Eat Singapore Wagyu at Yen Yakiniku
What do you want to eat tonight?
Don’t worry, I made plans for your birthday…
*mental note, this date isn’t my birthday. i’m just late in posting*
Yen Yakiniku tl;dr
- Counter Cooking Action
- Deliciously Prepared Fresh Ingredients
- Memorable Chefs and Dining Experience
Another birthday dinner!
Nadia really loves to surprise me and I can’t help but get all giddy inside thinking about all the times she has. And this year was no different from previous occasions. She wished me happy birthday and simply walked me to apart of town that I had never been before. She wouldn’t tell me where we were going but to simply enjoy the adventure.
Not that far from Maxwell Food Center down a nondescript Ann Siang Road (which oddly look a lot like a scene from Crazy Rich Asians) Nadia led me by the hand to a fanciful yet equally nondescript storefront; enter Yen Yakiniku.
Me, Celebrating My Birthday with Nadia
Behind the Counter
Personal Culinary Attention
The posh entrance belies the dimly lit sophisticated dark interior. I was surprised to see that there were only 20 odd seats. Indeed, a very intimate environment. We were seated at the counter and introduced to our chef. I’ve never had a personal chef before for yakiniku. Apparently this isn’t one of those places where you potentially burn your meat.
Chef explained that they only had the best cuts of meats available, along with a wide selection of alcohol which both would satisfy any discerning palate. Not quite knowing what to expect, we asked for the menu and for popularly ordered dishes. He continued to elaborate that he would show us the selected cuts before cooking them to order as we ate.
If that’s not first class customer service, then I don’t know what is. I almost felt bad that he would stand there cooking me more sumptuous meats as I ate them. I hoped he had a good table side manner.
Yen’s Special Salad
Of course Nadia already had a few choices already planned out in her mind; namely beef and pork. Moving forward, we ordered the salad special, oyster mushrooms, a few wagyu cuts, pork belly and jowl. Round it off, we decided to wash it all down with a few icy cold pints of beer.
Everything that came out tasted great. The special cabbage salad had a tangy peanut sauce that triggered my appetite. And the king oyster mushrooms were a nice way to start the meal with something light . Whatever witchcraft that was used on the grill to maintain the moistness of the mushrooms was well worth any price; they weren’t dry or overcooked at all.
Eringi, Sliced King Oyster Mushroom
Raw Marbled Wagyu
I Love Beef
The spotlight of the meal was on the wagyu and all it’s glory. And let me tell you, Nadia really outdid herself this time around. Judging by the quality of the meats that came out, I think she must have overestimated how good I was this year by a factor of 100. I’m completely unworthy of such attention, but I’ll keep trying again and again to keep her thinking that I am.
Grilled Wagyu Action
My wife ordered us the Rib Eye Strip Loin Wagyu which was to die for, or kill for, or whatever; it was simply that good. The tenderly cooked medium rare sliced of Japanese beef made our heads swoon with their heady aroma and beefy buttery texture. Judging from earlier demonstrations, Chef knew how to grill but this simply a masterpiece in perfection of how wagyu should be treated with heat.
I can only hope to be bold enough to try to parrot his deftness with the tongs and charcoal the next time I’m behind the business end of the table.
Soon to Be Eaten Medium Rare Wagyu
Pork Belly Shirobuta
She Loves Porky Pork Pork
Nadia loves her some pork. I insisted that we order the belly and the jowl since who knows the next time we will be back in this land of culinary plenty. The marinated pork belly had a nice amount of sweetness which cut the richness of everything. The pork jowl was so tender with it’s dripping marbled umami.
Grilled Pork Belly Shirobuta
These are definitely one of those times when I break from my low carb diet and pair these flamed delights with copious amounts of steamed white rice. There’s just something about the combination of the 2 that defies comprehension. I think, at least for me, that I’m hardwired to appreciate the combination of the 2 ingredients versus them individually; truly the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts. Beer doesn’t hurt either!
If there’s any takeaway for me from this experience, if I recall correctly, that level of fatty marbling is a indicator of the expected amounts of umami one can experience from any given cut of meat. And one must tread carefully while cooking them so as to not overcook and literally drip all the hard earned umami flavor into the unforgiving flames.
Grilled Pork Jowl
Happy Birthday to Me and Her
We never need a reason to celebrate, but it doesn’t hurt to have a birthday to help bring things together. Hell, just to see her everyday is reason enough to do something special. I suppose that’s how she feels about me since she planned this all out to my utter surprise. And surprised I was with everything from the venue, to the service, to the high grade cuts of meats.
Yen Yakiniku is truly a restaurant of restaurants when it comes to next level dining. Did I mention the wagyu, the rice, and the beer? That combination is worth trying!