Our first-time visitor to the popular Shizuoka hotel chain did a lot of homework first, but still suffered multiple shocks..

In Japanese the word sawayaka Meaning “refreshing”, it evokes feelings of a light and pleasant sensation, the kind you might get from a gentle breeze caressing your skin. So, just based on its name, you might imagine it’s a restaurant chain Swayaka It is a collection of elegant cafes, where you can sip chamomile tea while listening to the soothing sounds of the garden fountain.

In reality, though, Suwayaka is a place where your ears will be filled with the sizzle of hot plates on which countless meat meals are being cooked. Hamburger steak. Although there are only branches in Shizuoka PrefectureSawayaka has gained legendary status among hamburger steak lovers across the country, to a large degree It is not unusual for the wait for a table to arrive to take hours.

So, on a recent foray into Shizuoka Prefecture, our Japanese-language correspondent Ahironiko And founder of SoraNews24 Yoshio They cleared part of their schedule to have dinner at the Suwayaka branch. They were prepared for a big line, but got lucky when their visit coincided with heavy rain.

▼ Swaika

▼ Yoshio is in the Sawayaka parking lot (さわやか), looking like he just took a shower himself.

Due to the rain, not many people were willing to go out to dinner at the restaurant that night, and in fact the staff outnumbered the customers when Ahironeko and Yoshio entered.

In preparation for this meal, Ahironeko consulted fellow SoraNews24 reporter and Maru from Shizuoka, who gave him some advice on the best way to eat Sawayaka’s most popular menu item, the 1,265 yen (US$8.65) Ginkotsu hamburger steak, so it’s what they both want. He and Yoshio ordered. Ahironiko received his first (but not last) shock of the night when the servant brought his knife and fork to the table.

More than just cutlery, these weapons looked like epic weapons he was preparing in a fantasy RPG to do battle with a powerful boss enemy.

He got his next surprise when the server brought his food, and he found out Why is it called Ginkotsu Hamburger Steak. Genkotsu It is the Japanese word for “grip,” Rather than a modestly sized flat disc, the Ginkotsu Hamburger Steak is just that A fist-sized ball of meat.

This is also where Maru’s first piece of advice came from. The staff will ask you if you would like a steak cooked for you, and you must say “yes, please.” They’ll then ask you to place your napkin between the hot plate and yourself while they cut your Ginkotsu hamburger steak in half and finish grilling both pieces on the hot plate, with the sizzling sound and delicious smell sending your appetite into overdrive.

▼ Come to think of it, maybe the reason your knife/sword and fork/spear are so large is to give your server the access they need to do the cooking while standing at the edge of your table.

Now it’s time for Maru’s second piece of advice. The server will then ask if you want them to add Sawayaka’s special onion sauce, and you must say yes again, but only for half of your hamburger steak.

It’s the third tip, and it’s the really crucial one, Maru says. Obviously the plate will remain hot for some time. While this is great for keeping your food from getting cold while you eat, it also means that the meat will continue to cook while you place it on the plate. This is a no-no, says Marrow, because letting the meat cook too much will make the texture tough and hurt the flavor. On the other hand, cutting meat as quickly as possible is a waste of time. The Ginkotsu hamburger steak is a meal to be savored, especially if, like most Suwayaka customers, you have to wait a long time for it. So, Maru says, what you should do is use a fork and knife to place two pieces of hamburger steak on top of the vegetables, and remove them from the direct heat..

▼ This doesn’t do anything to prevent vegetables from overcooking, but let’s be honest — we’re not here for the broccoli.

Oh, and the second piece of hamburger steak, the one we left without any onion sauce? Maro’s fourth and final tip is to season it with salt and pepper only.

With all four items on the checklist completed, it’s time for Ahiruneko to dig in and try Sawayaka’s legendary hamburger steak for the first time! Excitedly, he picked up his knife.

…Cutting a bite, he got the next shock of the night…

…How rare the center was!

Although the outside was completely brown, the inside was so red that it looked practically raw. The texture was almost runny, and overall it reminded the ahironiko of marujo tataki or neji toro, the ground tuna belly used in sushi…except it was beef!

But he re-examined his notes and confirmed that he had done everything exactly It was also recommended by Maru, a multi-course expert at Suwayaka. And he couldn’t deny that the Genkotsu Hamburger steak was in front of him Its smell Tasty. He just wasn’t sure what he looked like. Remember, Ahironeko and Yoshio were in Shizuoka on business, and the next day their appointment was scheduled. This day was actually just a transit day, so if Ahironeko woke up the next morning with stomach cramps from eating such rare meat, Yoshio was really going to tear him apart, right? But on the other hand, Ahironeko’s heart was almost breaking at the prospect of him coming to Shizuoka and no Eat the famous hamburger steak at Suwayaka.

Looking at Sawayaka’s website, he read that while many restaurants in Japan use a combination of pre-ground beef and pork for their hamburger steaks, Sawayaka prides itself on using only 100 percent beef. He also buys Suwayaka Whole cuts of beef He grinds the meat himself, making sure there are no low-quality trimmings or miscellaneous cuts other than meat mixed into the hamburger steak, which puts Ahironiko’s mind at ease.

Filled with conflicting emotions, Ahironiko looked at Yoshio, to see if his boss was also grappling with such culinary conundrums. Instead, he saw his boss’s cheeks full of flesh and a smile on his face as he groaned:

“she is very wonderul…”

This settled the matter. If Yoshio was taking a risk, he couldn’t blame Ahironeko for doing the same, right? Ahironiko took a bite, and his reaction was:

“This is the most delicious hamburger steak I have ever eaten in my entire life.”

The thing he couldn’t get over was how good the meat itself was. Compared to a regular steak, a hamburger steak is generally a cheaper meal, and at a lot of the hamburger joints Ahironiko went to, the sauce was the star of the show. And make no mistake, the onion sauce at Suwayaka is amazing. But the genius of Maro’s half advice came when Ahironeko tried the part he left without sauce and added only salt and pepper. It was amazing, with a tender, almost sweet quality that you would never get with a regular steak. It was so good that Ahironeko felt like he was devouring the concept of meat itself, and the next time he goes to Suwayaka (yes, he’s already promised himself he’ll come back again someday), he’s tempted to add no extra seasoning at all to the Genkotsu steak Hamburger.

Well, it tasted great in his mouth, but how did it taste in his stomach? fine. The next morning both Ahiruneko and Yoshio woke up from their deep sleep induced bliss of beef with no stomach issues at all.

Of course, as is always the case with rare meats, the risk of digestive problems cannot be completely ruled out, so the decision to partake or not is one you will need to make yourself. For Ahiruniko, his first trip to Suwayaka was perfect.

Related: List of Swayaka locations
Photos ©Sura News 24
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(Read in Japanese)

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