I was skeptical about Wadakin, as I wrote, it wasn’t easy to make a reservation given I asked to bring a bottle of wine. I almost gave up after our assistant made several calls to the manager and argued the merits of bring a bottle of wine. In fact, at one point I was so annoyed, I refused to talk about it. The restaurant asked how much the bottle I was bringing cost, and I said $300, to which they replied, our charge will be 3 times.
None of this made any sense but in Japan, a small request turns into a big deal. My assistant eventually shrugged his shoulders and understood their point of view. They are a family run business he said, they have not the habit to permit clients to bring bottles of wine.
The reason I insisted to carry my wine was two reasons; one I wanted to enjoy a Burgundy and secondly they had only three wines, one rose, one red and one white. That worried me because I thought I was walking into a tourist trap.
Well Wadakin is not a tourist trap but they are used to serving clients over kiku-bincho tan by using a stainless shell net. The foods are cooked at the table where a hostess in kimono both cooks and serves.
I admit, I couldn’t enjoy a prime cut of filet cut into three smaller pieces and they grilled. I insisted they prepare 170 grams of filet, I would eat it as steak, but this adds more confusion. I struggled to get the filet because it takes three days advance notice and we only had one day.
Remember in Japan flexible is a word that isn’t in their vocabulary. Not because they are not flexible, but because they are inflexible. Each process has a predetermined process that cannot be altered or easily changed. So even that I ordered a filet, they customarily cut it into slices. I didn’t really mind because at this point I was hungry and anxious to try meat in the famous city of Matsuzaka.
My steak arrived, very slightly coloured on the outside and perfectly rare. I couldn’t resist to eat it as it was. My meat never touched the ami-yaki grill and the accompanying vegetables were cooked over the intense heat of the charcoal.
No mess, no fuss, it was a very clean, quiet and enriching experience @ Wadakin, a place I look forward to visiting again.
As a side note: if you ever decide to go to eat their, you must be prepared to either do it their way, or pay for changing up the usual program. Don’t take it personally as it is always like that in Japan.