Yakiniku Futago: Where Wagyu Takes the Stage
Hi Everyone! Welcome back to Ngo Your Meal. Today, I wanted to share our visit to Yakiniku Futago, a modern BBQ restaurant specializing in yakiniku. While "Yakiniku" is a Japanese term that refers to grilled meat, Yakiniku Futago does demonstrate influences of Korean cuisine as you will see shortly. The New York location opened in 2015 but Yakiniku Futago already has over 40 locations worldwide.
PRO TIP: Yakiniku Futago has a loyalty program, where if you visit 10 times, you receive your own pair of golden tongs and a plaque with your name on it. If you really like Yakiniku Futago, this is a fun way to get rewarded for your dedication. Ask your waiter/waitress on the best way to join.
The venue feels upscale and trendy. Don't let that intimidate you because the atmosphere here is welcoming and not pretentious at all. Everyone seems to be here just to enjoy some good quality meats. Also, the prices are actually fairly reasonable so you can order several dishes without breaking the bank.
The menu includes a variety of appetizers, rice dishes, and Korean-influenced dishes, including Bibimbap and Samgyeopsal (Pork Belly). But, Yakiniku Futago's specialty is its grilled meat. The menu consists of smaller servings so you can taste and compare the differences between Beef Tongue and Beef Sirloin, for example.
PRO TIP #2: Try to avoid US Kobe. I suggest that because there's real Japanese wagyu on the menu and I think that's more worthwhile. If you reserve in advance, you should request to get the Hamideru Kalbi, which we'll describe later. This dish has limited availability each day.
Overall, Yakiniku Futago is a lot of fun. If you order a lot of dishes, it can be pricy but you won't be disappointed. The quality of beef is good but not the best, otherwise, it would be much more expensive. Hope this was a helpful post! Thanks for reading.
The venue feels upscale and trendy. Don't let that intimidate you because the atmosphere here is welcoming and not pretentious at all.
To start, Steph and I got a few appetizers. The first was the Lightly Broiled Beef with Sea Urchin. Upon arriving, it looked pretty good (see raw picture above). It had decent marbling and was sliced into convenient, bite-sized pieces.
While cooking the beef, our waitress prepared the accompanying ingredients, which included a double-layered blanket of shiso and seaweed and a pillow of sea urchin. Honestly, I don't usually like the wagyu and uni combos that are beginning to appear all over NYC. But, this one is quite good. The seaweed and shiso mix definitely sets this flavor bomb apart from all the other lame, try-hard attempts to pair wagyu and uni.
Next, we got the Unforgettable Tofu. Unfortunately, it was quite forgettable. So, let's move on.
The Diamond Cut Kalbi was our next target (see above). It arrived at our table looking immaculate as can be. I don't know why it needed to be cut with diamonds but it was fantastic. I guess it would be more fun if they showed the process of cutting the meat. Since our visit, it seems like this dish has been renamed to Dragon Cut Kalbi.
By the way, Kalbi is the Korean word for Beef Short Ribs. The Koreans know what's up because I think Short Rib is one of the most unappreciated meats. Even with a light marinade, the meat radiates with unstoppable flavor.
Each table is equipped with a grill. It's not just for show but it's also ideal for enjoying all the smells and aromas of the grill. Due to the quality of the meat, it's imperative that the meats be cooked perfectly. Overcooking past medium-rare will start to dry out the meat. And since the meat spends a short amount of time on the grill, that means it won't take long to cool down. That being said, the table-side grill ensures that the freshly grilled meats are as near to your mouth as possible.
Yakiniku Futago also provides two different types of sauces: Citrus and Garlic. The Citrus sauce is recommended for vegetables while the Garlic sauce is suggested for meats.
If you need a break from all this BBQ, I suggest the Japanese Style Cold Noodle. The menu says it's made with 8 different ingredients and takes 8 hours to prepare. It looks very plain but the broth is crisp and refreshing. The noodles are also quite nice and chewy. For $6 per bowl, it's probably the best deal on the menu.
Now, for the main event, we got the Hamideru Kalbi. As soon as it arrives, you'll be shocked by its dramatic entrance. The meat is one large thinly sliced piece and comes out to a modest half pound serving of Japanese Black Wagyu Ribeye. The waitress provides you with a simple guide that explains the four different cuts (Kaburi, Geta, Rib-Maki, Rib-Shin), each of which has its own unique characteristics. I wish Yakiniku Futago's guide was a bit more clear though.
The two pieces you see above are the Rib-Maki (left) and Rib-Shin (right) cuts, which were my favorites because I thought they were the most tender and tasty pieces. The Kaburi and Geta cuts were good but they weren't as tender as the Rib portions.
While, in terms of taste, all the pieces were fairly similar, I thought the Rib portions had more juicy explosiveness. The fat of wagyu is also very unique. It has a subtle sweetness to it.
Finally, to end the meal, we got some Yuzu Sorbet. This was delightful. It's a great way to end the show and cleanse your palate from all the smoky, meaty flavors that you enjoyed throughout the meal.