Hanasaki Butchers Store, Japan Does Argentinian BBQ

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Diligently handling a huge brisket, the chef works quickly and with ease, preparing what is likely part of the evening’s wonderful offerings. Hanasaki Butchers Store’s two kitchen staff gracefully whisks themselves to and from the open kitchen. Surrounded by a gorgeous wooden bar where eager patrons wait and watch. the three staff members put on a dance that is only made all the more enticing by the aroma of the hickory smoke wafting in the air.

When imagining Japanese cuisine, thoughts on untouchable presentation, silent stern old chefs, and an air of tradition that surrounds the food quickly comes to mind. While this may be the case for a few places, there are so many exciting restaurants that offer something different and fresh. Hanasaki Butchers Store is one of those places.

Location

Located near Sakuragicho station in Yokohama and a couple blocks into the infinitely less sterile and much more interesting neighborhood of Noge, Hanasaki Butchers Store is 40 years more trendy than it’s surrounding buildings.

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Gentrification I can get behind.

Hanasaki Butchers Store provides a generally pleasant and laid back atmosphere. The crowd seems to mostly be locals and salary men taking a break. The wood and brick interior helps you feel as if you were having a BBQ with friends. The drinks sit on a table in the corner where patrons help themselves. A nice selection of clean and natural drinks are on display, not a soda in sight. Cutlery is no where to be seen until you are instructed to pull a drawer handle under the bar.

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This is much more exciting than you think it is. Super cute.

While checking the grand menu I realize that while this is an Argentinian style BBQ restaurant, the more traditional fare is reserved for dinner.

The lunch menu that stares back at me seems to be some sort of hodgepodge of world cuisine, with some element of each dish being grilled in the churrasco or asado style. Porchettas, jerk chicken, steaks, chorizo, and curries all manage to find a place on the roster. Having the luxury a dining partner, we decide to take on a world tour of tastes.

Chorizo

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the adventure begins

This coarse meat sausage is definitely in the style of a Chorizo Argentino. the sausage alone is very pleasantly spiced and offers up a very mild heat, but never ventures into spicy territory.

It is when you add some of the provided stone ground mustard and basil to a bite that the sausage really shines. Together they create a very nice mouth feel and a more robust taste.

The mashed potatoes are very smooth, and have a milky buttery presence without overpowering the pallet.

Overall it was a hit, albeit a very safe one.

Jerk Chicken

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Ja’making me crazy! No? OK I’ll stop

The more middle ground of interesting choices is the jerk chicken. When first taking a bite, the wonderful taste of the smoke almost tricks your mind into thinking you are eating a sauce less pork rib. It isn’t until a few seconds into chewing that you get the wonderful jerk taste that you expect. It is an unexpected pleasant surprise to see how the small difference in grilling method could produce a neat difference from traditional jerk chicken.

The jerk spice is fine, but could have a little more heat. Argentinian style grilling is what really helps make this something that you might find yourself wanting to eat again.

Under the chicken is an enjoyable rice that provides a little break from the smokey chicken. Together they work very well.

A simple soup and salad accompanies the lunch set. Luckily they aren’t on their own, as it doesn’t add much to the overall meal.

Steak Curry

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Curry in huge in Japan. I have become huge partly in thanks to curry.

This culinary fusion is probably the most interesting midday offering. Curry is a very typical lunch option in Japan, but it is not often made using asado style steak.

The curry itself is made in the thick roux style that is typical to Japan. It’s spices manage to be powerful and on point. There are few if any sweet notes, but it stays very balanced. The taste stands on it’s own. When combined with the cheese and steak, it acts more as a gravy that elevates the rest of the items in the dish.

They cooked the asado steak decently for this dish. Medium rare, with just enough smoke from the grill to give a lift to the curry without overpowering it. On its own the steak is fine, but is meant to be eaten with the curry. It doesn’t stand up as well as i’m sure a steak would if ordered alone. With a little more bark, something that grilling excels at, it would be a home run.

The lunch set also comes with the same soup and salad as the Jerk chicken. It serves just about the same purpose here.

Hanasaki Butchers Store: solid eats

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The smile that one only gets only when handling meat

Hanasaki Butcher Shop has a sign out front that seems to be it’s rules about food. It mostly talks about cooking with thought, care, and in a way that won’t produce waste. It’s easy to tell that through the creativity and passion shown in my meal, this is something that they do in fact live by.

I can easily recommend this place just by it’s lunch offerings. Hanasaki Butchers Store’s fearlessness in mixing a bunch of styles and cuisines together is exciting. It gets me pumped to seek out other places like it in Japan.

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An idol showcasing of all the meats we ate today

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