This is my first official post about places to eat if you are visiting Japan for the Ise Summit, or if you are simply in the Kansai (関西) area. Everyone has heard of Kobe beef (神戸牛), but Matsusaka beef (松阪牛) is just as legendary in Japan. Japanese beef is called wagyuu (和牛). Let’s assume you are staying near Ise-shi Station on the Kintetsu Railway line, and you want the best beef doria in Matsusaka (locals slur it, so it becomes Massaka).
What is doria? Doria was invented by a Swiss chef, Saly Weil, who worked at the Hotel Newgrand in Yokohama. It is a mix of sautéed vegetables, meat/fish, rice, and cream sauce, which is topped with cheese and baked.
Allow me to introduce Nagomi Kitchen Hoshi (和みキッチン星), a dark, slightly western cafe 10 minutes from Matsusaka Station. Hoshi (星) means “star,” by the way. Nagomi is the verb stem of nagomu(和む), meaning “to rest” or “to be comforted.”
I ate at Nagomi Kitchen Hoshi last year and never forgot the tangy 松阪牛和風ドリア(Japanese-style Matsusaka Beef Doria). Thus, when I needed a place to take my friend–7–en route to Osaka, it immediately came to mind. I liked their salad dressing. It was sweet, creamy, smooth, and familiar… I had to know what it was, so I asked at the register: corn dressing! It blew my mind, but when I took 7, she guessed it at once. (¬_¬)<–Japanese Sideways Glance of Slight Annoyance! Aside from doria, Nagomi Kitchen Hoshi serves up pasta, pizza, and dessert. I planned on getting pizza somewhere else; therefore, I got 松阪豚ドリア (Matsusaka Buta[pork] Doria). Though the saffron rice was delectable, and the tomatoes brightened the dish, I liked 7’s きのこ和風チキンドリア(Japanese-style Chicken and Mushroom Doria) more. Oddly enough, I later realized her dish was my first, but with chicken.
Celestey’s 裁き (sah ba key, Judgement)
Salad: 8/10 (It is small, but that is not uncommon in Japan.)
Japanese-style Matsusaka Beef Doria: 9/10
Matsusaka Pork Doria: 5/10 (Blame dish envy. It was average.)
Japanese-style Mushroom and Chicken Doria: 8/10
If that temps you, read on for directions. I recommend using Hyperdia or some type of train schedule app to configure your train schedules, but here is what your route will look like (and don’t bother paying the extra 500 yen to ride the Limited Express, the good ‘ol 400 yen express will get you there in 14 minutes):
09:57 Kintetsu Ise-shi Station (Express train bound for Osaka-Uehonmachi St.)
10:11 Kintetsu/JR Matsusaka Station
Walking directions: Exit Matsusaka Station via the JR side (Exit 1). You’ll see taxis ahead and a Vie de France bakery to the right. Walk straight, make a right at the second traffic light (which has “松阪駅前” written in blue letters).
Walk straight、through one traffic light (called “中町東”). From there, make a left at the second intersection, then an immediate right at the light (“本町東”). Keep going straight, past the small street on the left. As you approach a bridge, you should see a building with a yellow star on your left. That’s it!
Nagomi Kitchen Hoshi Info:
Address: 三重県松阪市本町2303-1 (Mie-ken, Matsusaka City, Honmachi 2303-1)
Hours: Lunch 11:00-16:00 (last order: 15:30)
Dinner 18:00-24:00 (last order: 23:00)
Price: The dishes range from ￥800 to ￥1200 yen. For an extra ￥100, you can get a small salad and drink. Add ￥50 for slightly larger portions.