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Cutting into the US market with western-style cooking with a brand-new imagination

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Cutting into the US market wit... Cutting into the US market wit... Cutting into the US market wit...
By Keiko Fukuda

Red Rock opened in August of 2017 in Torrance, a suburb of Los Angeles, with the Slice Beef Don from Kobe as their signature dish. A rumor which said that you could taste a very unfamiliar sounding dish called the Slice Beef Don, spread instantly in the neighborhood. One time when I asked a friend of mine for a place to meet for lunch, she said, “I want to try Red Rock,” without a moment of hesitation. That was the first time I visited Red Rock. What appeared in front of me was literally a red rock. Rice was hidden under the many layers of red roast beef slices. The “rock” of beef was hard to chip away at even with substantial effort. The very flavorful beef and rice went very well together as they were, but the server said, “Please try with this if you like,” and gave me a white sauce. The sauce tasted like yogurt.

This Slice Beef Don surprises you by its appearance first, overwhelms you with the quantity, and then surprises you again by its unimaginable combination of roast beef with rice, and yogurt sauce. It is indeed a “western style dish with a brand-new concept”, which you have never tasted before.

After that, every time I passed by Red Rock, I saw a long line of people waiting outside. I visited the restaurant a few more times after that, and finally in the spring of 2018, I had a chance to talk to the founder, Akira Masuda. Currently, there are 11 Red Rock restaurants in Japan, and the Torrance location is the first overseas Red Rock. Besides the Red Rock restaurant chain, R & B Shuhari Inc., which Mr. Masuda is the CEO of, has been developing a wide variety of restaurant businesses including bars, izakayas, tonkatsu,and Mongolian barbecue restaurants.

Mr. Masuda explained the origin of the sliced roast beef donburi concept as follows: “I just thought of combining and completing a dish using roast beef and rice together while I was having a roast beef dish at a restaurant, and tried to create such a dish shortly after that.” He started the Red Rock chain in Japan 4 years ago, and succeeded in running the multi-restaurant business, which gave him confidence. He decided to join the US market, and did so very quickly. I wondered why he chose Torrance.

He said, “The reason I chose Torrance for our first overseas restaurant was because I wanted to study the US market while running a business in an area where many Japanese and other Asians live.”

In the early days right after the opening, they were serving the same menu as Japan’s location. After a while, they started to serve other dishes other than the Slice Beef Don such as omelet rice, and curry rice. Masahiro Karl Ohshima, the manager, explained that they kept adding more dishes to their main menu by trying here and there to accommodate lunch for business people, and a wider range of customers such as families with children who come more often on weekends.

They also carry a wide variety of alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, Japanese sake, and shochu brands. Mr. Ohshima said, “For dinner time, there are many customers who just enjoy wine with a side of steak dish.”

Red Rock, which cut into the US market with their signature dishes of Slice Beef Don, steaks, and omelet rice, is planning to open the second US restaurant soon. The location is the Sawtelle District in West Los Angeles, where a lot of Asian restaurants fiercely compete with each other. Mr. Masuda spoke of his future prospect as follows: “Although we are from Japan, it does not have to mean automatically that it will be a fight with ramen and sushi. I would like to win with a new type of particular cuisine in this market. I would like to show the same successful result as the Red Rock in Japan, here in the US as well, in the next 3 years.”


新しい発想の洋食で米市場に斬り込む

2017年8月、ロサンゼルス郊外のトーランスに、神戸からローストビーフ丼を提げてレッドロックがオープンした。耳慣れないローストビーフの丼が食べられるという噂は瞬く間に界隈を駆け巡り、ある時、友人とランチの約束をする際に「どこがいい?」と聞くと、彼女は「レッドロックに行ってみたい」と即答した。

こうして、初体験となったレッドロック。目の前に登場したのは、まさに赤い岩。何層にも重なった赤いローストビーフの下にご飯が隠れている。そのビーフの岩は崩しても崩してもなかなかなくならない。また、しっかりと味のついたビーフとご飯の相性はそのままでも抜群だが、店の方に「お好みでこちらをかけてお召し上がりください」と白いソースを勧められた。口に運ぶと、それはヨーグルトの味がした。

このローストビーフ丼、まず見た目で驚かせ、量で圧倒し、さらにローストビーフにご飯、ヨーグルトソースの組み合わせの意外性で再び驚かせる。これはこれまでに食べたことのない「新しい発想の洋食」だ。

その後、レッドロックの前を通るたびに、店の外に伸びる行列が目に入った。そして私も数度リピートした後、2018年春、創業者である増田昭さんに店で話を聞く機会があった。レッドロックは現在、日本国内に11店舗、トーランス店は海外初の店だ。しかも、増田さんが代表取締役を務める有限会社R & B 守破離は、レッドロック以外にもバー、居酒屋、トンカツ、ジンギスカンをはじめ、多彩な飲食店を展開している。

ローストビーフ丼の発想の源について増田さんは、「レストランでローストビーフを食べた時に、これをご飯と組み合わせて完結させた料理を作りたい、と思い付き、すぐに作ってみました」と語る。4年前にレッドロックを日本でスタートした後、多店舗経営に成功し、手応えを感じた増田さんは、これでアメリカ市場に参入しようと即実行した。それではなぜトーランスだったのか?

「日本人をはじめアジア人が多いこの場所で、まずはビジネスをしながら市場を勉強させて頂こうと思ったのが、ここに海外1号店を出した理由です」

開店当初は日本と同じメニューだったが、その後、オムライスやカレーなどローストビーフ丼以外の料理も出すようになった。マネジャーを務める大島カール将弘さんは、ランチタイムに多いビジネス層以外にも、週末になると増える家族連れの顧客のために、子どもをはじめ幅広い層に受け入れられるメニューをトライアルで導入しながら正式メニューに加えてきたと説明する。

また、ビール、ワイン、日本酒、焼酎とアルコール類も充実している。ディナータイムには「ワインと一緒に、ステーキをつまみに楽しむお客様も多いですね」と大島さん。

こうして、ローストビーフ、ステーキ、オムライスを看板に、アメリカに斬り込んだレッドロック、次なるアメリカ2号店が近くオープン予定だ。ロケーションはアジアのレストランがひしめく激選区、ウエストロサンゼルスのソーテル。「日本から来たからと言って、ラーメンや寿司で勝負するのではなく、こだわりの新しい料理で、アメリカ市場に挑戦したいですね。今後3年でレッドロックの結果をここで出したいと思います」と増田さんは抱負を語った。



Red Rock
2141 W 182nd St., Torrance CA 90504
(424)329-3363
11:30am-2;30pm / 5:00pm-9:30pm
7days Open
http://www.redrock-kobebeef.com/en/
#alljapannews #RedRock #LA #Kobe #beef #don #Japanese #omlet #rice #steak

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