Hyakushokuya: The wagyu joint that only makes 100 meals each day

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

Hyakushokuya, “100 meal shop,” makes 100 meals a day — and that’s it. The daily challenge for staff is to make and serve them as fast possible, so that they can take the rest of the day off. It seems that this is typically accomplished by the end of lunchtime, at which point a chalkboard is placed outside the entrance informing diners that the restaurant won’t be opening for the evening.

So, what’s the secret to their success? Decent servings of reasonably priced, tasty Japanese wagyu. The set menu is limited to three options: steak donburi (rice bowl), steak strips with grated Chinese radish and ponzu (citrus-based soy sauce), and, finally, a hamburger. All are priced around ¥1,000 and come with miso soup, rice and a small salad. The donburi is the most popular, but I went with the steak strips. It is a little more expensive, but won’t overfill you like the donburi will — in case you have to return to work and don’t have time for a siesta.

That said, the donburi did look delicious. It’s served in a large ramen-like bowl with slabs of beef — less marbled and more meaty — hiding a small mound of rice threaded through with fried garlic and scallions.

The only off-putting thing about eating here? You must arrive in advance to secure a seat and, once inside, you’ll be asked to leave within 30 minutes.

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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