[Tokyo] Shima 島 - The Best Steak I've Ever Had!
Hidden in a basement of an office building, Shima wasn't exactly easy to find with a small discreet sign in front of Tully's. We had to wait outside for 30 minutes pass our reservation time because apparently the people occupying our table wouldn't leave. The lady receptionist was very apologetic about it though and she kept apologizing even as she ushered us into the elevator. The decor at the restaurant was homey and low-key with 6 seats at the counter and a few tables on the side. Standing behind the counter was Chef Oshima Manabu who was the nicest and friendliest chef ever as he spoke good English and was very hospitable to us. He selects his cattle personally from farms near his hometown Kyoto and grills the beef on binchotan which turns out to be the best steak I've ever had! Best of all, the prices are very reasonable here as the chef only charges ¥13,000 (US$120) per 150g of beef compared to the famous introduction-only Kawamura where I hear a meal can easily cost US$1000 per person.
The menu was simple with a small selection of appetizers and mains (including steaks which is what we are here for). Two kinds of steaks are available - sirloin or fillet - and the chef came by to show us the beef that he uses for the steaks. For sirloin, he uses a Kobe beef from Tajima (Japanese black) cows which are highly prized for its pure bloodline and for fillet, a wagyu from around Kyoto. We ended up getting one of each and true to what we've heard, the chef didn't try to oversell us and assured us that 150g was enough for each of us.
After we placed our orders, the meat were weighed in front of us to show us what we will be getting. It wasn't until I checked my pictures later that I realized the chef gave us 200g of beef each but only charged us for the price of 150g.
We ended up trying two appetizers that were recommended by the chef as they were not on the printed menu. The first was a white asparagus cooked with eggs and drizzled with oil and vinegar. I liked the flavors of the simple dish but the white asparagus seemed past its prime and a bit overcooked.
The deep-fried crab croquette was crispy with a delicious creamy filling of crab meat.
Finally, our steaks arrived next! Both steaks were beautifully grilled on the outside with a medium rare center. Initially we were afraid that the fillet would be too lean but it turned out to be just right with delicate and subtle flavors.
Check out the beautiful color on our fillet!
In comparison, the sirloin was fattier with more marbling and it was equally delicious in its own way.
We were full after our steaks so we moved onto desserts where you can choose from a few options. I went for the custard pudding with caramel and fruits while J chose ice cream.
The petit fours were surprisingly delicious actually.
At the end of our meal, we received a take-away gift from the chef! I had heard that people would get a steak sandwich for takeaway at Shima, but maybe he had run out of the sandwich as we ended up getting a homemade cheesecake instead.
Bonus video of the chef preparing our steaks!
3-5-12 Nihonbashi Chuo Tokyo
東京都 中央区 日本橋 3-5-12 日本橋ＭＭビル Ｂ１Ｆ
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