Alibi V.15 No.27 • July 6-12, 2006 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Holy Cow!—Steak lovers, take note! Great American Land and Cattle Co. (1550 Tramway at Indian School) is now serving limited quantities of Wagyu steak, the same breed of cattle that's used in Japan's famous Kobe beef. Kobe is often considered the holy grail of beef varieties, which can command an excess of $100 per pound in Japan. The prime stuff at Great American is produced by a company out of Redmond, Ore., called Kobe Beef America. Because the Wagyu cows are raised domestically, they technically can't be called Kobe. But just like their Japanese counterparts, the cows are reared on a hormone-free feeding program and are graded against both USDA and Japanese standards. (However, it's not clear whether they feed the cows beer and massage them with sake, as the Japanese producers love to insist on.)

I had a chance to sample all three of the retail cuts they're carrying last week. I nearly rose three feet out of my chair after my first bite. As owner Jerry Wright succinctly deadpanned, it's like “beef-flavored butter.” It is. In fact, the beef was so rich and well-marbled with succulent, flavorful fat, both I and my dining companion experienced what can only be described as a “meat hangover” the next day. Wagyu is not for the faint of heart. Or wallet, for that matter. A plate of New York strip, top sirloin or T-bone will run you about $45. (Honestly, it's still cheaper than other places I've seen with it on the menu. But can you put a price on perfection?)

Jerry is planning to do a special American Kobe wine paired dinner, with vintages from Great American's 300 selection wine shop (located on the restaurant’s second floor). Cuts are also available raw, in cryovaced packaging for gourmet grilling at home. Expect to pay about $32 per pound.