OMI BEEF OKAKI
By : MELISSA RICHTER
25 February 2019
Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in Bangkok, and it can be difficult to differentiate between them at times, but Omi Beef Okaki is in a class all by itself. Located in the cute and stylish Thonglor community mall “9:53”, thisis the first restaurant in the world outside of the present-day Shiga prefecture in Japan to feature a “farm fresh” Omi beef signature menu. A shrine to “all things beef” it is a carnivores paradise, with an exquisite menu of high-end Japanese beef that rivals other famous brands such as Kobe and Matsuzaka.
The Bangkok location holds the unique distinction of being a certified seller of Omi beef and it doubles as a butcher shop where you can order and take home these premium cuts of meat. The venue itself is rather intimate and quaint, with only 7 small tables and an urban shop house vibe. Grey textured concrete slab walls dominate the room with low laying bench seating along one side and colorful throw pillows with Japanese landscape art that brightens up the space. Edison lights, and exposed ducting with an attached vacuum hose-like ventilation system floats above each table with inset cooking grills while the intoxicating smell of grilling beef permeates the air. There’s an open kitchen toward the rear, and the opposite wall is flanked by a see-through case full of their famous, never frozen, delicately marbled beef on display. The sound system churns out a steady stream of soothing “piano bar” style music, while the entire place resonates with a hum of actively, jovial conversation and excitement in the air.
We were happy to see that they offer bottle service where you purchase onsite and they keep what is left until your next visit. They also have a full range of beer, wine, sake and cocktails on offer such as the Nikka Ginger Highball or classic Gin & Tonic. We started off with the ice cold Asahi on tap and an appetizer of 8-hours Roasted Beef in low temperature. The blushing pink tender strips of beef are served with a generous amount of salt and pepper and is surprisingly delicate and flavorful at the same time. Owner Chef Taka is aiming to be the “best wagyu chef in the world” and his next offering of Ribeye Seared Tartar is bound to get him there. The beef is sliced paper thin, then blow torched slightly tableside so that some of the fats melt away while giving it a slight sear but keeping most of it rare. It literally melts in your mouth in a truly sensual and magical way.
All of the beef served comes from the Okaki ranch in Japan that has been managed by the same family for three generations since 1839. The quality is unprecedented, and the beef production is accounted for from the raising and feeding of the cattle to the living conditions and processing and shipping of the beef. They also use the entire cow, so you can get access to some offcuts that you will not find anywhere else. There is something for every price range when it comes to BBQ and we tried both the Well Marbling Shimofuri which is priced on the lower end and the 400g Prestige Assortment with five prime cuts on the high-priced end. The quality of the beef is apparent from that first ethereal bite. It’s a thrill ride of beefy emotions as each cut offers a different experience in texture, fattiness, and pleasure. The delectable meat is eaten slightly seared and best enjoyed with a red wine such as the Antares Merlot, 2015 from Chile which is served by the glass and is a much need counterbalance to the rich meat. We also recommend homemade Assorted Kimuchi with Radish, Cabbage & Cucumber. Its perfectly balanced pickling spices adds a powerhouse of flavor while still keeping the veggies crunchy and fresh. The menu also includes Omi beef sushi, noodles, rice bowls, as well as fried, grilled and stewed dishes featuring seafood and pork, but ultimately what you really want to indulge in when you come here is the luxurious Omi beef.
We ended our meal with the Yuzu Sorbet and Black Sesame Ice Cream, both of which were delightful. For a digestive, we recommend the Kuroishidake (potato) Shochu and a Suntory Whisky on the rocks. Open for both lunch and dinner, Omi Beef Okaki is heads and tails above their competition and one of the best places to get BBQ of this caliber outside of Japan. Reservations are absolutely required for both lunch (except the weekends) and dinner and seating is often booked months in advance. This is one of the best new restaurants to hit Bangkok in a while, and you will not be disappointed when you visit.