This restaurant was one of the first I remember being very intrigued by when I arrived in Okinawa in August. I was wandering around Okinawa’s capital, Naha, and spied the restaurant’s window with three huge cow carcasses in it. When I got over I realized they were the ubiquitous plastic models Japanese restaurants love to use, but it was still impressive. I made a note of the restaurant and vowed to return. The only English on the sign was “From Farm” so we just called it that for a long time.
We finally got the chance in January when my mom visited. We wanted a yakiniku restaurant that was higher quality than average, but still good value. So we headed to “From Farm.” We finally found last week that it is called yakiniku Wagyu Itoryuo, however. It is a great choice if you want a classier meat grilling experience. We struggled with the menu on our visit. It was was a daily special menu, hand scripted in an unusual writing style with no pictures so it was beyond challenging. But, we got through and my mom still talks about the best meat she ever had.
What sets Wagyu Itoryuo apart is that it buys entire cows from ranches, mostly located in the Kyushyu area. It is kind of a wholesale restaurant, I guess. It is able to sell very expensive cuts at better prices because they do most of the work themselves. On the back of the menu they show the serial numbers and rancher’s name for the legit wagyu cattle they bring to the restaurant, so you know what you are eating. They then cut the cow up at the restaurant into the specials of the day and you order off that menu. It was very intimidating to people who do not possess strong Japanese skills such as ourselves, and so we returned with our Japanese tutors to treat it like a mini-Japanese lesson. Conveniently delicious!
Wagyu Itoryuo makes its own complimentary in house beef curry, out of the cows they use. It is really good, and I recommend trying it. At the front they show you the stock and bones and marrow used to make the curry.
We ordered a number of things, including kim chee, rice and noodle dishes, cuts of karubi or short ribs, a cut called zabuton (sharing a name with the japanese chair, but not a cut from the butt as you might think) tongue and so on. They have a guide in the menu that shows you where the cuts come from, which is very handy. You can see the Japanese butchers have way more cuts than North American ones.
Many items come on mixed cut platters so you can try a few things at the same time.
Things got smoky. Poor Kase-sensei!
Bi Bim Bap
This restaurant is really good. I hope we can return soon with our renewed confidence and order some new items. The staff are kind and friendly and put up with our Japanese tutors requesting they mostly deal with us for ordering. The booths are a bit narrow and tight for a group of four, but we managed.