Aji Tasuke – Sendai beef tongue restaurant Aji Tasuke claims to be the first restaurant in Japan to offer gyotan -- or beef tongue.
Beef tongue – Not what you were expecting? The tongue's rough, gray exterior is removed before gyotan is cooked -- though like many things in life, this procedure is best not Googled. What's left behind is a bright chunk of red meat that's similar in appearance to any other cut of beef you'd see at your local supermarket.
Front row seats – One of the best things about dining at Aji Tasuke is the seating. Those at the counter get front row seats to the grilling action.
Where gyotan was born – Aji Tasuke was founded in 1948 by a man named Keishiro Sano. Today, it remains one of the city's most popular gyotan restaurants.
Blink and you'll miss it – Aji Tasuke's exterior. The small eatery sits on a busy, restaurant-filled Sendai street.
The man who started it all – A photograph of Aji Tasuke founder Keishiro Sano hangs on the wall.
Beef tongue curry – For those who want to try other variations of the dish -- Aji Tasuke only serves it the one way -- restaurants Rikyu and Kisuke have several locations in Sendai. The beef tongue curry served at both is particularly good.
Beef tongue imports – Last year Japan imported more than 16,500 metric tons of U.S. beef tongue -- down slightly from 2014, but more than double the total from 2012. "In 2012, U.S. beef exports to Japan were still limited to beef from cattle 20 months of age or younger," explained Joe Schuele of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. "When this age limit was raised to 30 months (in February 2013), a larger supply of U.S. beef tongues became eligible for Japan."