Wagyu and fries

Posted on November 12, 2005 by Aun

I’ll be getting back to my posts on Shanghai over the next week or so, but first I want to write about one of the best meals I’ve had recently. One of the great things about it is that I had it at home. Which to me is the best place to eat good food. Don’t get me wrong. I love going out to eat. I adore discovering small, hidden gems. I get a kick out of eating in dingy street stalls and coffee shops that, in defiance of their appearances, serve fantastic food. I also love the almost theatrical experience of going to a high-class restaurant, from dressing up for the occasion to service that operates at a smooth hum to the unveiling of delicious and artistically plated food. But nothing beats eating at home, simply because eating at home is completely relaxing. You don’t have to dress up. A pair of shorts and a T-shirt is fine, even with the fanciest food. You don’t have to put up with any snooty sommelier when choosing what wine you want to drink. Just get up, go to the wine fridge and pull out whatever you feel like. You don’t have to deal with noisy, annoying customers at the next table. The only people in the room are the ones you invite. And best of all, you choose exactly what you want to eat. There’s no chance of sitting down, looking at a menu which has nothing appealing on it, or ordering something only to hear that the dish you’ve asked for is sold out. You (or your loved one) buy the ingredients. You (or your loved one) cook the food.

A few weeks back, thanks to famed-Nonya cookbook author and cooking instructor Shermay Lee, my wife S and I were contacted by a guy named Steve Loh. Steve is fronting a new company called The Upper Cut, which is bringing in top quality Australian Wagyu beef and selling it to both individuals and restaurants. The Upper Cut claims that most “Wagyu” on the market is actually beef from cows that have been cross-bred between Japanese Wagyu and Angus or a similar breed. Their Wagyu, they state, is genetically pure. And therefore much, much better, with better marbling and fuller flavor.

For those who don’t know, Wagyu (or Kobe) beef is famed for its marbling (which in layman’s terms refers to the wonderful streaks of fat running throughout the meat). It’s equally well-known for its ridiculously high prices. To put it really simply, the more marbled the meat, the more you pay.

After a few emails and a couple of phone calls, Steve generously offered to let us try some of his Wagyu, hoping that we’d like it and then tell friends and chefs about his company. He sent over two steaks each (each weighing about 220g) of 450 day aged grain-fed Wagyu Striploin and 450 day aged grain-fed Wagyu Ribeye. Each had a marbling grade of 7. For reference, a top USDA Ribeye would have a grade of between 4 and 5. Wagyu, on the other hand and at the top end, can have a grade of up to 12. Here’s a picture of two of the 4 steaks we were sent. The one on the left is the the Ribeye; the other the Striploin. As you can see, even at grade 7, these steaks are beautifully marbled.

We decided to invite two friends who we knew would really appreciate these gorgeous hunks of meat to join us. We also went out the day before our meal and splurged a bit, buying a brand-new Tefal deep fryer (model 4008002 pro-fryer). Both S and I are big fans of pommes frites. And while we’ve tried making them at home in the past, we’ve never been satisfied with our efforts. Frying them in a wok is just too messy. And oven-baking frozen ones has never really produced fries with the right texture. I’d been advocating for a deep fryer in order to make and serve better chips for quite a while, but S had always resisted. Buying a deep fryer to my darling and very health-conscious wife was the surest way to ensure that we’d never eat healthily again. (Oddly enough, the same idea never crossed her mind when she bought an industrial ice cream maker a few years ago–not that I’m complaining, her ice creams are out of this world.) So, I was slightly amazed when she (finally) agreed to buy one. I guess the prospect of eating a beautiful steak with substandard fries finally got to her. Here’s a (press) picture of our new baby.

To complement the steak and fries, I made a mushroom sauce and S whipped up a fresh batch of Bernaise. We also set out some mustard and some organic plum tomato relish. We seasoned the steaks with a little salt and pepper–meat this good doesn’t really need anything else–and seared them over high heat. I had been told by a chef-friend that I trust that this was the best way to eat Wagyu, seared almost to the point of crispy on the outside, but as rare or as raw as possible inside. After cooking, we let the meat rest for a good 5 minutes before serving it with a final sprinkle of Fleur de Sel.

The steaks were excellent. Full of flavor. Soft but not too soft. All of us preferred the Ribeye more than the Striploin. It seemed to melt in our mouths just that much more than the Striploin. But that’s kind of like saying, “I liked the Porsche and the Ferrari, but I prefer the Ferrari; it had more zip.” Quite frankly, we were damn happy to have both kinds of steaks and would have been equally ecstatic with either–just like I’d be happy with either the Porsche or the Ferrari. Of course, the problem with eating the Wagyu is that now, any other steak is not going to match up.

The pommes frites, I should also add, were exceptional. I can’t believe we hadn’t bought a deep fryer sooner. They were perfect, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. And easy to cook. We sprinkled them with some of the Murray River Lake Salt that I love and devoured them with the Bernaise and the tomato relish.

With the meal, we enjoyed a gorgeous wine, a Joseph Phelps’ 1999 Insignia (red table wine). This wine was rated by Robb Report in 2003 as the best domestic (American) wine released that year. It’s a beautiful, fruit-driven and jammy wine, soft and not too tannic.

As I said at the beginning of this post, this was a fantastic meal. Great company, beautiful ingredients, the perfect bottle of wine and all of it without leaving my home.

If you’re interested in trying Steve’s delicious Wagyu for yourself, please click over to the link below. While expensive, it really is worth it.
The Upper Cut

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Frederico November 13, 2005 at 12:53 am

    oh gosh… that’s like my dream ideal meal… a good quality steak with fries… :P
    i’ve never had the opportunity to try wagyu beef though… though i’ve always seen it hyped up on tv …
    How is it really different from an average steak?
    Pity it’s a little out of my league to eat at the moment.. lol…

  2. augustusgloop November 13, 2005 at 6:43 am

    Oh it’s true. Now that you’ve had wagyu, every other steak will seem tough and flavourless by comparison.

    And those are good-lookin’ chips too.

  3. Santos November 13, 2005 at 9:52 am

    (laughing) i can feel your giddiness from your deep-fryer purchase from here! well done. now you can try clement’s deep-fried ice cream recipe.

  4. Anonymous November 13, 2005 at 2:03 pm

    does this mean that places like coq and bull dont serve pure wagyu beef?

  5. kath red November 13, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    hi there, i just wanted to let you know that i am really enjoying reading your blog – thoughtful and detailed posts about wonderful food with a bit of personal thrown in. this beef looks fantastic.

  6. The UnProfessional Chef November 13, 2005 at 9:48 pm

    Mmmmmn, you’ve put ideas into my head for more dining-in options – which I totally agree, is way more fun than eating out when in the company of good friends and good food. Wagyu beef is simply ‘da bomb’. It’s certainly super expensive but I guess an occasional indulgence can’t hurt :)

  7. Anonymous November 13, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    Hi, yummy looking post, as usual :-) Your friends are really lucky people!
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought that salt should be added only when eating the steak, as salt draws out the juices if used to season it, leaving it drier. No?
    And didn’t S insist on a salad to go with all that fried stuff? :-)
    LY

  8. keiko November 14, 2005 at 2:32 am

    Hi CH & S – great post as always, I can imagine how much you enjoyed the meal! (I’m another owner of a big deep fryer BTW ;)) I don’t think I can choose ribeye or striploin either… maybe you should mention wagyu isn’t just kobe beef? (where I’m from also produces excellent one called maesawa beef) Oh, and I love the shot of lovely S in the last post :)

  9. Chubby Hubby November 14, 2005 at 12:50 pm

    Frederico: It really is quite different. Much softer, juicier and with more flavor.

    Augustus: Too true. It’s a good thing it’s a rare occurance or I’d get too spoilt. Yah, nice looking chips, eh?

    Santos: I love deep-fried ice cream, but like Clement, I’d be really scared of it exploding in the fryer. I’ll give it a few months before I try anything that dangerous.

    Anon: Not sure. Best to ask the guys there.

    Kath Red: Thanks so much.

    Unprofessional: Yah, I also forgot to mention that I like eating at home because I can choose the music. I hate eating in restaurants with horrible music.

    LY: Hi, I don’t marinate the beef. Just sprinkle the salt and pepper on it right before searing. And yah, we had a big mixed geen salad with Balsamico and Olive oil. :-)

    Keiko: Hiya, yah, there are many types of wonderfully fatty beef from your homeland. I love Matsuzaka as well (which I can’t afford either). Oh, the pix wasn’t of S, but one of our two travelling companions. S is still keeping her image veiled for now.

  10. S November 14, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    Hey Chubs,

    What Keiko means is that wagyu means ‘Japanese cattle’ and you should not equate it with just Kobe beef which is merely a regional subcategory of wagyu. ;P

  11. popagandhi November 14, 2005 at 6:41 pm

    Just a second ago, I was refusing to eat dinner at home.. “too full,” I said.

    After reading this, I feel hungry suddenly, and I only feel like eating the wagyu you did.

  12. keiko November 15, 2005 at 2:03 am

    CH & S – sorry I just thought it was a picture of S! I can’t believe I haven’t had the ‘fatty’ beef for so long…

  13. megwoo November 15, 2005 at 2:48 am

    Your meal sounds fantastic. Congrats on the deep fryer purchase–that has been on my wish list for quite a while now!

  14. tara November 15, 2005 at 4:21 am

    We must have been on the same wavelength, as you will soon see on my site. This is one of my favourite meals. In fact, for S and I it was dinner last night (béarnaise included, and we added roasted brussels sprouts for some token green). I tend towards the ribeye over the striploin, but with wagyu I would take either!

  15. Monkey Gland November 15, 2005 at 8:27 am

    So, do they really massage those cows after getting them wankered on beer? Man, that sounds like the kind of cow I’d be if ever forced to make some sort of bovine life swap choice…

  16. cin November 15, 2005 at 12:33 pm

    WAAAOOOOOWEEEE, what great looking steaks. I’ve yet to experience the pleasure of wagyu beef – maybe we’ll have Shannon Bennett’s $100 wagyu beef burger at Vur de Monde someday.

  17. slurp! November 15, 2005 at 11:08 pm

    recieves daily massage, eat good food, drink good beer in nice surroundings with beautiful classical music. what a cow life! I guess I could consider that option in my next life! hahahaha …

  18. Frederico November 21, 2005 at 2:42 pm

    Question:
    So if the steaks are lightly grilled on the outside, with the inside medium rare , would’nt the thicker fatty parts be pretty raw?
    Is that ok to eat?

  19. D December 2, 2005 at 12:32 pm

    i think you might be able to leave it on medium for another minute to let the insides heat up a bit..

    but i think i shd let the expert explain what he did… :)

  20. Wagyu AU December 14, 2005 at 11:56 am

    My girlfriend’s father grows Wagyu in Australia. His beef consistently ranks 9+ which is the highest grade in Australia. It was his beef that was served at the Academy Awards. I love going up to the farm. Mmmmm… beefy…

  21. Dave Brown May 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I never thought Wagyu Beef could be that popular from many great cities all over basing on the many cooks who posted comments here. Thank you for narrating your latest wagyu meal. As a chef myself, getting your choicest ingredients is very primary to good and tasty cooking.

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