First class steaks on a budget in old Gushikawa
Big Heart Steakhouse in the Midorimachi area of Uruma City struck me as a potentially hidden gem. Certainly it is hidden, tucked away behind the main roads with no signs to snare passers-by. Celebrating 3 decades in business this year there must be a jewel in its pedigree.
The restaurant occupies the second floor of a three story building covered in light gray tile that doesn’t stand out from the homes in the mostly residential back streets of Uruma City. Its clean and quaint appearance from the outside is the antithesis of what one might expect from a fancy steakhouse. A spiral cement staircase leads to the entrance.
The restaurant inside is clean and well laid out. The walls are accented with wood paneling that leads to windows that provide a view of the overflow parking lots behind the main business district on nearby Route 75. Big Heart is free of kitsch or over the top nostalgia that decorates the walls of most theme steakhouses on Okinawa. It looks and feels more like a family restaurant. A small television plays the local news on one side of the dining room; a bookcase with a few Manga titles is on the other side.
30 years in one location must mean that the food is the linchpin of success. The menu - written in Japanese and English - offers three types of steak: special select, diced, and tenderloin. Each steak is available in different sizes and can be paired with another steak, prawns or scallops. All come with rice, soup, and salad as well as mixed vegetables and French fries. I ordered the 150 gram special select steak after learning it is made of beef from cows that have only been fed special grasses.
The steak came on a skillet dish sizzling hot but covered in a paper cloth pinned down by a few toothpicks. The special diet of the livestock used for the special select steak made for a delightfully tender steak. It was not sinewy or too chewy, really just right and tasted like tenderloin. The mixed vegetables consisted of corn, peas and carrots that must have come from a can. The potatoes were hot and firm. The salad and soup were fine.
Steakhouses are places for celebrating with family members; the bigger the occasion, the bigger the steakhouse. If I do have a big occasion to celebrate I might choose a fancier destination. Big Heart however does have delectable steaks at family restaurant prices. My meal cost 1,470 yen. Entrees range in price from 1,100 yen for diced steaks to more than 3,000 yen for a large tenderloin with prawns. Big Heart Steakhouse is located behind the Tsutaya store that is on Route 75 and is open from 11:00 to 22:00 daily.