Have you ever heard of Wagyu beef? This beef is originally from Japan and is also known as Kobe beef. It’s very popular due to the tender flavour which partly comes from the intense marbling. Due to it’s high quality, Wagyu beef is the most expensive and most demanding meat in the world. When I heard that they had a Wagyu beef restaurant in Amsterdam, I was curious about it and wanted to try it myself.
The restaurant is called Kuroge Wagyu Beef Restaurant ZaO and it is located in the South of Amsterdam. They serve black Wagyu beef from a local farm in the Netherlands which is specialized in raising these cows.
When you approach the restaurant, you will actually be surprised that the outside looks like an iron container. Even the front door doesn’t look inviting and there is not even a sign that shows that this is a restaurant. When you enter however, you will see a nicely decorated restaurant with wooden tables and comfortable red chairs. You can also see there is an extractor above every table and a grill plate for grilling your food.
ZaO has a lunch and dinner menu. You can choose for dishes that do not need grilling, like a Wagyu burger, bibimbap or a kalbi soup. I wanted the grilled options and when I saw that you could order a whole meat platter with different kind of meat, I decided to go with a group since this plate is quite pricey. We took the ZaO Combination, which is 150 euros for one plate. It contains 1,290g of meat for 4 to 6 people. Besides this meat platter we also ordered a bowl of kimchi and we had Japanese grain tea and calpis. I liked the Japanese grain tea, but the calpis was a bit too watery. The bowl of kimchi was delicious but it wasn’t a lot for the price you pay for it.
Grilling the meat
Let’s talk about the meat! The meat platter consisted of loin 200g, kalbi 200g, tsubozuke 200g, beef tongue 200g, Spanish black pork 150g, premium kalbi 100g and Waraji-yaki 240g. The meat was already thinly sliced. We put them one by one on the grill. This way of grilling with a grill in the table and a extractor above the table is similar to a Korean barbecue. The Japanese also eat it in this way, but the difference is that they don’t use an extractor.
There is a particular order of grilling and eating the meat. Luckily I invited two friends who knew exactly what to grill first and for how long. Some had to be grilled very short and some a bit longer. Only the pork should be grilled thoroughly, since the beef can also be eaten raw. When grilling the meat, you always start with the fresh ones and end with the marinated one. We started with the beef tongue, then we had the kalbi (a cut from the lower chest to the lower stomach), premium kalbi (most carefully chosen cut of the kalbi), waraji-yaki (grilled ribeye steak), loin (cut of the back muscle), black pork and we ended with the tsubozuke (which is kalbi marinated in a special Japanese sauce). For more detailed information about every piece of meat, you can check the menu on their website.
I really loved the meat! It is so tender! It feels like it was melting on my tongue! But I actually didn’t like it if the meat was still too raw, because it is a bit chewy then. I will put it on the grill a little bit longer then.
The huge steak on the single plate is waraji-yaki. On the top row from left to right you have tongue, premium kalbi and loin. On the bottom row you have kalbi, tsubozuke and pork.
ZaO also has desserts and we chose the yuzu cheesecake, matcha cheesecake and a sakura (cherry blossom) brownie. You could also order a brownie from yuzu and matcha. All the brownies are gluten free. The desserts were served with vanilla ice cream and the waitress also served use more of that delicious Japanese tea. I really love the cheesecakes, especially the matcha one, because the matcha flavour was really strong. I also wanted to order the matcha latte, but they didn’t have it this time. The sakura brownie didn’t have much flavour, but to me the sakura flavour is always very light.
This restaurant is amazing. The meat is soo good! I would recommend everyone to come at least once and try it out. It is recommended to go with a group, so you can order more different things and also the ZaO combination which has all the different meat they serve. In this way you can taste more and also split the costs, since it is quite expensive. But that is where the quality comes from.
Kuroge Wagyu Beef Restaurant ZaO
1081 AB, Amsterdam
12:00-14:30 (Lunch menu)
17:30-22:30 (Last order 22:00)
(No lunch menu, last order 21:00)