Wagyu Skewers Are a Tasty New Add at Don Quijote Kaheka’s Food Court
Moo-ve over, takoyaki and ramen, Wagyukushi steals the scene with $6 grilled washugyu beef skewers.
If you often brave the madhouse that is Don Quijote Kaheka, you might also have the guts to try something new and different. For me, each visit to Donki is an adventure filled with the promise of new discoveries, or at least daily essentials at reasonable prices. On a recent grocery trip, I spotted a new vendor called Wagyukushi (beef skewers) cooking up washugyu beef sticks on a flattop grill. I promised to return.
The space, next to Sushi Robot, was shortly occupied by Donki’s Jonetz Yakitori, which sold grilled chicken skewers. While affordable, they lacked enough substance to be buzz-worthy and the shop closed a few months back. On Dec. 1 Wagyukushi, also managed by Donki, popped up in its place. So does it bring home the beef?
Oh yes, it does. In a simple and tasty way, too. Cuts of frozen washugyu beef are sliced thin, stacked, skewered and sliced into square columns of beef. The layers are much like Nana Ai Katsu’s preparation of tonkatsu, except there are dozens more layers of beef, and they do not get coated in panko. Instead, the skewers are grilled on a flattop and drizzled with sauce. It’s $5.99 for one skewer, $9.99 for two and $12.99 for a plate with two sticks, rice and salad. For (American) wagyu beef? That’s a great deal. That’s it, so simple.
I’ve brought a friend along and we both agree, these sticks are the mille feuille of beef. Each skewer, grilled to order, gets crispy edges and a tender center. Because the beef is sliced so thin, eating it is effortless, and you’re not fighting with sinew or bones. The poster says “melt-in-the-mouth beef,” which isn’t quite true, but it is tender. The sticks themselves look and taste like what you would find at a market or a shopping street in Japan, except there they would be torching it with a flame for the show.
The poster also indicates the beef is flavored with a special wasabi sauce, but the kick of wasabi does not come through. We both want more zing or even a bit of kizami wasabi. By the end of two skewers, you’ll be searching for something with a bite to cut the richness of the marbled beef. Otherwise, the beef is seasoned to my liking with salt and lots of pepper, and its drippings make me inhale every grain of rice, which is also noticeably good, taste- and texture-wise.
The next time I go for a grocery run at Donki, at least one wagyu skewer will be on my shopping list. It’s too good to pass up.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 801 Kaheka St., @donquijotehi