Stop everything you are doing right now and let us take you back to one of the most memorable meals we've ever had.
The Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York City's Meatpacking District is famous for serving the highest-quality prime dry-aged beef available. Opening its doors in 1868, it is one of the longest continually serving restaurants in the country, featuring old-school steakhouse decor and a refrigerator packed with so many different cuts of beef you likely never knew some of them existed. It's an NYC staple and attracts everyone from Hollywood celebrities and athletes to presidents and heads of state. It is also the only place in the country you can bite into (or should I say melt into?) Prized Wagyu, which comes in at a whopping $350 for a 12 oz. piece of heaven (and $175 for the 6 oz.).
For those of you who might not know (as I certainly did not), Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed that comes from the Kobe region. And while "Kobe beef" is popular among beef connoisseurs in the U.S. today, this was not always the case. Back in the 1990s there was actually a ban on Japanese beef imported by the U.S., and thanks to the owners of The Old Homestead, Greg and Marc Sherry -- who worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the USDA’s Japanese counterpart, Japanese government, other agencies, beef producers, farmers, processing plants and distributors, etc. -- Wagyu beef was brought to the U.S. for the first time in 1991.
With the ban lifted, there was a Kobe beef explosion in the U.S. among restaurateurs in the 90's. This meant only one thing to the The Old Homestead: it was time to kick it up yet another notch, and they introduced the country to Prized Wagyu. Prized Wagyu has the most concentrated marbling of any beef in the world; there actually is no grading system for Prized Wagyu in Japan as it is literally off-the-charts when it comes to quality.
How do you get such high-quality beef? Let's just say we should all be living the Wagyu cattle lifestyle. Fed the highest-quality grains, hand-massaged twice a day, brushed with straw and given beer to stimulate their appetite, they are treated like kings. The way the Wagyu cattle are bred is essentially what helps to distribute the threads of fat evenly. The intensity of those threads of fat -- which I learned are actually good fats -- are what gives the beef its buttery texture and unique flavoring.
Unlike other Wagyu beef, Prized Wagyu is only available at exclusive auctions in Japan in which anyone from outside of Japan is not allowed to participate. Because of the longstanding relationships with Japanese agriculture officials -- formed in the 1990's after the lifting of the import ban -- Greg Sherry was invited to attend an auction in 2014 as the first non-Japanese restaurateur in the world allowed to participate in a Prized Wagyu auction. Not only did Sherry win his first Prized Wagyu cow in 2014, but he continues to participate in these auctions and remains the only person from outside of Japan to attend.
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind food experience and do not have plans to be in Japan anytime soon, the Prized Wagyu at The Old Homestead is as good as it gets. Just, pretty please, do not put ketchup on it.
And if the Prized Wagyu didn't make you drool enough, check out some more delicious stories here.
Food trends in 2017 were big. In fact, they were huuuge.
Buttery lobster and pork belly meet in this flavorful bowl of ramen
A restaurant in New York is putting a Thanksgiving meal on a pizza