If you are a culinarist and always looking out for new and extraordinary tastes you are certainly familiar with Kobe beef. Named after the province in Japan where it originates from, the Kobe beef is from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle raised in that area according to strict rules set out by Kobe Beef Association. In addition to geographical and strain restrictions, the meat must have a marbeling ratio of 6 and above and a quality score of 4 to 5 in order to be granted the trademarked brand of Kobe Beef.
There are several restaurants specialised at specialty beef and steak in Japan where you can taste the Kobe beef, and other quality steaks collectively titled Wagyu” beef. Kobe beef is probably the most expensive piece of meat you can find, and obviously the supply is very limited.
To get to those Kobe restaurants you need to reserve in advance as there is always a queue and in the best places there are only a few seats. I didn’t succeed in my last trip to Tokyo. They were all fully booked for the next few nights. Should have reserved before travelling!
But when back to Finland and researching the topic, I was surprised to find out that you can have a Kobe dinner here in Helsinki as well! Kobe is offered by only one restaurant in the country; Goodwin Steak House has Kobe in it’s menu. The restaurant is a specialised beef restaurant originating from Estonia, which has expanded to Helsinki a few years ago.
Goodwin is established by a team of steak enthusiasts who studied the concept of good steak in USA and Australia, brought it to Tallin in 2009 and later to Helsinki. The name comes form the old English “Go-Dwine” meaning “good friend”. The restaurant in Helsinki is across the street form market hall (Kauppahalli) in Eteläranta.
After calling and confirming with the restaurant there was only one thing to do, go and check if the Kobe in Helsinki is as good as the one in Tokyo. One thing you should now about Kobe beef is that you get to cook it yourself. A portion of 200 grams costs 95€ in Goodwin. The beef is brought to you as thin slices on a plate. A granite stone heated to 600 degrees is put on the table and sea salt is sparkled on it from a mill. Then you get to grill your Kobe slices to your taste. Usually few seconds are enough as you don’t want to overcook the tender meat. Medium raw is the best. As the amount of beef is probably not enough to satisfy your hunger, side dishes are recommended to accompany the meal
Other steaks and grilled meat on the Goodwin menu are also high quality and some of them are exceptionally good. The restaurant prides itself in having a history of offering beef and training the best cooks to prepare and grill steaks and you can taste that.
Alexis Kouros - HT