And it’s an all-you-can-eat plan, too!

We love yakiniku, the Japanese take on Korean barbecue, where you grill your own meat over an open flame at your table and dip it in your favorite sauce. Sadly, it can be expensive, but luckily we know a cheap way to get your flame-grilled, meaty fix: Yakiniku Horumon Bankara in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area.

Shinjuku is also home to a cheap yakiniku restaurant that gives you a one-time all-you-can-eat for 980 yen (US$8.93), but Bankara, located in the Kabukicho area just across from the Robot Restaurant, has an edge over that. They’re offering a monthly subscription service for just 2,929 yen, including tax, and if you join you’ll be able to eat as much yakiniku as you like every day of the month!

There’s a small caveat: the only thing on the menu for the subscription is small intestines. But still, that means for just about 100 yen per day you could eat flame-grilled intestines every day! Sounds amazing, right? Maybe almost too good to be true. We half wondered if we were going to get something gross…but hey, we’ll try anything once. So we sent our Japanese language reporter Yuchiro Wasai to go check it out for us.

Yuichiro came back and said immediately, “It was tasty!” Surprisingly, the quality was pretty good. The small intestines he received were soft and delicate, and when he put a piece in his mouth it simply melted. He barely stopped to enjoy the delicious flavor before he put more on the grill. Apparently, these are cuts of the intestines of the wagyu breed known as Japanese black cattle, so it’s no wonder they were so tender and delicious.

The taste was unbelievably good. It comes in the traditional fashion of a whole strip that you cut and grill as you go. On the regular menu, an order of these costs 480 yen, so if you order seven or more plates in a month, then the subscription becomes worthwhilem and if you happen to be a fan of this part of a cow, the subscription at Bankara is a great deal!

On the flip side, though, as Yuichiro points out, the value of this subscription may diminish over time. At first you might be excited to eat all the small intestines you can, but after a while, the more you go to the restaurant, the more you’ll be tempted to try something else, like the delicious-looking specials they advertise.

▼ The black beef wagyu small intestines come with a warning: “Careful! It melts!”

How does this compare with yakiniku chain restaurant Gyukaku’s monthly subscription to all-you-can-eat yakiniku? At Gyu-kaku you could choose from all different kinds of meat, but  they charged 11,000 yer month, making it vastly more expensive than Bankara, and in any case Gyukaku seems to have stopped offering theirs.

However, there is one additional, super important benefit that Bankara has: a monthly all-you-can-drink subscription! Yes, that’s right, for just 2,500 yen per month, even less than the cost of the yakiniku subscription, you could come to Bankara every day and drink all the beer and cocktails you want for 90 minutes. And if you buy both, it’s just a mere 5,500 yen per month to enjoy all the char-grilled small intestines and all the alcohol you want!

Of course, if you ‘re not stating near or regularly commuting through Shinjuku, neither is a really worthwhile subscription. But if you are, and you like to drink, then this is one helluva good deal.

But Yuichiro also wants to warn you that subscribing to the all-you-can-eat monthly subscription is dangerous. It’s nigh impossible to go to a restaurant and stringently order just one thing, especially a yakiniku restaurant which has a large menu like Bankara.

For example, Yuichiro went intending only to eat small intestines, but actually, he had to order a beer, because you can’t eat yakiniku without beer…

Then of course he ordered some small intestines

And after that he accidentally got some beef tenderloin

And some top sirloin

Some skirt steak

Some sweetbread lamb

And some kasu udon with deep fried beef intestines…

So it ended up costing as much as a regular trip to any other yakiniku restaurant. “It’s scary,” said Yuichiro, with a faraway look in his eyes. He recommends that if you do sign up for this subscription, try to resist temptation and only order the small intestines. Or, he said later, scratching his head. maybe allow yourself to succumb to the appeal of the menu and order whatever you want. That might be part of the fun.

Restaurant information

Bankara / ばんから
Address: Tokyo-to, Shunjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-13-19 TC 13 Building
東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-13-9 TC第13ビル
Open Noon-midnight

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]