Wagyu For You
On small, contained grills in the center of the tables, delicate cuts of meat ranging from Wagyu beef, basil chicken and hanger steak sizzle in light, fresh marinades. The grill is self-contained, the smoke that would normally billow out instead gets sucked down into a filtering unit. After 45 seconds, the thin slices of meat are ready to turn.
Wagyu Japanese BBQ, located at 3000 W Memorial Rd. in Oklahoma City, is the first Japanese barbecue restaurant in the state, and for owners and founders Jade Han and Li Chen, the style of food is a mixture of adventure, socialization and, of course, the finest meats and marinades that visitors grill themselves.
“Japanese barbecue is based on Korean barbecue, but we developed our own marinades and different cuts of meat,” said Chen. “We cut the meat to proper size, like maybe one bite sized, and the meat is only marinated right before it comes out. So we’re keeping the meat fresh.”
A new style of cuisine, Wagyu Japanese BBQ offers a traditional way of enjoying a meal, but with an adventurous twist that combines quality meat, light and fresh flavors and a wide variety of choices to choose from. Called Yakiniku, Japanese barbecue has a new home on Memorial Road.
Expect an Adventure
Chen and Han both met at the University of Oklahoma where Chen was studying petroleum and Han was studying health sciences. Both had experienced Japanese barbecue in larger cities like Chicago and on the east and west coasts, but nothing like it existed in Oklahoma.
“We felt like we really wanted to bring this to Oklahoma City because we feel like people were open and accepting,” Chen said. “Oklahoma people have a very open mind. This is pretty popular in other bigger cities like Dallas.”
In addition to the food, which ranges from traditional barbecue meats to Ramen bowls to creative appetizers, diners at Wagyu can expect an adventure when they come to dinner, Han said. “They should expect a very unique dining experience. You are your own chef, and have the chance interact with your friends and family,” she said. “You cook food together and enjoy it and your time here. “
Wagyu offers several traditional Korean dishes on the menu as well, including kimchi bibibap, fried rice served with kimchi and a mild spicy gochujang sauce in a sizzling hot stone pot; a mild, spicy beef soup with egg and green onion; and garlic noodles also served in a sizzling hot stone pot.
The Wagyu Beef Steals the Show
But the Wagyu beef steals the show. The various cuts of Wagyu are served with marinades designed to complement each cut of meat and include miso, tare sweet soy, spicy gochujang, ponzu and more. “We take the marinades and match them with different cuts,” said Chen. “For example, if you have a cut with very beautiful marbling, then we will match with a sweet marinade so you get that perfect taste.”
The cherrywood smoked filet comes served in a bowl and covered in a buttery paste, and the longer the meat sits and smokes in the bowl, the deeper the flavor. The Zabuton Wagyu is a must for many, Chen added.
Wagyu Japanese BBQ also serves chicken and seafood cuts to grill, and the dinner combination specials allow for families to sample numerous choices in one meal. “We have instructions on how to cook the meat on the table, but the server will also give instructions,” said Han. “It’s catching on, but there are still a lot of people who do not know we are here.”
Wagyu is open for both lunch and dinner, and lunch specials start at
$12.99 for two choices of meat or $15.99 for three. Fast and simple lunch options, like cooked meals, get people in and out quickly. Coming soon, look for Bento Boxes, updated menu, and happy hour 11:30am-5pm everyday.
For more information, visit www.wagyujapanesebbqokc.com