In efforts to fill all the gaps of trying all types of food Japan is known for, we searched for an affordable place to try wagyu beef. I mean, we couldn’t leave Japan without having some beef! We had done some research and decided that kobe would be saved for the next trip.
Gyuzen was a little difficult to find since we were new to Kyoto’s bearings, having only spent a couple of hours there, and we were a little unprepared as Gogyo (our original dinner plan) had been closed for renovations. Nevertheless, in one of the commercial buildings, we finally set foot in the more traditionally-designed interiors of Gyuzen. Considering its closeness to an equally traditional area, Gyuzen’s interiors gave a great continuation of the traditional streets in Gion.
We decided on the option to have both the shabu shabu (in boiling broth), as well as sukiyaki (grilling on the cast-iron pan with a thicker, slightly sweet sauce).
Regarding the freshness of the food, it was good in terms of all-you-can-eat, but perhaps not of the best quality on a whole. The beef however was extremely tender, melt-in-your-mouth, and fatty, without being overly so. The sauces were just sweet and salty enough to create a great and rich flavour with the beef in the sukiyaki without overpowering the meat and losing all the beefy flavour.
I have to say that the shabu shabu was no big deal, and was a little average, but that’s also because we tend to love hot pot at home, with which we can buy fresher and better quality ingredients. We definitely appreciated that they refilled the shabu shabu with broth as opposed to hot water (as some hot pot places will).
The rest of the food included various vegetables, tofu, other soy-based products, fungi, other types of meat, and so forth.
The service was average, didn’t wow us, but keep in mind, this is an ACYE restaurant. As with all service industry in Japan, they are always polite.
If you’re looking for some quick, wagyu beef without dishing out too much money, this is definitely a place to look into!
Atmosphere: traditional, casual, cozy