Hottest Commodity? $185 Wagyu Steak Sandwich

Wagyu beef is any of four Japanese breeds of beef cattle coming from several regions of the nation.

( Farm Journal )

(Bloomberg) -- Don Wagyu, the first restaurant in New York devoted solely to Wagyu beef sandwiches, is located on South William Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, a five-minute walk from the New York Stock Exchange. When it opens on June 27, there will be three sandwiches on the menu. Each is made from a different prized wagyu beef. The cheapest, made from a hybrid of Japanese and American cows, Washugyu, will cost about $25. On the other end of the spectrum is the A5 Ozaki, all sourced from a single farm in Japan. That sandwich will cost around $185.

Don Wagyu will sell about 200 sandwiches a day, or until they run out. Eventually, it will also deliver.

It’s a place that screams for placement in the Showtime hit, Billions.

Chef Samuel Clonts has been serving the sando—in which the beef is breaded and flash-fried to create a crunchy exterior and creamy, soft heart—as part of the 10-course $200 tasting menu at the elite izakaya Uchu. He and owner Derek Feldman wanted to find a bigger platform to spotlight it.

“I wanted to do wagyu katsu sandos instead of a steak house, because I see this industry moving towards a type of high-end, fine-casual dining where quality comes first,” says Feldman. “I love sitting for a long omakase experience, but that can’t be an everyday experience. I wanted to make that experience more accessible. Luxury doesn’t necessarily have to mean a three-hour meal. Sometimes it can mean just having some of the best, rarest beef in the world.”

Don Wagyu is part of a moment for high-end meat sandos. At the modern, subterranean restaurant Ferris, the iberico katsu sando has become a destination dish. noted that the members-only Tokyo restaurant Wagyumafia, which offers an $180 version of the sandwich, is looking for a location in New York in the next year.  

But currently, downtown Manhattan is the only spot to serve only wagyu sandos. The space, reminiscent of an old-school Kyoto lounge, features walnut paneling and paper lanterns overhead. It’s designed principally for takeout, with just six red leather stools at the counter. (The beef aging room is almost as big as the restaurant; it holds almost 3,000 pounds of meat, or approximately 100 rib-eyes.) Chef Corwin Kave, formerly of Ducked Up at Ludlow House, is running the kitchen.

Wagyu beef is a label that has come under some scrutiny; it’s been slapped on meats that don’t technically live up to the name. Officially, the title refers to a specific breed of purebred Japanese cattle. (The literal translation of wagyu is “Japanese cow.”) Some American breeds are awarded the name, but they’re not 100 percent pure; they need only have 46.875 percent pure blood, as defined by the USDA. 


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