By: Malcolm Mayhew
For years you’ve probably noticed menus tout their Kobe steaks, burgers and sliders — along with those authentic price tags to boot. But, what they really meant to say was that they are serving “Kobe-style” beef — commonly known as Wagyu, which is not nearly as hard to come by.
Only 400 pounds of authentic, certified A5 Kobe beef is shipped to the U.S. each month and only to licensed members of the Kobe Beef Association in Japan. “We were the ninth restaurant in the country to be certified to import true Kobe beef, directly from Kobe City, Japan. In the past few years, B&B has become one of the biggest distributors of it in the country,” says General Manager Darren McDonald. That’s B&B Butchers, the upscale steakhouse that opened in The Shops at Clearfork last month.
“Kobe steak is a delicacy, and just like true Champagne, it has to come from that specific region and be certified as such. Whereas, Japanese-bred Wagyu comes from the prefectures surrounding Kobe City, Japan,” McDonald says. “When we opened B&B Butchers in Houston, we blew up the traditional steakhouse menu and added more choices, like introducing Kobe beef,” he says. “Having a large variety ensures that our customers can visit us often and have a different experience each time.”
Kobe is a port city resting between Osaka Bay and the Rokko Mountain Range. Tajima-gyu cattle (certified for their pure bloodlines) graze in the valley of Hyogo Prefecture. And, less than 4,000 of these meet the strict classification standards, including the most evenly distributed marbling of fat, each year — qualifying them as certified Kobe cattle.
“The product is so rich, it’s like butter. Our chef simply seasons our Kobe steak with nothing but salt and pepper and then sears it on the stove-top and not the grill,” he says. One flame-up would destroy it, plus the high fat content would simply melt on B&B’s 1800-degree grills.
“When our chef prepares our Kobe steaks, he saves the fat from the trimmings and sautés the vegetables in it, to bring the entire dish full circle,” says McDonald. Their Kobe steak is served sliced, so the meat’s lacy marbling is apparent.
In the attached Butcher shop, you can purchase some amazing aged steaks from B&B Butchers’ meat locker and take them home to your own grill. You can take some Kobe steak home as well … just don’t overcook it.
“Our Kobe steak has been very popular in Houston, and we expect it will be here in Fort Worth as well,” McDonald says. “In fact, we have guests who travel to dine at B&B exclusively for a taste of it.”
Certified Kobe Steak:
Authentic Kobe beef is a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy due to its rich and even marbling.
This import comes from several breeds of cattle in specific areas in Japan. Also boasting evenly dispersed marbling with scores between 7-10, yet not meeting the strict Kobe beef standard. Japanese Wagyu is simply seared on a 500-degree block of pink Himalayan rock salt.
This is what you find on most menus. It is a cross-breed between Texas Angus and Japanese Wagyu cattle. B&B’s Texas Wagyu is sourced from the Gearhart Ranch in Marfa, Texas. This is a high-grade 100 percent certified organic and grass-fed only beef with no finishing.
Only the top 2 percent of all U.S. beef earns this coveted designation. B&B has carefully curated an in-house, 28-day and 55-day dry-aged program with this beef.
By: Malcolm Mayhew