I’m going to drop all pretenses and just come out and say this—this is the best steak in the world. Hands-down. Seriously, nothing else even comes close. Even Wagyu (as in true Japanese beef—not that horrible simulacrum pawned off on ignorant Westerners in their home countries as the real deal) served at other high-end teppanyaki restaurants in Tokyo bow in shame when compared to the divine flesh of bovine royalty on offer at Ichi, located on a small, unassuming side street in the south side of glamorous Ginza. The proprietor, the very affable Matsubara-san, owns a cattle farm in Iwate Prefecture, where he raises the very finest cattle of the Maesawa pedigree (sometimes referred to as the Matsuzaka beef of East Japan, since the former originated in the western part of the country, but I believe the reverse is a more accurate analogy). He keeps only the choicest cuts for use in his own restaurants and sells the leftovers to other highly-hyped steak places in town.
But it’s not just about the steak—the appetizers, such as the to-die-for mushroom medley in sake cream sauce poached in aluminum foil, escargot sautéed in cognac and miso, and the deceptively simple garlic fried rice are all lovingly crafted with a French flair and perfectly complement the main dish that is your raison d'être for being here in the first place. Save room for the cherries jubilee—you wouldn’t want to cut any corners on a once-in-lifetime pilgrimage to the high temple of gluttony, now would you?