Saturday, July 4, 2009

Beacon, Shibuya

Last year on my birthday I thought 'I want steak. American-style steak.' As a result I ended up at 57. That wasn't bad, and it was inside an easy walk from the office (back in those heady daze when we all worked in Hillz), but I wish I had gone to Beacon. The steaks are better, the ambiance is more to my liking, and the prices are decent.

While we were having lunch, Koala asked me what kind of place Beacon is, and I said 'Ohhh, Oak Door-Two Rooms-57, you know', which is a description I stand behind. It's steak and comfort sides, modern-steak-house style, for foreigners.

I say 'modern steak house' as if it's an accepted genre; I don't know what steak houses are like in America these days, but all the Tokyo references provided are a good deal different from my Chicago favorites (Gibson's and Chop House, for the record). Beacon has a stylish bar, low lights, elegant, spare furnishings in warm colors, black-dressed staff, and a buncha meat.

That's unfair, there are other things too. Starters like wagyu carpaccio (oops...meat) and soft-shell crab were very American in their outlook. The carpaccio seemed to have Thousand Island dressing on it, while the crab had a thick, bubbly sort of fry coating that I initially thought was made from Rice Krispies (no). Nothing wrong with the taste, mind you, just a bit synthetic.

The meat was, in fact, the bomb (300g rib eye, at Y4400 the most expensive steak.proudly advertised as Australian.). I like steaks with a 'warm pink center', meaning every bit has been cooked at least a tiny bit. I would call this Medium, but noticed over years that restaurants seemed to go one level over the order, so started ordering Medium Rare. It worked a treat here. There was also a liberal coating of spice-laden dry rub whose constituents I couldn't name but included cumin, an edgy choice for a basic steak.

This being a (capitalize it) Steak House, you don't really get side dishes - my steak came with half a baked onion lightly crumbed over (which was tasty). That meant we needed to explore the rest of the menu, including mac 'n' cheese (made with mozzarella; very gooey and also quite good), zucchini and corn (nice summery combo) and spinach (plain and bitter; let the side down compared to a normal steakhouse spinach side, which I would expect the be heavily butter or creamed). A quick dessert of banana cream pie was a filo-ish shell loosely packed with the aforementioned custard and fruit, and it was a good, modern version, light enough to be suitable after steaks.

Beacon also keeps up with the competition by having a good wine program. There plenty of choices by the glass, at not-unreasonable prices. They also do carafes, and have a mid-sized list that I didn't delve into but is sure to include lots of New World stuff.

Geez, I didn't even remember to mention that it's part of TY Harbor, like the Shinagawa brewery or Hiroo's Cicada. Oh well. And i plum forgot to compare it to New York Grill (I should really get to Shinjuku more often!). I think, though, that if you want an 'international grill' restaurant, this is going to be your best price-quality ratio, and not at all short on the quality side.

03-6418-0077

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