*Disclaimer* Not suitable for vegetarian audiences, viewer discretion advised :)
There's a new kid in town, and he's flashing a lot of flesh around. And by flesh, we mean, juicy slices of marbled snowflake fat-laced Wagyu. The first overseas venture for the renowned Japanese chain, we lucky Hong Kongers are the first to taste Yakiniku GREAT's signature buttery Wagyu outside the Land of the Rising Sun. Specialising in Kuroge Wagyu, a specific breed of black-haired Japanese bovine, the carefully selected menu by Chef Shoji Tsugawa is full of exotic and tantalising cuts. Every culture has their own ways of butchery, and the Japanese are no different. Hovering above the open kitchen studio, are two giant murals of cows, illustrating the various ways to enjoy these divine creatures. When it comes to Wagyu, images of luscious fat-laced cuts of buttery beef automatically materialise, although, Yakiniku GREAT also offers leaner cuts of Wagyu to challenge this widely perceived notion. Fattier cuts are labeled on the menu with black stars, while the leaner slices are marked with red stars.
Meat Orgy: Even before we ordered, we were offered complimentary Wagyu aburi sushi to entice our appetites. Each blushing pink morsel melted into the vinegary rice. There are some usual suspects that we always order when it comes to yakiniku, so we couldn't resist the kalbi ($228), the chuck roll ($198) and the beef tongue ($158), all in thick prime cuts. Our server was wonderfully attentive, and explained to us the various ways of grilling before buttering up our sizzling grill with a thick piece of Wagyu fat that literally melted away before our eyes.
The texture and fine marbling of the meats can definitely rival the finest establishments in Tokyo and Kyoto, two cities we love frequenting for their refined cuisine. As a counterbalance to our guilty meat indulgences, we also crunched on refreshing Japanese tomato salad ($98) as well as grilled up an assortment of vegetables ($98) alongside a small saucepan of garlic cloves ($60) simmered in sesame oil and butter. The latter, was the perfect sweet compliment to the beef.
The highlight of the meal has to be the Misuji ($298), the most popular cut of beef in Japan. The category A5 Wagyu with characteristic snowflake marbling was cut wafer thin and only needed 3 seconds on the grill for each side. In fact, our server was so particular that we get the grilling right that she grilled up these precious slices for us. The texture of the meat can only be described as euphoria. Each bite felt like biting into a buttery pillow of succulent meatiness. This is really the pinnacle of meat experiences.
Luckily, we got to experience this over and over again with the Kyoto-style yaki-shabu ($228), a similarly textured rib roast in sukiyaki sauce, grilled and then dunked in an “egg souffle” bath.
The great Misuji rice ($198) was a thick juicy cut of prime beef, grilled tableside and dipped in a sweet sauce before resting on a bed of rice. The buttery meaty juices blended well with the rice, and we were asked to only eat half the portion before a savoury tea was pour over the rest. The result, the best Wagyu rice congee soup ever!
Although decadent, we didn't feel particularly guilty after our meat escapade, as Wagyu is full of monounsaturated fats that actually reduce cholesterol and heart disease...so you can say, we were eating our way to health! We concluded our memorable glutton's feast with subtle matcha pudding topped with azuki and mochi ($38) and brown sugar ice cream ($38).
Verdict: This is true carnivore paradise. Yakiniku GREAT is where beef is done right, where only the best quality Wagyu are served. So far, this is the best representation of Japanese yakiniku we've seen in Hong Kong. We'll be back to try the omakase premium kishou bui!
Yakiniku GREAT, Unit 1, G/F, Manhattan Avenue, 255 Queen's Road Central, 3565 6129