I had read about Mishimatei on Fodor's and Lonely Planet and decided to give it a try.
We were very warmly welcomed by the staff and quickly ushered up to the second floor of the shop (there's a butchery run by the same people on the ground floor, if you love beef, you would go crazy looking at the offerings available) and into a private tatami matted dining room.
They have an English menu and we decided to go for the lunch set, which at about US$50 per pax, is incredible value for the dining experience and the quality of the beef.
A pleasant waitress was on hand to help us throughout the meal - she spoke limited English but we didn't have any problems ordering. She took our orders and came back shortly with a plate of gorgeously marbled large slices of beef (there were two large slices for each person), with some tofu, onions and vegetables as the side shows.
She did all the cooking for us and was always on hand to assist when we needed anything. She cooked the beef in a shallow hot pan in our table using salt and sukiyaki sauce. The beef was absolutely divine and when coated with the raw egg, was so silky smooth and tender that it almost literally melted in my mouth. If this is the "tourist" lunch menu, I can't imagine how the US$120 per pax "highest grade" sukiyaki set would taste like.
We were able to take our time to enjoy the meal and were not hurried in any way. Word of warning - You do end up smelling like cooked beef after the meal though! It was a fun experience and the staff was wonderful. I thought it was excellent value for money as an equivalent meal back home could cost double the price I paid.
I've read that there are better sukiyaki places in Kyoto, but if they are truly better than Mishimatei, damn, I've got to make a trip back to Kyoto soon to have my mind blown away!