Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jul 25, 2007 11:00 PM

Best Kobe beef?

My introduction to Kobe beef came at the old Ginza Sushi Ko where chef Masa Takayama sliced a small sliver of Kobe beef, seared it and then served it on a pillow of rice. Looking at it, I recall saying to myself, "You've got to be kidding"; however, it was a revelation! The flavors just exploded in my mouth and lasted for minutes.

I'm sure it was imported from Japan. Is there anything like this available in LA restaurants today?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've Japanese imported beef recently at Kagaya, Kiriko, the Hump, Cut. Also saw it being sold at Mitsuwa in Torrance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sgee

      Thanks! Did you try it at each of the above? If so, which did you prefer? TIA.

    2. The Wagyu your talking about at the old Ginza (used to go there when it was on Wilshire) is 12A from Japan.
      URASAWA is the only restaurant that has it in LA.
      The others use a lower grade, normally 5a (CUT) or American which sucks compared heads up!

      6 Replies
      1. re: russkar

        Thank you for the edyfication. I dream about that beef. It was fabulous!

        1. re: russkar

          when i was at URASAWA a couple of months ago, i recall hirosan telling me that the beef used for the shabu shabu was actually a predecessor of kobe, even better, harder to come by and i'm assuming pricier than japanese kobe. russkar, do you know what that is?

          had a lovely piece of kagoshima NY at CUT alongside the mishima NY last week. really lovely. we actually reheated the leftovers tonight and it was still absolutely unbelievable. needed a ton of red wine to cut the fat, though.

          1. re: revets2

            My understanding is that the taste of Matsuzaka and Mishima beef are prized by some above Kobe. It also makes a BIG difference if the beef comes from a female (much more costly) vs. a male animal.

            1. re: Servorg

              Wow, such a wealth of information here. Thank you all!

          2. re: russkar

            hate to break it to you but the highest rating for Japanese wagyu in Japan is A5!!

            1. re: rawumami

              i think he's referring to the BMS#.

          3. The impression I got from eating beef in Japan is that the benefit of beer-fed/hand-massaged beef, whether Kobe or Matsuzaka, is more relevant in thin sliced dishes such as shabu shabu or sukiyaki. When eating with chopsticks and biting through that sliced meat, you don't want its sinew holding it together and flopping down on your chin.

            A chunk of steak made from such beef is undoubtedly delicious, but is probably nearly equalled by the highest quality Midwest beef.

            Just my opinion; could be wrong.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Tony Miller

              I agree.

              Kobe (or Wagyu) should be reserved for shabu shabu. Sliced thin and eaten with a quick swirl in the hot pot.

              A big chunk of Kobe served as a steak is a bit too much ... too much marbling.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                the special at craft was waygu ribeye cap, they said it was a 8a cut. I have no idea what 8a means but thats what they said. i would have ordered it but i will probably be eating steak over the weekend.

                1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                  8a refers to the waygu grading system. it's based on yield grade, quality, marbling, and colour of both the meat and the fat. i think snake river supplies that ribeye cap to CRAFT, but must be honest. i really like snake river product, but think snake river does 7 at best.

                  wish i could scan the broadleaf brochure on the wagyu grades my friend gave to me the other day. in the meantime, here's something comparable, but the broadleaf pics are better:

                  that being said, how was your meal at CRAFT?

                  1. re: revets2

                    Very cool, revets2 - thanks. I don't exactly see how all of these grades roll up into a single number/letter, or why we would care so much about yield (meat to gristle ratio?), but I get the idea.

                    BTW, why are we YELLING restaurant names? Did I miss a memo? ee cummings is perhaps spinning in his grave. Was he a foodie? Definitely not a FOODIE, in any case.

                    1. re: CulverJack

                      at about $160/lb., i really start caring about edible yield.

                      we? to my knowledge it's just me. why are you yelling acronyms?

                      ee cummings used the lowercase to emphasize humility and to de-emphasize the self (big headed jerks like me need to do that). cummings was also predisposed to use capital letters to emphasize words or phrases that he considered important, such as Humanity or HUMANITY. my caps were not cummings-adherent, though, but perhaps subconscious; i didn't realize it until your comment. but yes, it's "i" not "I" and "MOZZA" not "mozza" or sometimes, but not always "SILVERTON" not "silverton" for revets2.

                      cummings as foodie? my thesis on cummings explored cummings as visual poet (and painter) as he rarely used taste in his imagery. so, no, probably not spinning in his grave and no, probably not a foodie, but he loved the drink.

                      why must itself up every of a park
                      anus stick some quote statue unquote to
                      prove that a hero equals any jerk
                      who was afraid to dare to answer "no"?
                      -- ee cummings or as he preferred E.E. Cummings

                      1. re: revets2

                        Nice! I bet E.E. Cummings ate well if he liked the drink, and maybe ghost wrote on it as someone else.

                        On the yield bit, I just would assume that at very high prices per pound, Mr. Butcher would trim away bits from the outside for the consumer that wouldn't add to the experience, so I assumed yield was more a concern of the butcher as it would be loss to him, not to the end customer. But I've never cut meat for a living, so I don't know much about that world.

                        But I'd be surprised if at the end of any steak I've ever bought you'd have more than ~15% left over on the plate. Does Wagyu typically have a high gristle level, per se?

                        1. re: CulverJack

                          the "a" in "8a" represents yield on the grading system:
                          grade a = 72% and above
                          grade b = 69% and above
                          grade c = under 69%

                          it will matter to the retail consumer because of price.

                          the numbers represent quality (marbling, colour and brightness, firmness and texture, colour, lustre, and quality of fat).

                          russkar also reminds me that this is the japanese grading system and systems used by purveyors such as BROADLEAF use different grading systems. thanks, russkar!

                          if you like steak medium or more, wagyu is not for you. yield can actually be greater as you're not cooking off the fat (or you shouldn't be), just melting it enough to coat the fibers. we re-fired a 1x4 in. 9-10a piece the other night and took down 1/2 btl. of red just to cut the fat in the mouth. it was great.

                          wagyu has no more gristle than other beef, the real question is how one handles gristle (no grilling or quick fires).

                          one of our family butcher, stanley lobel, forwarded me this lovely article that didn't really feature him last year. our other family butcher, don taylor, doesn't understand what the big deal is and thinks wagyu an expensive fad. he thinks the fattiness masks the flavour of the meat. all good points. enjoy, culverjack.


                          1. re: revets2

                            The Picture is 12a. It was consumed at Urasawa in 07'.
                            The whole Wagyu thing has been blown out of proportion with all the clones out there, Snake River, Australian, etc. Real Wagyu from Japan in high Grades is simply to die for as I know you know. Mr Taylor probably hasn't had what's in this pic, and if he did he would probably not be using the words, expensive fad. Gristle isn't normally an issue because of the way the Ribeye is cut for cooking which allows a complete removal of any undesirable fiber.

                        2. re: revets2

                          Would that make MOZZA someplace you have never travelled,gladly beyond any experience?

              2. i had the best kobe steak at jar restaurant. it was pretty thin (of course, not as thin as shabu shabu meat) and seared. it was like eating beef sashimi. it was delish!

                Jar Restaurant
                8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                1 Reply
                1. re: simplicitea

                  Now that's how you're supposed to eat it! Sublime...