An owner and a chef, both floored by their studies under Japan’s premier aged beef specialist, have joined forces to present Aurochs, transporting guests to another time in the historic Shikemichi district of Nagoya and deeply satisfying them with the sumptuous flavors of aged beef. Even for the aged beef uninitiated, dining here affords guests a deep understanding of different varieties and stories of the wonderful places and farmers that raise them.
Aurochs was a wild cattle variety that once roamed the earth – the ancestor of today’s livestock cattle. And the historical links continue in the restaurant’s superb location. Nagoya’s Shikemichi heritage district in Nagono is halfway between the resplendent Nagoya Castle and the modern Nagoya Station. It feels like a trip back in time as you wander past the white stucco walls contrasting with stone foundations, tiled rooves, and dark wooden trims, exploring the shops and restaurants interspersed between homes where people still live today. The district’s name translates literally as “Street of Four Measures”, so named because after a fire destroyed the district in the 1700s, the feudal lord ordered that buildings have a distance of four measures (about 7 meters) between them, as well as mud-plastered walls instead of wooden ones, all in the name of fire prevention.
Aurochs was opened in 2021 by Taro Yamaguchi after an experience that left him overwhelmed by the flavors of aged beef prepared by the specialist Yoshinobu Niiho, owner of Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture-based Sakaeya. Already an owner of Italian and yakiniku restaurants in Nagoya, Yamaguchi met the aged beef pioneer and vowed to open a counter restaurant to showcase his beef as steak. So he sent staff from his restaurant group to learn from Sakaeya all about aging, preservation, and the best preparations. Together, they put those tenets into practice, pushing the limits to show beef’s potential through aging and proper treatment.