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Jul 17, 2007 06:51 PM

best kobe beef in bay area

I am looking for the best kobe beef steaks in SF or bay area in general. I am not interested in kobe sliders, kobe potroast, meatballs etc.

Anyone know of a great steakhouse serving up the kobe steaks?


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  1. Alexander's in Cupertino. Be prepared to pay for it though. Last time I went, they let me into the kitchen and let me hold a whole Kobe tenderloin. $5000 in beef in my hands! You'll want to call in to see what type of Kobe they have available. They used to source Aussie Kobe, but they might've switch to a Japanese source now.

    1. I'm guessing some folks may mention Alexander's in Cupertino, but their wagyu/kobe steaks aren't that great, even though they're supposed to be graded A5 (highest rating on the beef scale in Japanese grading chart), and imported from Japan (Kagoshima prefecture, as listed on their menu). Granted, a lot of it could have been how they prepared it when I had it, which was pre-sliced, with bacon bits and a sweet sauce over it (none of which was mentioned on the menu). It wasn't bad per se, but I'm one of those purists who think a good steak (nevermind a pricey wagyu steak) should stand on it's own, maybe with a dash of salt and/or pepper to taste. If someone likes A1 sauce on your steak, maybe they'll like this preparation. If I sucked all the sauce and bacon off (which was actually quite good... who doesn't like bacon?), you can kind of taste the beef, which wasn't bad, but definitely not worth the price IMO, at least in that form.

      Granted, the rest of the meal was excellent, and the "regular" steaks were quite good and were classically prepared. I wouldn't mind making another trip from the city down there again. I just think their wagyu isn't all that.

      To put this in relative terms, I've had both so-so, and good wagyu in Tokyo and the good stuff was some damn good beef, worth every single yen. After eating the good wagyu, all other beef I had for at least a year after that was just disappointing.

      20 Replies
      1. re: tobze

        Where would you recommend other than Alexander's?

        1. re: gemster

          i believe alexander's is your only option in the bay area if you want real japanese kobe, but plenty of restaurants offer waygu, labeled as kobe, such as forbe's mill in los gatos.

          1. re: wchane

            wagyu bahn mi would be interesting.

          2. re: gemster

            I'm not sure what other restaurants around here import wagyu.

            I was at Bushi-Tei in SF once, and they had wagyu on the menu. I asked the server where it's from and he said it's US wagyu, but they have some imported wagyu that's not on the menu. While interested, I didn't order it at the time. I'm not sure if it was a limited/periodic occurrence, but I haven't been back since then.

            1. re: tobze

              I cant believe kobe beef isnt an option anywhere in SF. This makes no sense. How far is Cupertino from the city? That seems like a schlep.

              1. re: luckygrlllll

                yeah, it is a strange thing. If you're in SF, it'll take about 40-60 mins to get to Cupertino I believe.

                1. re: nicedragonboy

                  It's not much closer, but I believe you can also get Kobe beef at Mitsuwa in San Jose - 675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose CA 95129
                  (408)255-6699. Have you tried Japantown?

                2. re: luckygrlllll

                  For better or worse, the notion of kobe carries along with it a sense of trendy affectation that doesn't hold up well in SF.

                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    I think it's just the price. Harris' had it for a while, presumably didn't sell well enough. Masa's had it on the tasting menu with a $50 supplement.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Yeah, that definitely plays a big role since it puts a strict limit on who can play. But you don't think there are other factors at work? Taking expense out of the mix, look at what's been going on with cupcakes. Trendy as all get out in other places, here they're just another option.

                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                        I think you got a good point. Though I see traces of the cupcake fad around here at least in peoples conversations about it.

                        1. re: nicedragonboy

                          We've got our own trends here. Fish tacos, boba tea.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Harris' still has it, unless you mean that they used to have real Japanese Kobe...

                        1. re: gemster

                          Yes, Harris' used to have real Japanese Kobe. It's easy to find American Wagyu.

                    2. re: luckygrlllll

                      luckygrlllll, Alexander's really isn't a bad option. The drive, while farther, is really about the same amount of time you might take to find parking sometimes in the city. The food is in general quite good at Alexander's and they have a sample menu online at Not to mention a decent wine selection. Albeit a bit pricey.

                      1. re: nicedragonboy

                        While I've been here a number of times and the food is pretty good, beware of the staff knowledge (or lack of). My brother was with me when he ordered a rare steak and verified with the server that it was a cold, red center to which the server agreed. When the steak came out, it was warm in the center. The server went to get the manager who then explained that "what you wanted is called 'black and blue', not rare. Rare is a warm red center". The mistake of this server put us all in a bad mood.
                        We've also been served a couple corked wines there where the staff were not able to tell that they were corked.

                      2. re: luckygrlllll

                        You're asking for it as a Western style steak. It's around the city in traditional Japanese preps.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Can real Kobe beef even be cooked like a steak? I've heard that due to the high fat content it just melts, so to sear it they use a blowtorch.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Makes sense to me, but I wouldn't know. I've had small pieces that were seared then sliced into strips for service.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              It can be cooked like a steak, you just need to keep it pretty rare. The ribeye is particularly good as a steak, or even better, as kebobs. Very juicy, with good flavor.

                  2. A friend who ate at Sebo on Tuesday heard the chefs say they were expecting a shipment of real Kobe from Kobe the next day. So if they haven't run out yet ...

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It was stunning (buttery, etc.), but expect to pay a premium since this is real Kobe, not say Wagyu from Australia. Each sashimi-style piece will set you back $10-20.


                      1. re: vincentlo

                        That's definitely cheaper than the Wagyu nigiri at Sakae Sushi in Burlingame, a whopping $26 for a pair (only $3 more than o-toro...).

                        Apparently a select few have been served Wagyu "sashimi" (lightly seared I think with ponzu and scallions) at Sawa Sushi in Sunnyvale.

                        By the way while we're at it, Kobe beef, while famous here, is actually not the highest grade Japanese beef (Wagyu). Matzusaka if I spelt that right, and Mishima beef are much more coveted/expensive/higher quality, but I doubt that's available anywhere in the Bay Area (perhaps at some exquisite NY or LA place via grey market).

                        1. re: K K

                          I believe there was a Wagyu/Kobe option of some sort at Sushi Sam's in San Mateo last week --- on the specials board, but also on the menu. No price, and I wasn't in the mood, so can't tell you how it was.

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            I've had it, and Sam has offered it before for the last 7 years. Not bad but nothing to write home about. Sometimes pretty good, but other times the otoro prep is tastier. You may be better off at Sebo or ponying up the $26 at Sakae.

                      2. Is this stuff available retail anywhere?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bryan Gros

                          Maybe in Japan. Real Kobe, I think the only way to get it in the US is to order direct from Japan.

                        2. Just had the Wagyu Nigiri at Sakae on Friday night. I asked if it was real (I had downed a few glasses of Sake at this point) when Jun San showed me a paper with the information from this site: . Apparently it's Miyazaki Wagyu from Japan. Import company is based in Burlingame so sounds pretty legit. The Wagyu was incredible, definitely didn't taste like any steak I've had. The Aburi Otoro was better but the seared Wagyu was also very good.

                          Not the steaks you're looking for but thought I'd drop my $.02

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dxcheong

                            Sakae definitely don't mess around, they have a reputation at stake (steak lol).

                            The scary thing is that a pair of aburi otoro and a pair of Wagyu nigiri at Sakae is already half the cost of the Alexander Steak House "Kobe" steak.

                            Thanks for the report on Sakae's Wagyu. That's very cool!

                            Though when you mentioned Miyazaki, that sounds eerily familar to the (same) name as the anime dude who created all those movies, like Totoro, Laputa, Spirited Away etc etc.

                            1. re: dxcheong

                              Sebo's kobe is also from Miyazake; Danny Dunham showed me the certificate of the beef they served a couple of weeks ago.