Man oh man it’s good to have Mansei around.

They say that Beef God never closes a beef door without opening a beef window. Okay, maybe we’re paraphrasing a bit there, but it’s absolutely true that while many felt an undeniable despair when we found out that Akihabara’s famous Mansei Building, a multi-story nine-floor skyscraper filled with meat-focused restaurants, was closing, those who held on to their carnivorous faith are now being offered salvation.

The Mansei Building’s multiple restaurants all specialized in different things, and on March 25, a successor to its steak, hamburger steak, and cutlet sandwich eateries opened. Called Niku no Mansei Akiba Place Branch (niku no translating, effectively, to “meat”), the new restaurant is a few blocks north of where the Mansei Building stood, but still only about a five-minute walk from Akihabara Station in downtown Tokyo.

▼ The smiling Mansei cow mascot/logo is the sign that you’re in the right spot.

The old Mansei Building opened up in the early ‘90s, before Japan had become the major international travel destination that it is now, and also before the global anime boom that’s made Akihabara in particular a mecca for visitors from overseas. The new Mansei restaurant has a sign out front announcing its status in English as a wagyu steak and hamburg restaurant, and the menu has English too.

Being located just one floor up from a branch of the ultra-casual Saizeriya Italian restaurant chain, you might expect Mansei to be a little rough around the edges in terms of interior décor, but stepping into its entryway shows that it’s actually a pretty classy place.

▼ It’s customary for new businesses in Japan to receive floral arrangements from well-wishers to celebrate their opening, and Mansei still had some on display when we stopped by.

By coincidence, we just so happened to arrive between the lunch and dinner crowds, and had the place entirely to ourselves when we sat down.

The most prominent things on the menu are the steak and hamburger steak plates, and yes, Mansei offers combo sets that include both, perfect for when you’re feeling especially hungry or indecisive.

They even offer “jumbo lobster” (which might actually be closer to a jumbo prawn, due to quirks in Japanese seafood nomenclature)…

…a wide range of side orders like croquettes, shumai dumplings, and deep fried pork spare rib cutlets…

…and several types of alcoholic beverages, in case you want to toast the excitement of your Tokyo travels in general or your latest Akihabara shopping run find in particular.

Even with all those options, though, it didn’t take us long to settle on what we wanted: the 120-gram Mansei Steak and Hamburger Steak Two Top Steak, which is priced at 3,520 yen (US$24) at dinner, to which we added the washoku (“Japanese food”) set of miso soup, pickles, and all-you-can-eat rice for 605 yen.

After a short wait, we had our food before us. As is the custom in Japan, the steak and hamburger steak were served on a hot metal plate to ensure the meat wouldn’t go cold as we savored it, and accompanied by some mixed vegetables.

Starting with the steak, it was nice and tender, deliciously grilled to the red-rare that’s the most popular way for steak restaurants to prepare their beef in Japan.

Between steak and hamburger steak, the former is considered the more premium dining experience, but to our very pleasant surprise, we found Mansei’s hamburger steak is every bit as satisfying.

It’s incredibly flavorful and moist, so much so that when you slice off a piece, it’s almost like someone wrung a sponge of meat juices onto the plate. The sizzling sound when that happens only amped up our expectations for the next bite, a phenomenon that occurred over and over as we ate.

Mansei’s hamburger steak is so good that we were tempted to buy a couple from the restaurant’s takeout fridge…

…but in the end we resisted, because it gives us an excuse to go back and eat at the restaurant again ASAP.

Restaurant information
Niku no Mansei (Akiba Place branch) / 肉の万世(アキバプレイス店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 3-15-1, Akiba Place 3rd floor
Open 11 a.m.
Last food order at 9:30 p.m.

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