
Not So Jeng: The restaurant’s design leaves something to be desired – it’s a bit bare bones, but then perhaps that’s the point. Also, because of the setup, it feels like there isn’t much atmosphere.
Great For: Beefy dinners with friends.
FYI: While Yakiniku Ishidaya specializes in beef, there are other options for those that don’t want to indulge.
Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.
This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.