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Kobe Beef

Does anyone know where and if I might be able to purchase Kobe Beef burgers in Toronto that are ready for the grill? The last time I had Kobe beef was at Nobu in Las Vegas. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. I'm desperately trying to relive that sensation again.

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  1. How would burgers supply the Kobe experience?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jayt90

      Just looking for a reason to eat a burger. I just watched a show about recreating a $50 New York City burger made of Kobe beef with a foie gras centre. The height of decadence! I know of a few places where I can buy the foie gras, but have yet to come across someone who sells Kobe beef

    2. Yeah, I got to say that making burgers out of Kobe strikes me as being as foolish as making stew out of tenderloin!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Atahualpa

        Don't knock it until you try it:)!!! It is GOOOOOD!

      2. Thanks! I don't know what I was thinking. I forgot all about the "All the Best" stores at 1099 Yonge. I'll try them as well.

        1. What a coincidence. I've been looking for Kobe beef burgers myself. Although they weren't authentic I remember President's Choice Kobe Beef burgers. I've visited at least 5 different supermarket chains that carry P.C. products. Apparently they may have discontinued the Kobe beef burgers because I've had no luck finding them again. :(

          1 Reply
          1. re: YummyYummy

            I believe the burgers you speak of were labelled "Memories of Kobe" and were made with regular ground beef rather than genuine Kobe beef. The "Kobe" referenced the fact that the burger was flavoured with their "Memories of Kobe" tamari garlic sauce.

            The PC website doesn't include the burgers any more, so they've probably been discontinued as you suspect... they do still make meatballs, tho:
            http://www.presidentschoice.ca/FoodAn...

            As for the burgers, how about using a regular beef patty and basting with the sauce as it cooks? You'll probably get a similar result.

          2. Hi,

            I found a delightful butcher shop in Scarborough, ON called Butcher Shop. They are on Kingston Road (3487 Kingston Road). They sell fresh kobe beef burgers that are to die for. Absolutely succulent, moist, juicy, flavourful-- the "Beyonce" of all beef.

            I used to buy these all last summer at $8.00 a pound. I called today and it appears that they are now selling them by the burger at $5.00 a pop. I realize it is pricey, and I am rather ticked that my favourite burger is out of my price point when entertaining large groups of guests, but it is still worth the purchase for entertaining smaller groups of people.

            I appreciate that many will find the price scandalous, and do not want to dish out this kind of money for a burger. I can provide an alternative:

            Chopped sirloin (about 10 percent fat) makes really good burgers. Ground round (around 15 percent fat) makes reallly great burgers. Ground chuck (20 percent fat) makes spectacular burgers. Note, though, that ground chuck is best cooked on a grill and not in a skillet because too much fat pools into the pan.

            Hope this helps!

            29 Replies
            1. re: ZPS

              Thanks for the info - except I'd never buy ANY meat from a butcher who describes his beef as Kobe - WHEN IT ISN'T!
              Probably a Wagyu cross-breed. And a good price for that!

              1. re: estufarian

                I agree lot of people get taken for a ride just when the word Kobe is mentioned. That being said I made burgers with Ground Wagyu (Aussie Variety) from McEwans and it was amazing.

                -----
                McEwan
                75 The Donway W, Toronto, ON M3C, CA

                1. re: elvisahmed

                  At J-Town, there's a butcher that sells both Australian and Japanese Wagyu beef - price difference is unbelieveable! Australian is expensive enough as it is, but the Japanese is triple the price! However, the difference in marbling is definitely visible. Consider trying to make your own burgers, just do a fine chop of the beef, as opposed to grinding it, definite textural treat!

                  1. re: dachopstix

                    I tried the Aussie version and from what I read its better than the North American Standards. I saw the Japanese steak at J-town as well but it was just ridiculously priced and I had no intention in experimenting with such an expensive cut. I took a class for Kobe Beef Tasting last year at LCBO and it was good way to get a start specially at the price they offered it wasn no way near the one I had in Tokyo eons ago but excellent nontheless. If you want to buy the north american version CostCo online sells Kobe Style Beef rib and strip loin.

                2. re: estufarian

                  The Butcher Shop has been around for at least 20 years and has a great reputation in Scarborough. Last time I was there they had signs that stated certified Kobe beef sold here. First how can you tell if it really is Kobe? Also estufarian do you know something about the Butcher Shop that makes you say that it probably isn't Kobe but Wagyu that they're selling? I was thinking of trying the Kobe, but reading your post I'm hesitant.

                  1. re: scarberian

                    Ask them how they source it. Chances are it is Wagyu from Canada, Australia or the U.S.
                    There is more being grown than ever before. Cumbrae's has their own Wagyu in Norfolk county.
                    Very little arrives from Japan, but there is some, not necessarily Kobe, with authentication papers.
                    All the purveyor has to do is show some transparency, which is better than obfuscation. But give them a chance.

                    -----
                    Cumbrae's
                    1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                    1. re: jayt90

                      Kobe is Wagyu just raised and processed in Kobe, Japan. To be called Kobe nowadays doesn't the cattle have to AT LEAST be processed in Kobe? I read an article that reported true Kobe beef is hard to come by now due to high local demand and land restrictions in Japan so the Japanese are outsourcing their Wagyu beef from other countries. These foreign ranches have to follow stringent guidelines and then they ship the cattle back to Japan to be processed in Kobe. So if a butcher is selling certified Kobe then it should have been processed in Kobe at least right?

                      1. re: scarberian

                        Kobe does not have cattle. It is a city like Toronto. It is the small towns nearby Kobe in the Hyōgo prefecture which has cattles. And beef from those cattles can be called Kobe beef. The most famous Kobe beef is the one from the cattles at 三田 (Sanda) , those beef are called Sanda beef to be exact.

                    2. re: scarberian

                      No way the Butcher Shop is selling ' Kobe Beef' unless they 'smuggled' them in!!

                      Why?!

                      Kobe beef is a brand of Wagyu beef that is produced from cattle that is raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture where Kobe is the largest city. Technically speaking, only Kobe beef raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture can be called 'Kobe Beef'! But, currently, there are NO meat packing plant in Hyogo Prefecture that are eligible to export the beef overseas! As such, for the real Kobe beef, one needs to go to Hyogo Prefecture in Japan!!

                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Boy Charles Yu you seem quite passionate about this topic.

                        All my info have come from articles I have read which all have mentioned that the Wagyu can be shipped to other parts of the world to be raised and then shipped back to Kobe for processing and be certified "Kobe". It is a sticking point with regulators in Japan, but although not TRUE Kobe in the sense they are still considered Kobe beef.

                        Anyway so what you're saying is Kobe beef sold in North America is basically Wagyu beef processed locally. If the beef ends up having the same marbling then the processing part shouldn't really make a difference in the flavour (now the feed being used while raising the cattle will!). In reality it should still taste like Kobe beef right?

                        1. re: scarberian

                          I haven't tasted true Kobe beef, but I know from simple research
                          that genetics play a large role in its excellence.
                          The original black cattle that were imported as a gift more than 200 years ago were true Aberdeen Angus. The lineage remains true in the Kobe area.
                          But Wagyu exported to Australia the U.S., and Canada may not have the same blood lines.
                          Today the label "Angus" does not mean much, just that 50% of the heritage has to be black.
                          I'm suggesting that Wagyu may also have some deficiencies, unless there is an international organization to control the blood lines.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            That's some very interesting, and valuable, information, Jay, thank you.

                            I used to be a butcher, and I did notice the difference in quality between an AAA and an Angus cut, however, IMO, not worth the price difference. Certified Black Angus, nowadays, is an actual branded trademark, while reflecting the quality, the price doesn't justify the slight difference when compared to AAA, around a 33% price difference sometimes!

                            In response to Elvisa in the above, I've never tried North American Wagyu, and have tried both Australian & Japanese. The biggest difference I noticed was the marbling - Australian had quite an excellent amount of marbling, but the Japanese - wow, it was like looking at a piece of beef covered in snow, the marbling was intense! The Australian Wagyu cooked up really nicely, I like mine rare, but the Japanese just exuded fatty goodness - in the end, I made teppanyaki-style beef cubes with the Australian Wagyu, and steak tartare with the Japanese - so full of fat and flavour!!!

                            1. re: dachopstix

                              Actually, the fillet of 'real' kobe beef or other top quality wagyu is not as fatty and has more 'beef' taste than the striploin, and it is more expensive too. The Australian Wagyu can also be very fatty if you are getting a M12 grade, but you cannot be able to find this in Toronto. McEwan carries Australian Wagyu, the striploin there is more like a M8 marbling, the staff there told me it is the highest quality they get from Australia.

                              The regulation in Japan is very tight. The bloodline of three generations of the cow are on the certificate with the "nose" print just like our fingerprint. For some top real "kobe" or other wagyu which can cost more than $50CAD a ounce just as the raw material, the cattle and the owner's name is on its tag. There are also beef specialty restaurant with picture of the cow and its information shown on the menu. There are also competition to see who get the best wagyu.

                          2. re: scarberian

                            I see a very close similarity between Kobe Beef and Champagne. Variations can be found all over the world, however, there is only one real McKoy. No matter how closely one follows the foot step of the original, the 'terroir' is not the same ! Thats why only Champagne produced in the Champagne district of France can be legally called Champagne and likewise only cattle raised in Hyogo, Japan can be called Kobe Beef.

                            1. re: Charles Yu

                              Excellent point, Charles - with Champagne, there is an AOC, I think, I'll have to look into whether or not "Kobe Beef" has the same, probably does though.

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                Well said Charles not to put others producers down Sparkling wine is not Champagne. Australian Wagyu is good but its not real Kobe having said that there are even more sought after varieties like Matsusaka Beef which I had the pleasure of trying at our hosts house in Tokyo to when I was child. I had no appreciation for good beef let alone that was served almost raw. I took a bite and haven't had anything close since The flavor was intense and very fatty. I tried Kobe whenever I could afford to In Asia but haven't had real Kobe in the last five years but still I cherish the taste. Has anyone tried the the Japanese one thats sold at J-Town? I don't even know how I would cook it. Looks very well marbled.

                                1. re: elvisahmed

                                  Australian Wagyu can also be very fatty, have you tried a M12 before ? And Japanese Wagyu can also be less fatty, if you are having a filet. The one at J-Town is from Gunma prefecture, I tried it before, it is a A5 striploin with excessive fat.

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    Skyline can you please share how you cooked your Wagyu from J-Town. I had no idea about Mishima Beef when I tried it but apparently its the top shelf beef of Kobe (using Charles Yu Champagne reference) I tried Kobe Beef in Asia at various restaurants and I wasn't aware of the marbling scores at that time so really can't comment on that. What about the Wagyu thatgs served at Jacob and Co has anyone tried it?

                                    1. re: elvisahmed

                                      Not sure why my post is deleted but I tried to post the main points again. I cooked it like Teppanyaki. Mishima Beef is not necessarily better than other wagyu, it has different pricing depends on that particular wagyu, even if they are all A5. I had steak at Jacob before, but not wagyu. They are using very high temperature to seal all sides of the steak, I think it is prepared the same way with its wagyu.

                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                        Skyline, what would you suggest for good Kobe burgers to cook on a grill at home?

                                        1. re: jayt90

                                          Sorry, I have not tried Kobe burger before...

                                          1. re: jayt90

                                            The Oakleigh Wagyu tasting I took at LCBO suggested that the burgers be cooked in a pan as an open flame would flare things up. Suggested serving was cook it rare medium rare at most.

                                            1. re: elvisahmed

                                              The LCBO thinks we can't handle Kobe burger flare ups?

                                              1. re: jayt90

                                                Well it was a tasting held by LCBO and the Oakliegh Ranch Rep was there along with the chef from the Oliffe. They shared and cooked the Kobe Style beef three ways. There was a Kobe Beef Tart, on a skewer and finally a burger. Since Oliffe/Oakliegh has probably more experience cooking and selling Kobe style beef I guess I would take their word for it. The Chef holding the class mentioned that direct flame can burn the fat really fast and the meat would loose all the taste so we ought to use pan method.

                                                1. re: elvisahmed

                                                  Go to Pusateri's on Avenue road or the location downtown buy a kobe steak or two ask them to grind it for you. They will think you are nuts and it will cost you but they will do it. Personally I would Buy prime ground chuck from a high end butcher. St Lawrence market Cumbrae meats etc.

                                                  1. re: TheDewster

                                                    I'm surprised no one is mentioning one important factor - TASTE!

                                                    To Charles’/Skyline’s point it’s important to understand the distinction between Kobe vs Wagyu. To Estufarian’s point it’s also important that a butcher correctly label their products. That being said, one must factor in one’s own tastes! It’s a wonderful “idea” to eat the “best” - but will you like or appreciate the best? Continuing to Charles’ Champagne analogy if you can’t discern the nuanced flavors between Cava and Champagne or better yet you prefer the taste of Cava (in a blind tasting!) - then why pay for champagne (and the accompanying markup)?? My point – go out and buy small portions of your preferred cuts of wagyu, angus, etc and do a blind tasting. See what you like best. You may be surprised at your biases and preferences!

                                                    My guess is many are fascinated by the idea of high grade (A5 or M12) beef but a high percentage will not even like it! They are incredibly fatty (to skyline's point); especially the striploins and ribeyes.

                                                    Cumbrae’s & Bruno’s both sell wagyu burgers. Best served with caramelized onions and kozlig mustard! And “Wagyu” burgers are not necessarily a waste of good meat – it’s all about the cut used!!!

                                                    -----
                                                    Cumbrae's
                                                    1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                    1. re: Apprentice

                                                      Well said Apprentice! Totally agree with you that ultra expensive does not equate to guaranty tasty! I for one do not like Wagyu higher than A4 due to the fat content and I don't like Dom Perignon too! The latter, too crisp and not creamy enough for my palette.

                                                      -----
                                                      Dom's
                                                      22 Academy St, St Catharines, ON L2R4Z6, CA

                                                    2. re: TheDewster

                                                      Well I paid and an arm and leg as they took a piece of Australian Wagyu and ground it fresh for me worked out be more than I expected to pay but the taste was worth it. Having tried the Real Kobe in Asia I thoroughly enjoyed it and don't think anything comes close. Its a matter of personal taste and I do enjoy a bottle Dom Perignon whenever I can. BTW has anyone tried the Kobe Style from Costco?

                                                      1. re: elvisahmed

                                                        Glad it worked out for you. Pusateri's is expensive. I like Dom as well but prefer Krug Grande Milliseme very dry, incredibly small bubbles that last over an hour. Every new year I buy a bottle its very expensive. For cooking I use Lanson's very cheap and extremely good don't know why its not famous better than most high ends. Avoid Veuve Cliquot baking soda flavours reminiscent of Baby Duck/Freixenet.

                                                        -----
                                                        Pusateri's
                                                        1539 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M, CA

                                                        Dom's
                                                        22 Academy St, St Catharines, ON L2R4Z6, CA

                        2. www.Costco.ca is selling Kobe style strip loins or rib eyes at $50/lb; raised in Alberta.
                          They are shipped on dry ice.

                          1. The Butcher Shop 3487 Kingston Road
                            Scarborough Ontario M1M 1R4 Canada

                            Hours of operation:
                            MONDAY CLOSED
                            Tue. & Wed. 8 - 6
                            Thur. & Fri. 8 - 7
                            Sat. 8 - 6
                            Sun 8 - 5

                            Phone:
                            416-266-7381