Patrons can ask for it by name at such restaurants as The Saloon in Chicago and New York’s V Steakhouse. According to the American Wagyu Association, more than 60 U.S. breeders and ranchers now handle these cattle.
A couple of Lobel’s boneless rib steaks. One of this New York butcher shop’s relative bargains for Wagyu beef, often called Kobe-style beef, these will set you back at least $53 per pound.
Wagyu beef is exquisitely tender, with soft fat that can all but melt at human body temperature, meaning it must be handled with care ? should you be lucky enough to get your hands on some.
With such delicate intramuscular fat, steaks must be briefly seared to leave the interior just barely cooked, more like a fine hunk of tuna than beef. The texture is meant to be closer to pate ? or, indeed, foie gras. Any more than a few moments over heat and Wagyu steaks are wasted.
“The whole secret is medium rare and only salt and pepper,” says Beverly Yamamoto, who with her husband, Gary, raises nearly 4,000 Wagyu cattle in Texas. “Gary does not allow anybody to put anything on his meat.”