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Tokyo

Ginza KOKORO

銀座KOKO炉

In the heart of Tokyo’s gourmet mecca, two chefs have teamed up to bring together oven-grilled Kobe beef steaks and superb French flavors in a single experience. Using a special charcoal-fired brick oven, thick chunks of marbled Japanese beef are cooked to perfection, complemented with a seasonal menu that showcases delectable delicacies from across Japan. Naming their restaurant after the Japanese word for heart, Kokoro stages a meal to remember.

Kokoro opened in August 2018 as the newest high-end steakhouse on the block. Riding on their own sets of expertise, Masato Sugai focuses on the main meat dish while Katsunori Hirata is in charge of the exquisite French dishes, creating a perfect partnership.

Situated in the basement level of a Ginza building, the ambiance of the restaurant is elegant and calm, with some jazz playing softly in the background. The sophisticated architecture and classic decor set the tone for the meal to come. The counter seats 6 guests while the 3 private rooms in the back fit as many as 16 people.

The experience at Kokoro centers around the sumptuous rogama-grilled steaks. Here, you are in for a treat to taste the best Kobe-gyu beef cuts, from sirloin, Chateaubriand, rump and Aitch bone steaks. Cooked entirely in its own juices, the steaks are moist and juicy in the inside while crispy on the outside.

With more than 30 years of experience, Sugai performs his rogama grilling technique in front of the custom-ordered brick oven. After just a few minutes held directly over the coals, the beef is then left to roast and rest in a cooler part of the oven. It’s pure entertainment to follow his skillful moves.

Equally, Hirata’s appetizers and seasonal dishes show the impeccable quality of their French foundations, and create a crescendo of excitement building up to the main dish. From the fresh Canadian lobster to matsutake mushroom soup, every course is made of top-quality seasonal delicacies.

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CUISINE

Oven-grilled Kobe beef steaks

As a first time guest, your mind may be fixed on the famous Kobe-gyu steak but just wait to be swept away by the quality of each course. To start, the day’s appetizer is a wonderful feast of fresh seafood. The sweet chutoro slices are marinated with olives. The morsels of creamy Kombumori sea urchin is topped with beluga caviar and drizzled with creamy potato sauce.

On other days, you may be lucky to try fresh Canadian lobster, simply boiled to bring out its pure flavor, complemented with slices of salted mullet roe and a scoop of basil risotto. Other specialities include shark fin sashimi, abalone and Botan prawns.

The soup is a beautiful marriage of classic French techniques and Japanese seasonal flavors. A winter favorite is a bowl of local matsutake mushroom, first scorched to bring out its flavor and infused in aromatic consommé broth made over two days using cuts of wagyu beef. Other seasonal flavors include truffles and suppon turtle.

Now, make yourself comfortable at the counter and let your eyes follow all the excitement around the brick oven. The large chunks of sirloin and Chateaubriand steaks are seasoned only with salt and pepper and put on metal skewers. When they pull the meats out of the oven, the surface is perfectly crisp and browned, trapping juice and umami inside. Make sure you tell them how precisely you like your steak.

The Kobe-gyu hamburg is cooked perfectly medium rare, covered in slices of French autumn truffles and drizzled with a rich sauce made of truffles and Madeira liquor. The grilled tongue is presented beautifully next to consommé-infused sweet potatoes and foie gras coated in honey.

Finding a simple curry rice too boring, the chefs came up with an original recipe of curry pasta, which has become an instant hit with the guests. The creamy Japanese curry sauce with chunks of Kobe-gyu beef is poured over a bowl of fedelini pasta. For dessert, homemade ice cream made of unpasteurized milk from Hokkaido is coupled with pione grape sorbet.

To top it all, the restaurant also offers a delicious take out menu. Try the Kokoro Special Sandwiches, made with the same Kobe-gyu steaks or hamburgs they serve at the restaurant.

INGREDIENTS
Mainly focused on Kobe-gyu beef, the chefs of Kokoro do not compromise on quality (please see the last section for more on their beef selection). The seasoning is kept simple and minimal, using just pepper and fine-grain salt from Yonaguni in Okinawa.

The delicious tuna, often used in appetisers, is procured from Yamayuki, one of the country’s top vendors in Toyosu. The sea urchin comes from Kushiro, the famous region for top-grade sea urchins in Hokkaido. The chefs are constantly looking for high-quality ingredients from across Japan. The restaurant has an extensive stock about two hundred bottles of wine, mainly reds from Burgundy and Bordeaux. They also have selected white wines by the glass.

Ginza KOKORO cuisine #0
Ginza KOKORO cuisine #1

CHEF

Katsunori Hirata and Masato Sugai

Born in Tokyo in 1971, Katsunori Hirata first became interested in food when people raved about the pancakes he made when he was in fifth grade. He later went onto train at a culinary school and upon graduation, began working at various restaurants including Hotel Pacific Tokyo.

In 2001, he made a big decision to move to France. He headed to Provence and trained at a Michelin star restaurant there. After building his expertise in the local cuisine, he returned to Japan to join top-ranked hotels such as Yokohama Bay Sheraton and later was named the head chef at the exclusive Roppongi Hills Club in Tokyo.

The word about his exquisite French cuisine spread among Tokyo foodies during his days at IDEA Ginza where he would come up with seasonal and colorful recipes using his brilliant culinary and aesthetic sense. This is where he met his future partner, Masato Sugai.

Sugai was born in Niigata Prefecture in 1969. As a young boy, he used to look forward to a weekly cooking show by Shizuo Tsuji, the former head of the Ecole Technique Hotelier Tsuji in Osaka. Sugai was mesmerized by Tsuji’s graceful skills and vast knowledge of the French cuisine. He decided to pursue a culinary path himself and moved to Tokyo to attend a cooking school.

With a strong wish to want to differentiate himself, he began pursuing the idea of specializing in steak, while strictly following the French discipline. He began working at Aragawa, a famous Tokyo steak restaurant and spent the next 13 years perfecting his skills in the charcoal-broiled method. Later, he was involved in the opening of Dons de La Nature, another famous steak house in Ginza as well as Trois Fleches. As his splendid resume suggests, his grilling skills are among the best in Japan. As you watch his intense gaze over the crackling fire, you come to understand that his mastery is a true work of craftsmanship.

VISION
The chefs are putting all their hearts into making their new restaurant a success. Just like their days at IDEA Ginza, they want to treat each guest with greatest hospitality and continue to reach new customers. Given the growing hype for wagyu beef, they hope to be at the forefront in promoting the art of the brick oven technique.

THE MEAT

Kobe-gyu is loved for its smooth texture, beautiful marble and of course, the rich flavor. The quality is strictly guaranteed as the term can only be used for a selective batch of Tajima-gyu breed that fulfill certain lineage and grading criteria. Raised in Hyogo Prefecture, these premium cows must have BMS marbling index of No.6 or higher, yield score A or B and gross carcass weight of 470 kg or less. They of course must have fine meat texture, excellent firmness and that deep azuki bean color.

The custom-ordered brick oven is central to the Kokoro experience. Its heavy door is made of copper and walls of heat-resistant bricks. The design allows the temperature to be kept at a steady level while the different sections give off different kinds of heat. The temperature close to the charcoal can be as high as 900 and 1,000 degrees centigrade, while the lower section of the oven is at around 200 degrees. Taking as long as 20 minutes, Sugai does not take his eyes off the meat as it cooks. He starts by putting the meat into the center of the heat and then works out how long to rest it on the side or use other temperature levels depending on the meat’s condition. The oven’s design gives the chef full control over the temperature. “The brick oven basically works like a smoker, allowing the meat have this crisp layer on the outside while tender on the inside,” he explains. “It adds this great smoky smell to the meat too.”

Course

Dinner
KOKORO 5 course (Lamp/ Aitchbone)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥21,000
¥21,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
KOKORO 5 course (Fillet/Sirloin)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥26,000
¥26,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
KOKORO 5 courses (Chateaubriand)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥28,000
¥28,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
KOKORO 7 course (Lamp/ Aitchbone)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥29,000
¥29,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
KOKORO 7 course (Fillet/ Sirloin)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥34,000
¥34,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
KOKORO 7 course (Chateaubriand)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥35,500
¥35,500
Reservation Request

Tokyo

Ginza KOKORO

銀座KOKO炉

PRICE
¥21,000
~
CHILD
10
& UP
PRIVATE ROOM
For 2-12 person
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Wagyu, Ginza
ADDRESS
B1F, 〒104-0061 Tokyo, Chūō, Ginza, 1 Chome−8−7 VORT銀座DDI
OPEN
5:00PM-9:00PM (LO)
CLOSED
Sunday and holidays
URL
NA
PHONE
+81 3-6263-0506

RESERVATION

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