Kobe Steak House, 156/21 Phetchaburi Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Nearest Train:BTS Ratchathewi
Opening Hours:daily 11am-11pm
Situated in a resolutely unglamorous neighborhood, across from the Phetburi Soi 7 slums, Kobe Steak House’s bright neon sign sure stands out. It is to restaurants what good motels are to hotels: efficient, affordable, no-nonsense but with zero charm. Like them, Kobe Steak House gets the job done—good cuts of properly cooked meat—just don’t count on fireworks. That’s not to say the place is dodgy or run-down. On the contrary, the cold, masculine decor is a bit too cold and business-like: fake red leather chairs, tables trimmed in chrome and a long, open teppanyaki kitchen clad in stainless steal. Even the menus are extremely professional, with photography, paper and design strangely reminiscent of Zen. The beef menu offers a range of cuts (shabu, teriyaki, sukiyaki) and grades: Thai, US, Kobe, Kobe “extra” and Matsusaka. If you were in Soi Thaniya, you’d only get these prices during lunch hour—and with much smaller portons. The regular Kobe may not be the melting marvel that “extra” Kobe is, but it’s still incredibly tender, cooked just right and served with a generous multitude of sides: grilled mushrooms, a big shrimp, bell peppers, sauteed vegetables. You’ll need a solid appetite or a friend to help out. Buttery and salty, with a nice crisp exterior, everything off the tepanyaki grill is finger-licking good. You can also try the salmon set for something lighter, cheaper and just as tasty. Just like the slick menu suggests, the sushi, sashimi and appetizers are indistinguishable from chain Japanese restaurants: adequate freshness but nothing to write home about, plenty of mayonnaise and a certain straight out of the fridge texture. Case in point: the avocado salad with its bright red shrimp roe, four slithers of tasteless avocado and big glob of mayo. Affordable and dependable, this metallic diner also owes a lot to its fast, attentive service. They even break out the occasional guilty smile, as if they don’t want to be caught betraying the serious steakhouse they work for. Corkage B100.