Restaurateurs and chefs across the country have been tossing around the words Wagyu and Kobe (a sub-genre of Wagyu) like they’re candy. Dozens of small neighborhood restaurants offer Kobe burgers, for example—but there’s no regulation, so that “Kobe” could just be American Angus. When I look at a menu that uses the word Wagyu, I wonder: Is it American Wagyu? Is it even Wagyu at all?
Wagyu beef comes from cattle raised in specific Japanese prefectures including Hyogo, Shiga, and Saga. How the cattle is fed, how often, and what it’s fed lead to meat that possesses an intricate web of fat and flesh. Additionally, this breed of cattle sports impossibly fine muscle fibers.
But the only features you should care about are the ones that reveal themselves once you sink your teeth into a piece of Wagyu. Sink is the operative word because if what you are eating is genuine Japanese Wagyu beef, there won’t be much chewing—only sinking, melting, and maybe cooing. Most people use the word buttery to describe the oleaginous meat.
Real Wagyu beef, rarely available in the U.S., is here for one week at Katana Robata & Sushi Bar on Sunset. Katana presents Wagyu in almost every edible manifestation possible, from slider to nigiri for its Wagyu Week. The Wagyu offered at Katana is graded A5 (the highest in its category) and from the Saga prefecture in Kyushu, Japan.
The best way to experience Wagyu this week may be Katana’s three-way tasting, which includes two-ounces each of prime cuts: New York, rib-eye, and filet mignon. Each precious cut is optimally grilled on Japanese binchō-tan charcoal so that it achieves optimal caramelization. A quick dip into wasabi relish and the result is a smoky, naturally sweet, velvety piece of beef that will have you marveling, “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” Nope, it’s actually Wagyu.
Katana’s Wagyu Week runs through March 9. Select Wagyu items will be available after the promotion ends.
Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, 8439 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-650-8585.