It’s more than 10 times more expensive than a typical bento, but is this Tokyo Station luxury worth the price?

Usually, when most people think of bento boxed lunches, one of two mental images spring to mind: either the quick, cheap meals sold by convenience stores across Japan, or the home-made versions lovingly prepared by caring mothers and wives.

But there’s also a third category of bento, which are high-end offerings from gourmet restaurants, often sold in the prepared food sections of fancy Japanese department stores. For example, swing by the basement of the Tokyo Station-adjacent branch of department store Daimaru, and you’ll find Meat Yazawa, a bento/takeout offshoot of the restaurant of the same name.

Our ace reporter Mr. Sato strolled up to Meat Yazawa, looking to pick up a bento, and started looking over the options. To give you an idea of how much store-bought bento in Japan usually cost, any convince store will have multiple bento prices at under 1,000 yen (US$9.20). But at Meat Yazawa, the Gokuniku Bento, with sliced steak and hamburger steak…

…will set you back 5,929 yen (US$54). Remember, this is for takeout, and it’s far from Meat Yazawa’s most expensive bento. There’s also the 6,280-yen sirloin or filet steak bento

…and the Zeitaku (“Luxury”) Bento, which gets you two different types of steak strip and a hamburger steak for 7,980 yen.

And yet, Mr. Sato bypassed all of these so that he could instead try the Kiwami (“Perfect Deliciousness”) Bento, which is priced at 9,980 yen (US$92).

As Mr. Sato carried his purchase back to the office, he began to doubt his own sanity (something we’re kind of surprised doesn’t happen more often). A 10,000-yen bento? What was he thinking?!? Had the summer heat addled his brain? Had the lingering exhaustion from his recent journey of redemption to the remote Oki Islands diminished his capacity for logical reasoning?

Back at SoraNews24 headquarters, he removed the bento from its bag, pausing to admire its elegant god lettering and palpable refined elegance. Then he removed the cover and gazed down upon meaty paradise.

Occupying the compartments of the bento box, as well as Mr. Sato’s full attention, were:
● A sliced chateaubriand Gunma wagu A5-rank steak
● A sliced sirloin Gunma wagu A5-rank steak
● A kuroge wagyu hamburger steak
● Some vegetables and pickles, which aren’t important because they’re not MEAT

▼ Sato Vision simulation

So much premium Japanese beef stuck into a humble bento was a surreal sight. To Mr. Sato’s music-loving mind, it was like seeing Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, and Jeff Beck getting ready to perform on the cramped stage of a small-town rec center. And yet, as he continued to look over the boxed lunch, only two words remained in his mind:

“Let’s rock.”

So Mr. Sato ate, and his taste buds were carried to increasingly higher planes of ecstasy, with each bite leaving his palate awash in meaty euphoria.

He kept waiting for his gastronomic pleasure sensors to become saturated, but it never happened. If anything, things got more enjoyable as the meal went on, such as when, after adding Yazawa’s special sauce to his hamburger steak, he broke off a piece of the patty with his chopsticks and revealed its enticingly moist and juicy core.

At 9,980 yen, there’s no argument that Yazawa Meat’s Kiwami Bento is expensive…as long as you’re defining expensive as “costing a lot of money.” On the other hand, if you’re talking about whether or not it delivers on the promise of quality implied by its hefty price tag, it absolutely did for Mr. Sato, and by that logic, you could also say it’s priced perfectly.

Shop information
Meat Yazawa (Daimaru Tokyo Takeout Station branch)/ ミート矢澤 (大丸東京テイクアウトステーション店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, basement level 1
東京都千代田区丸の内1-9-1-B1
Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (weekdays), 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (weekends)
Website

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where after many years living in Japan, he’s now completely supportive of the concept of hamburger steak.

[ Read in Japanese ]