Ima means now, fuku means luck and fortune, think about the famous Momofuku founded by chef David Chang. Just like the name suggests, Imafuku, that's right, whoever walks in there for sure will be embraced by melt in your mouth wagyu heaven.
A little distance away from the busy areas in Tokyo, but the trip is totally worth it. Shabu shabu and sukiyaki using only the highest grade of Japanese beef are the two staples at Imafuku. Side dishes change once a while and mostly wagyu-related.
Don't be intimated by the cow head design outside the restaurant. As soon as the door slide to the side, what lies ahead is clean and relaxing setting with marbled wagyu chunks waiting to be devoured.
Perhaps because of the extra 20 to 30 minutes transit time, we were the only "foreigner" that night. However, Imafuku is actually pretty tourist-friendly in terms of reservation and menu preparation.
Japanese menu (click for an enlarged view) -
English menu -
No alcohol tonight, just green tea and oolong tea -
Appetizer: summer eggplant and smoked wagyu -
Then the waiter brought over the copper pot, this alone is artwork worth admiring at -
Taking pictures at a Japanese restaurant is always intimidating, especially at a semi-fine dining place. I do ask for permission every time before taking out my Canon beast.
There was an elegant old lady sitting by herself on the table next to us. She looked over several times with a curious expression. It made me shy, but I smiled back, pointed at the camera and gestured that camera always eats first. She laughed, and I laughed.
About 10 minutes after, two men walked in then greeted her, I'm guessing her son and grandson. She looked over again and smiled. I smiled too, not sure the warmth sensation was coming from the steaming hot pot or something else.
Ponzu and goma sauce -
Nicely chopped scallion, spicy oil, and spicy grated daikon for the sauces -
The water is boiling, and the waiter came just in time to open up the lid -
He brought over a plate of thinly sliced beef tongue and ready to "shabu" for us. That's the only shabu meat with tableside service. Customers can stay relaxed and just cook the ingredients at their own paste afterwards.
The wagyu tongue was what first caught my attention about Imafuku. As a beef tongue enthusiast, I've had it numerous times in many ways, but never a thinly sliced version for shabu.
The key of shabu-ing the beef slices - make sure to loosen the grip a couple times. That way the parts where the chopsticks are holding on to can be in contact with hot water. Otherwise these area stay pink when the rest of the parts already cooked perfectly.
Tender yet tiny bit chewy at the same time. Beef tongue is served with salt, which brings out a more intense beefy aroma and a hint of sweetness from the fat, very addicting -
Veggies for the shabu shabu -
The curly white thing is snow fungus, not much taste but it has a slight crunchy texture. When cooked long enough, it turns gooey and considers a good source for collagen -
Cute cow-shaped carrot, by the way, it shrinks after boiling in the pot -
Side order of grilled prime quality beef tongue -
Excellent choice! Look at how thick the beef tongue is, almost like a steak. Crunchy to an extent, the beef juice evenly distributed along the grains that won't burst when chewing but you can definitely feel the moisture throughout -
To make it even better, here comes the rest of the marbled goodness. From left to right: fillet, rump, ichibo, sirloin, superior cut of roast -
I can see sparkles surrounding these beef slices, must be in heaven.
At first I was amazed that the fillet just melts in my mouth, but then the rump was even more amazing, almost overwhelming. It has a buttery aroma, sweet and savory at the same time, and the flavor lingers after the wagyu fat already glided down my throat -
Look at that marble pattern, who would ever known that fatness can be so attracting -
Somehow I feel kind of guilty devouring such a big piece of wagyu in one bite, but it was so damn goooood!
Tasting different parts of wagyu all the way till the very last superior cut of roast. I get it, I kept saying the beef just melts in my mouth earlier, but this part truly disappears instantly, so fast that I almost considering re-ordering another plate to savour it again. Ima - fuku indeed.
Time for the veggies, we prefer a softer texture so the platter was poured in all at once -
Ate a lot of beef but maybe because it was served shabu style, my body doesn't feel as burdensome compared to grilled steak or yakiniku. Shabu shabu also serves a better channel to fully appreciate the sweetness from such high quality beef.
Choose between rice and udon. Just imagining all the grains soaking in sweet beefy broth, of course we go for the rice. The waiter came and took the pot away, about 10 minutes later he presented us with this fluffy thing -
All the grains are now topped with fluffy eggs. Somehow I smell and taste truffles. What a umami burst in my mouth -
A satisfying meal always needs something sweet for a happy ending. Choose from matcha ice cream, mango pudding, and pineapple sorbet. We picked matcha ice cream and pineapple sorbet -
Fresh fruit inside icy square box -
Both shabu shabu and sukiyaki sets come around ¥10,000 gives and takes couple thousand yens. The zeros might seemed scary at first, but the portion and parts of wagyu you get here definitely worth the price tag.
Imafuku currently holds one Michelin star status.
1 Chome-12-19 Shirokane
5:00 p.m. ~ 12:00 midnight (closed from 12/31 to 1/2)