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Calbee gets beefy with Ikinari Steak flavored potato chips

by Patrick ST. Michel

Contributing Writer

Japanese restaurant chain Ikinari Steak accomplished two big milestones this past month. First, they opened their fourth store in New York, a big step forward in plans to expand internationally. Perhaps more importantly though, they teamed with snack maker Calbee to produce their own flavor of potato chips.

The limited edition Ikinari Steak flavor chips arrived in convenience stores around the country at the end of February, and will be on sale until the back half of March. These snacks combine the rich taste of beef with the franchise’s own special steak sauce. Besides that combo of tastes, the chips found in every bag (¥152 after tax) are a thicker cut, adding a satisfying crunch to each bite.

Ikinari Steak’s defining feature is its lack of chairs. That’s the go-to hook in almost every U.S. write-up of the chain, fitting because the actual flavor of the food doesn’t merit much description — it’s solid, but nothing memorable.

Same goes for the taste of these chips. They taste like a slightly less flavorful take on the typical beef chips found on konbini shelves, albeit a touch crispier than most other varieties out there. They are ok, something you won’t regret eating but also a snack you won’t be moved to revisit. They capture the Ikinari Steak experience well, so in that regard, I guess you can call them a success.