Urameshi-Ya : Unlimited Wagyu Beef Cubes for P500Friday, February 05, 2016
I’m a sucker for all-you-can-eat buffets. The boyfriend and I make it a point to go to at least one all-you-can-eat buffet every month. For January, we went to Sofitel and I was able to scrupulously enjoy probably one of the most exquisite dish I’ve ever tasted in my life—Foie Gras. Once in a while, I’d tag the boyfriend on Facebook whenever I come across a promising restaurants on Facebook that satisfies our criteria. Earlier this month, I saw an article on my newsfeed about all-you-can-eat Wagyu Beef Cubes for the price of P500. I was skeptical because we all know how expensive Wagyu beef is. I read the article several times to make sure there is no catch before finally telling my boyfriend, “I found the one.”
The talked about holy grail of unlimited Wagyu beef cubes would be Urameshi-Ya in Little Tokyo. I blogged about Little Tokyo last year and didn’t even bat an eyelash when I saw this establishment because it looked old and worn out; thus proving, never judge a book by its cover. Let me take you in on a tour of the place, the food and our dining experience.
As mentioned, it looked old and worn out but it had that authentic Japanese restaurant vibe to it. The seats inside had low tables with a sunken floor for your legs. Should you choose to eat inside, you’ll be asked to take your shoes off before being seated. Lighting was dim inside; I saw one table was provided with mini emergency blackout lights so they can see what they’re cooking.
Before being seated, we had to wait for 3.5 hours! The establishment opens at 5PM, and despite arriving early, we were already #36 on the list. When you get there, you will be asked if you’re getting the buffet or ordering ala carte dishes. Why, you ask? They prioritize customers who order ala carte. Regardless of the number of people on the waiting list, if someone comes in and orders ala carte, they get seated before you do. Something I don’t necessarily agree with because we’re all paying customers here. Just because you’re in line for the buffet doesn’t make you less of a customer. Maybe there’s an explanation behind it but as of now, that type of service hierarchy pissed me off.
Given the number of people on the wait list, most customers would go to the staff and re-check every now and then if their number has been called. The waitresses do not have a systematic way of crossing out people they’ve already served, and I’ve noticed that sometimes, customer would slip in tips and they’d get seated for the buffet even if they’re not on the list. If you want to avail the buffet, there’s a limit of 45 minutes for ordering and eating your food—though I observed it’s not being strictly followed. The waitresses are friendly, but service was a bit slow given the number of people occupying the restaurant. For a place that bills service charge, I expected more.
When we got there, I was quite happy with what I saw. They had everything I wanted—Oysters, Scallops, Shrimps, Crabs and Wagyu Beef Cubes; that was around 6:30PM. We got seated at around 10:00PM, and by that time, they’ve ran out of Crabs, Scallops and Oysters. I was able to eat a few skinny crab legs but that’s about it. Rice and soup is included in the list of things you can refill.
So, the moment of truth finally came. The boyfriend cooked me a few pieces of Wagyu Beef cubes, after biting into it, it felt orgasmic. At least on the first bite. After eating a couple more, I started to feel that it’s starting to taste a lot like hotdog—especially the consistency of the meat. I ate a few more, then it hit me, this is not pure Wagyu beef. I can’t tell if it’s fake or if it has too much extenders, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s not authentic contrary to what is advertised. I was disappointed and ate more Shrimps and crab legs instead to make sure I get my P500’s worth. After a few minutes, I started to have an upset stomach. I’m not saying this is because of the food since the boyfriend was perfectly fine. Probably just because I usually eat around 7PM and we had our dinner was waaaaay beyond that time. After eating, I did more research about the type of Wagyu they use and came across this comment.
Anyway as you can see in the photos, they only have a small grill so make sure you have a strategy since the allowed time is only 45 minutes. Despite the disappointing Wagyu, I still enjoyed the crab legs and the shrimp.
Would I come back? No. I can get grilled shrimp and crabs without having to wait for 3 hours. I waited for 3 hours because I was under the impression I was queueing up for authentic Wagyu beef cubes. The waiting time was a terrible experience; not to mention being smothered with all that Yakiniku smoke. I’d rather pay more and eat on time rather than risk damaging my health due to the wait time. While I enjoyed the experience of grilling with the ultimate Japanese restaurant vibe, I don’t like paying for something that has too much cons than pros. Well, don’t we all? If you still want to go, here are some tips.
1. Go early! They open as early as 5PM. If you don’t want to line up or be on the wait list, make sure you’re there the moment they open the restaurant. Side note, we initially put Urameshi-Ya in Waze and we got directed to a different address, which is why we got there at 6:30PM. To be sure, just look for Little Tokyo if you're using Waze since there are two addresses listed for Urameshi-Ya.
2. You can also opt to go later at night, around 10PM-11PM, if you can’t come in early. The risk though is not having all the prime selection available. Just like what happened to us. I think I got the last serving of Crab legs. Scallops and Oysters run out pretty fast.
3. If you’d rather wait, bring a power bank. Also bring things that will keep your mind off the food, like a good book maybe. Or your work laptop, lol! If you have another appointment after dining, make sure you have a change of clothes because you'll surely reek of Yakiniku smoke. PS you don't want to risk going to a different place while waiting because your name might get called.
With that, here are a few reminders you need to keep in mind :
1. Buffet is only available from Monday – Wednesday.
2. They operate from 5PM – 1AM.
3. Cost for the all-you-can-eat buffet is P500 excluding service charge.
4. All-you-can-eat buffet is only for 45 minutes and that includes cooking.
5. According to the waitresses, exceeding time is charged P500 per head.
6. There’s no staple food; what you see is what you get. They serve whatever is in the chiller.
My dining experience may not have been delightful, good thing there are other restaurants to consider since it's in Little Tokyo. Due to the long wait time, I've managed to document most of my experience. I created a short video to show you guys what to expect. Also a reason to test my new cam, hehe. I know I probably looked foolish holding an action camera while running around the place, but I don't really care, LOL. Waiting was all the ~action~ I needed.
(02) 8132210 | 5PM - 1AM
Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City