Got Beef?

I GOT BEEF!  When I think of “Japanese beef”, I usually think of Kobe… but there’s a new cow in town: Ishigaki!  Ok, he’s been around for a while, but he is gaining popularity and you should know about him!

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He is from the island of Ishigaki- only an hour flight from Naha!!  According to this website, the cows are happy, healthy and stress free… my kind of cow!

Friday night was date night for my and my rock star husband and we chose to go to Jams in Onna Village.  Once we were seated I scanned the appetizers: Ishigaki Shashimi (raw beef)!!  My excitement level went through the roof… then my excitement bubble popped: sold out.  Of course.

I explained to my husband that I joined a new facebook group called: Natural Living Okinawa… and they let me in on the beef secret.  The “local” beef got my husbands attention and he started flipping through the menu.  He noticed that every “set” came with an upgrade: Ishigaki Beef!

Jams is a teppanyaki restraunt (where they cook on a grill in front of you) and has a massive menu with both set options and ala carte.  We ordered grilled oysters as an appetizer and the Hibiscus Set for dinner.  The set included curry soup, salad, 2 massive shrimps, 4 large scallops, 2 fillets of white fish, Ishigaki beef, bok choy, sprouts, local spinach, a purple rice cake, rice and vanilla ice cream for dessert.  We also had fresh fruit drinks (with fancy umbrellas)… our total came to a little over  $200– which is the same amount I spend at the commissary for a week of groceries… but- hey- it is date night!

I had planned on taking pictures, but I didn’t, sorry.  Heres the best I can do: the chef sliced the bright colorful veggies with precision and flare.  When he cooked the shrimp he took the shell and set it aside.  The shrimp was minimally seasoned and each bite was a perfect fusion of sea, butter and garlic!  The scallops literally melted in our mouths.  The white fish was good- it came with a thick sauce on top: different, but good.  And then— the steak.  The beef was marbled red and white with a thick white border of fat.  The chef trimmed the fat and set it aside then lighty seasoned the Ishigaki beef, grilled it, and served it in long medium rare strips.  There was two different “steak sauces”.  I didn’t use either, the steak was immaculate on its own!

Once all the food was served he brought the shrimp shell back to the center of the grill.  I didn’t give it much thought because I was in Ishigaki beef heaven.  He fried the shrimp shell, seasoned it and then put it on my plate.  Hmm.  In the best English he could muster he told me, “like a chip”.  It did not taste like any chip I have ever had… but then, I saw him reach for the fat he had cut off the steak.  He brought the fat to the center of the grill.  He diced it up, fried it, seasoned it… and gave it to us: Ohhhhh Eeeem Geeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

At some time during our taste buds climaxing a young Japanese couple sat down next to us.  They ordered the lobster.  Their lobster came out… alive.  Then the chef, well, cooked it.  It was shocking, disturbing and frankly it looked amazingly delicious!!!  If you have a special day to celebrate and you want to celebrate with a beautiful dinner, I highly recommend Jams… especially if someone else is paying!!!! 😉

Tootles-

jess

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