We were now heading to the main event of the night and the snow aged beef. If you are new to this concept as I was, allow me to quote the Andaz Tokyo Director of Food & Beverage who was kindly on-hand to explain: ‘Traditionally, in certain parts of Japan such as the colder Northern climes, in this case- Niigata, Japanese would use the consistent cold temperature of their outer buildings known as ‘Yukimuro’ to keep their winter store of vegetables, fruit, grains and of course, meat. With a constant temperature of 1-2°C and a humidity of over 95%, this allows the food to be stored without stressing the compounds. Essentially, foods go into protective mode to prevent freezing; starch in vegetables turn into sugar resulting in increased natural sweetness, while proteins in the meat are broken down, resulting in increased amino acids producing a quality wet aged meat.”
For me, Hokkaido beef needs no introduction and it was amazingly represented and grilled to perfection. To simply call it ‘Snow Aged’ is too prosaic a term for the magic that has been worked on this prime piece of meat, the texture is softer, more tender than what you have ever experienced due to the process. It packs brilliant flavors, soft and juicy. The accompanying sauces consisting of red wine and shallot butter, Snow Aged soy sauce with garlic, horseradish, and mineral salt from Australia, provide the kind of taste safari that will keep the most stubborn critic engaged.
Highly recommended to accompany the beef, are the roasted mushrooms (eringi, shiitake, shimoji and maitake) roasted and served in a bag, which locks in the flavor and freshness, once opened at the table provides a symphony of aromas, and together with some Snow Aged mashed potatoes completed the dish. Wonderful.