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Where to buy Wagyu Beef in San Francisco?

What butchers are carrying this these days?

(Ps. I know that technically this is not restaurant-related, but I need a source specific to San Francisco. Wagyu is not a nation-wide chain store product.)

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  1. Try preferredmeats.com

    1. Andronico's in Berkeley definitely carries it. The Solano location has sold some Wagyu rib roasts that looked too good to be true.

      http://www.lobels.com sells dry-aged Wagyu beef and they ship nationwide.

      1. Andronico's in the Sunset has it too (labelled as "kobe beef", but given the price I'm sure it's American wagyu). I can't attest to the quality having never tried it, but they have pretty impressive variety... several cuts of steak, ground, and even roast in cold cuts.

        1. Thanks, gang. This is for an event on Friday, so mail order is not possible. It looks like I might be able to get Golden Gate Meat to send some over to the Ferry Bldg for me from their wholesale op. Otherwise I might have to make the treck to Andronico's.

          1. I've gotten Kobe beef from both Bryan's and the butcher inside CalMart, both in Laurel Village. Not sure how it differs fom Wagyu, but I had someone on this site tell that that is probably what I got when I thought I had Kobe. ???
            Whatever it was, it was good, and easy to get to from inside the city.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rabaja

              Wagyu is the name of the breed of cattle. Kobe is the name of the city famous for producing special beef from these cattle using special animal husbandry practices.

              Calling American Wagyu "Kobe beef" is like calling an American sparkling wine "Champagne": technically wrong but widely done.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Thanks for clearing this up for me, when it was stated that I had Wagyu and not Kobe I was a little confused, so thanks. What is the beef coming from Silver Snake? Must be Wagyu if it's from the USA, I'm pretty sure CalMarts butcher has it.

                1. re: rabaja

                  i believe that American "kobe/wagyu" beef is wagyu breed with a longhorn...back when kobe beef was banned in the U.S. they simply took wagyu and breed it with a US longhorn. that hybrid basically is what you'd find in the US nowadays

                  1. re: EnderWiggin

                    The breeding and raising practices also have a huge amount to do with the quality of the meat. In Japan the cows get fed beer and massaged.

                    Authentic Japanese Wagyu will come with a certificate that has a photo of the marbling a nose print from the cow and it's family lineage. Pretty wild.

                    Here is a steak from Nassu son of Fukuzakura from Miyazakit, Japan. Nassu sure was tasty...

            2. Little City Meats in North Beach carries Wagyu from Washington State (they label it as "Washugyu").

              1. Golden Gate Meats, Ferry Building Market. It's American Wagyu, though; I don't know if true Japanese Wagyu is available in the US at all. I got Kobe sirloin tip for $32.99/lb there two weeks ago, cut it up, dredged and deep fried it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: waffle_in_law

                  I was there earlier this week - no wagyu.

                2. Almost any Kobe or Wagyu beef that one could procure in the US (certainly anything in the sub-$40 per pound category) is from either US or Australian-raised Wagyu strain cattle. Intrepid Japanese producers realized awhile back that the demand for Kobe (or other high-grade Japanese beef from different breeds, such as Matsuzaka) would be higher than what breeders in Japan could supply (due primarily to the lack of suitable land available for raising cattle), so they partnered with American and Australian producers to start raising cattle for them in their respective countries. Much of this cattle is shipped back to Japan for 18-24 months of "finishing", meaning the Japanese producers would oversee the final stages of maturation before converting the cattle into beef for the domestic Japanese market.

                  However, by agreement these US & Australian breeders are also be able to keep a certain percentage of the Wagyu cattle they raise to convert into finished steak products for the domestic American & Australian markets. This is what you typically get when you purchase Kobe/Wagyu beef in the US.

                  The 3rd and most rare form of Kobe beef is from cattle born, raised and slaughtered entirely on Japanese soil with no foreign intervention whatsoever. Most of this beef does not conform to USDA standards for raising cattle (e.g. lacking the necessary innoculations or not having the USDA certifications for organic environments), and is not legally available in the US (though, like any illegal substance, it is smuggled in). There are a small number of Japanese producers who do export beef from cattle raised 100% on Japanese soil that meets USDA standards, but this amount is miniscule and the resulting price is extremely high.

                  When I was in Tokyo, I tried Kobe beef and Matsuzaka beef. Each was an exquisite, ethereal experience (and it better have been, from the French Laundry-esque bill that came at the end of the meal). Kobe beef I've had here in the US (from US-raised cattle) was not nearly as good (but better than the typical Prime beef IMO).

                  Here's a link to an Englishman who actually visited a producer in Kobe, Japan and sheds good light on the "secretiveness" of the industry: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmo...

                  Channel 7 locally did a segment with the executive chef @ Alexander's in Cupertino (ask for the certification if what you're ordering is supposed to be 100% Japanese Kobe beef!!): http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sect...

                  And here's info from the USDA about the lifting of the ban on Japanese-raised beef: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/fs...

                  Now I'm REALLY hungry.....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Eugene Park

                    Thanks for these links, Eugene.

                    The last Wagyu I got was from either Cal-Mart or Bryans, I forget which, and not discernibly more marbled than Niman Ranch or other prime meat. The gentleman at Golden Gate Meats was very helpful and told me theirs regularly rates about an 8 on the marble scale (which I looked up online to see what that meant), so I have a good idea of what it should look like when I get to the shop tomorrow. If not, I might head back to Bryan's or Little City Meat.

                    I also learned more about prepping it in my online research- I will definitely be bringing my cast iron skillet to the party so I can do it "Pittsburgh Style"-- seared to bloody blazes outside and quivery inside.

                  2. Black & blue is almost how Kobe beef should be prepared. Don't try and char the meat beyond a light to medium brown, though, or you'll lose much of the mass as the fat escapes from the meat. The interior of the beef should absolutely be rare. Cook it too long and you lose the "melt in your mouth"-ness.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Eugene Park

                      So this is why I was so discouraged from making a ragu with it! :)

                      1. re: rabaja

                        Rabaja, you about gave me a heart attack!