When one thinks of exported Japanese food, one tends to imagine sushi, miso, and other dishes that have become so ingrained in the English lexicon that they no longer warrant italics.
One thing you almost definitely don’t consider when thinking about Japanese food is steak. Why would you? Steak is the territory of Western food, often associated specifically with American diners; Which is what makes the New York debut of Ikinari Steak – a Ginza-area chain – so much more surprising.
The chain’s original location in Ginza, which stands at just 65 meters squared – barely large enough to raise a fork to your mouth without hitting someone in the jaw – apparently sees about 500 customers per day. That’s a huge number considering the insane competition in Tokyo at large and, more specifically, in Ginza, which is well known for quality diners, cafes and restaurants.
Because Ikinari Steak (the name meaning, appropriately, “Sudden Steak”) has no tables and is standing room only, it boasts an extremely quick customer turnaround, with the average visit lasting 30 minutes or less, so the line outside – and there is always a line – tends to evaporate more quickly than expected.
Japanese media speculates that part of the restaurant’s viability can be attributed to the commercial success of the Ore No series of Italian, French and Japanese food parlors run by famous chefs in cramped quarters. That chain of restaurants has passed savings on to customers by maintaining super high quality food offerings while cutting out traditional restaurant expenses like tables and chairs, forcing hungry-yet-willing customers to stand while they eat.
Ikinari Steak follows suit, giving customers a hell of a deal with huge steak portions that amount to around 5 yen (US$.05) per gram. Time will tell, of course, if Ikinari Steak’s New York outing is fortune or folly; Because, obesity numbers prove, Americans (this writer among them) will eat just about anything once, but we are surprisingly picky about red meat.
Source: Yahoo! Japan
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