The Wonders of WagyuCover Story
November 22, 2020
Story By: Nicole Monton | Photos by: RESTAURANT SUNTORY
Restaurant Suntory is all about keeping its customers top of mind. This past September, the much-loved eatery celebrated its 40th year of serving locals and visitors, and had planned a big celebration to commemorate the milestone. And while COVID-19 might have put festivities on hold, the establishment continues its mission to put its patrons first in all it does, and feels an overwhelming gratitude for the kamaaina who have stepped up to fill their bellies with the best authentic Japanese food in town during the locale’s updated lunch and dinner hours (see the contact box for details).
“We saw huge support from locals, who dined in or ordered takeout, and we are moved by that,” shares assistant manager Asami Saka. “It doesn’t matter if we get to celebrate. Yes, it’s a big year for us, but it’s a big year to overcome for everyone, and we’re just really grateful to be here.”
To give back in a small way, Restaurant Suntory continues its 20 percent discount through December, which is perfect as families prepare for the holiday season.
“This is one of the few restaurants where you can taste traditional, authentic Japanese cuisine,” Saka adds.
It’s why she always likes to go for a simple item like the Kaiseki Course ($56). At Restaurant Suntory, this includes a little bit of everything — favorites known and loved around Japan — including sashimi, chawanmushi, Restaurant Suntory’s famous butterfish, steak and tempura.
There’s also lots to love on the teppan side, most popularly the Teppanyaki Miyazaki Wagyu Sirloin Set (starting at $96) that comes with veggies, salad, rice and miso soup. There’s also an option to add seafood, salmon, chicken and more. What sets this meal apart, is the signature Wagyu beef straight from the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan.
“The marbling is beyond comparison to any American beef,” Saka says. “Just the texture and sweetness, it kind of melts in your mouth. It’s one of the characteristics that makes this beef extraordinary.”
Fans of wagyu can also try a Miyazaki Wagyu Nabe Set (starting at $96) that comes with your choice of shabu shabu or sukiyaki, as well as kobachi, assorted sashimi, salad, chawanmushi and more.
Sukiyaki, Saka explains, has a stronger flavor due to the fact that it’s simmered in a sweeter soy sauce.
“You enjoy it by dipping into a raw egg, that’s the traditional way,” she adds.
The shabu shabu, meanwhile, is also done in the traditional way.
“No broths are used,” says Saka, noting hot pot as another one of her favorites at Restaurant Suntory. “Rather, there’s hot water boiling in a copper pot. You cook everything in there lightly, and you enjoy it with two homemade dipping sauces, a goma dare (sesame) or ponzu sauce.”
Of course, no visit to Restaurant Suntory would be complete without its signature sushi.
Due to the popularity of meals like the various sushi omakase courses (prices vary), reservations are highly recommended.
Finally, there’s a special Shunsaizen ($32) lunch set that features eight seasonal items.
“This is a little more casual, a smaller meal during lunch,” Saka says. “We always feature seasonal items that would be served in Japan.”
It’s important to note that Restaurant Suntory makes only 12 of these sets per day, so preordering is recommended.
Restaurant Suntory is in the process of installing its new highball machine in the bar area. This state-of-the-art contraption makes extra-crisp carbonated soda that’ll take all its highball cocktails (made with whiskey and soda) to the next level. These handcrafted libations will be the perfect addition to any meal at Restaurant Suntory, or for those just wanting to kick back and relax with something light and refreshing.