Opulence, thy name is The Gentleman’s Cheese Beef Bowl.

In recent years in Japan, the act of putting cheese on top of a gyudon/beef bowl has become associated with a certain negative stereotype of a person. The term “cheegyu” for “cheese gyudon” can refer to a certain otaku-adjacent type of person who seems to lack the maturity to concern themselves with matters of proper hygiene, instead choosing to indulge in decadent dishes like cheese on beef bowls.

This is unfortunate because most people would agree that cheese on beef bowls is objectively really good, and it is possible to enjoy this dish responsibly without withdrawing from society. Mr. Sato is one such person and would go as far as saying cheese beef bowls are the omega supreme of all beef bowls.

What’s not to love here?

This, however, creates a different problem. If you can’t get any more delicious than a cheese beef bowl, is it all just downhill from there? Many restaurants have tried, but are mostly just reinventing the wheel.

Take beef bowl chainSukiya’s Gooey Two-Cheese Beef Bowl for 580 yen (US$4), for example (pictured below). Mr. Sato could easily eat one of these every day, but ever since he was mistaken for a senior citizen, he decided to be a little more careful about his diet and only enjoy it on occasion.

It’s really great, but it’s still just a cheese beef bowl in the end. So, Mr. Sato wondered if there was a way to both improve on this already perfect combination of cheese and beef, and at the same time dispel its negative image.

So, he set out to create The Gentleman’s Cheese Beef Bowl, and what better place to do that the high-end department store Isetan.

Although Japan is often criticized for its lack of cheese options, it does have its oases such as the cheese specialty store Hisada, located in the underground food section of the Shinjuku Isetan. Here, Mr. Sato summoned up the courage to ask the well-dressed staff to help him create the ultimate cheese beef bowl.

Mr. Sato: “Um… Sorry if this is a little gauche, but I like cheese beef bowls. So, what cheeses would you recommend to put on a beef bowl?”

Staff: “Ah, yes, they are delicious, aren’t they? Cheese beef bowls…”

Mr. Sato let out a huge sigh of relief. Rather than being shooed away from the store for his boorish eating habits, he had found a power ally to help him with his creation. The staff immediately recommended their mixed cheese, which Mr. Sato thought sounded good but also didn’t seem much different from what Sukiya was offering.

Just as Mr. Sato was considering it, the staff made some other much more interesting recommendations, which our reporter immediately bought.

When he got home he unwrapped the two key ingredients of his Gentleman’s Cheese Beef Bowl. First, were the 106 grams (3.74 ounces) of Farm-made Gouda with Truffle for 1,644 yen ($11), and second was the Belper Knolle Alt, which sold for 2,601 yen ($18).

Left: Farm-made Gouda with Truffles, Right: Belper Knolle Alt

The Farm-made Gouda with Truffle was a no-brainer, and Mr. Sato knew right after opening the package and inhaling that rich truffle scent, that this would go excellent on a beef bowl.

The Belper Knolle Alt was more of a wild card, however. It’s rather hard to come by in most parts of the world, which makes it an ultra-rare cheese in Japan. It’s an aged, dried cheese that’s heavily seasoned with black pepper, Himalayan rock salt, and garlic.

Because of its consistency, it needs to be grated before adding to The Gentleman’s Cheese Beef Bowl.

After shaving off a suitable amount, Mr. Sato was greeted with the rich scent of pepper and garlic.

Once the cheese was ready, he got out his pre-bought takeout from Sukiya. 

Some fancier meat and rice probably would have been a good idea for The Gentleman’s Cheese Beef Bowl, but using Sukiya regular beef bowl would help him get a baseline for comparison’s sake. First, he applied the cuts of Gouda.

Next, he sprinkled on the shavings of Belper Knolle Alt.

It certainly looked extravagant, even in spite of the styrofoam bowl, but how did it taste?

Although Mr. Sato expected the truffles to do most of the heavy lifting in the Gouda, the cheese itself, which was made from unpasteurized Dutch milk, was incredibly flavorful as well. Even better, the cheese seemed to enhance the flavor of the meat to something beyond Sukiya’s typical fare.

There was no doubt that this was the next level in cheese beef bowl deliciousness.

The only flaw Mr. Sato could find was that the pepper and garlic flavors were a little too strong, likely because he added too much Belper Knolle Alt. Still, with any culinary creation, some fine-tuning is necessary. 

And with his cheese horizons thoroughly broadened, our reporter was certain that even more delicious versions of the cheese beef bowl were possible. All you need is the courage to go ask the staff of fancy stores about it.

Store information
Isetan Shinjuku / 伊勢丹新宿店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-14-1
Open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24
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