I was convinced by my friend join him for dinner at a local yakiniku restaurant in Soka City, Saitama. The problem was, he had forgotten where the restaurant was and in his carnivorous mood, I got the sense that if we didn't find it soon, he'd start salivating and howling at the moon...
With a trail of oral ooze behind him, he eventually found the place right by the local train station. Great. And the name? Yakiniku Kintare. Excellent. We entered what turned out to be quite a cosy and comfortable grilled meat restaurant. The subdued yellow lighting we walked into is a typical Japanese interior design feature, and immediately set us at ease.
The ensuing old school chit-chat was great - my friend is boisterous with a capital B - but I have to say that I was comfortably impressed with the food. Along with the Korean bibimbap as, yes, an appetiser, we ate well with beef cuts from Sendai and Yamagata. Tender, flavoursome and full of gentle, Japanese body, the plates of beef slices were a delight when we dipped them into the special tare sauce trays provided.
Yakiniku Kintare offers any number of beef cuts, a smorgasbord of courses including all-you-can-eat buffet ones, as well as side orders and set meals. Prices here begin at JPY1,200 for lunch sets and climb all the way up to JPY8,000 for premium course meals. Our Sendai and Yamagate cuts were JPY2,580, excluding tax. Had I noticed them, I would have definitely ordered the beef sushi pieces for JPY780.
A great place to enjoy some quality beef and late evening conversation, Yakiniku Kintare is a carnivore's delight, with or without friends howling at the moon.