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[Sendai's Beef Tongue Grill]

My first trip to Tohoku in two years started in Sendai. When I think of Sendai, the first and foremost thing that comes to mind is the "beef tongue set meal." The flavorful grilled beef tongue, the pickles served with the meat, the savory aroma of the charcoal fire, the barley rice mixed with white rice, and the tail soup with chopped white onions. I look forward to eating the beef tongue set meal at least once every few times I go to Sendai, and the agonizing over which restaurant to choose this time, given the limited time available, is one of the most enjoyable parts of a trip to Sendai for me.

Beef tongue is now a well-known specialty of Sendai, but its history began after World War II, when Keishiro Sano, the first owner of a restaurant called "Tasuke," opened a restaurant specializing in grilled beef tongue in the center of Sendai City in 1948 to make effective use of the tongue and tail left behind by U.S. troops stationed in the country after the GHQ occupation. The first restaurant was opened by Keishiro Sano, the first owner of a restaurant called "Tasuke," in the center of Sendai City. Mr. Sano was told of the deliciousness of beef tongue by a French chef under whom he had studied, and in the course of his subsequent research, he was inspired by the French dish of tan stew, and invented a method of cooking thin slices of tongue and grilling them with salt. Beef tongue became popular among people relocating to Sendai or working alone during the high economic growth period, and was also favored by health-conscious people as it was introduced in the mass media for its high protein content, low fat content, and high nutritional value. In this way, Sendai's grilled beef tongue became increasingly well-known and is now called Sendai's specialty, both in name and in reality.

Arriving in Sendai in the evening, we were still unable to decide on a restaurant on the moving train, but on the way back from our business partner Tohoku Kogei, we asked a staff member about a popular beef tongue restaurant. He recommended a restaurant where each piece of beef tongue is grilled right in front of your eyes, giving it a live atmosphere. We headed for a restaurant called "Umami Tasuke," which has inherited the flavor of "Tasuke." For 60 years since its establishment, the restaurant has been serving salt-flavored grilled beef tongue, following the words of its predecessor, "Salt is the best way to maximize the flavor of beef tongue," and attracting many fans from all over Japan. The owner carefully piles up each piece of beef tongue right in front of you at the counter, and as you watch him grill it at a brisk pace on the grill, your hunger will be at its peak. It is tempting to eat all four pieces of thick, moderately charred beef tongue at once, but we carefully eat each bite, balancing it with the rice and soup. For me, who likes beef tongue with a perfect salty taste and a firm chew, not even a dash of lemon, this is exactly the right strike.

The simple seasoning brings out the best of the ingredients, and you will never get tired of the beef tongue set meal until you finish it. Umami Tasuke is located a four-minute walk from Kotodai Koen Station on Sendai's Namboku Subway Line. If you happen to be in Sendai, please visit us.

Umami Tasuke
Tohoku Kogei