The Manual Guide to Kobe Beef

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At around $300 to $400 a serving, Kobe beef is one of the rarest and most expensive cuts of meat on the market, but what many people don’t know is that the USDA lifted the ban and that the legal importation of authentic Kobe beef from Japan only began recently, and on top of that, only a select handful of restaurants in the United States, including New York’s Empire Steakhouse are authorized to serve it.

So what is the big deal about Kobe beef? “It’s very tender, it’s very juicy, and it’s like eating marshmallow steak,” said Empire Steakhouse owner and executive chef Jack Sinanj. “It’s very soft. It’s not an everyday steak.” The cow has to be raised in Japan, where it is fattened with beer — who knew that drunk cows could produce such tasty steak? Each piece of Kobe beef that’s imported to the United States also comes with a certificate of authentication with the cow’s nose print on it. “It says who is the father, who is the mother,” said Sinanj. “You know the name of the cow and the parents.”

The steak, which Sinanj says should be cooked medium rare, is so soft that it doesn’t even need a steak knife. When you finally take that bite, it melts in your mouth like butter. Sinanj also suggests that you pair it with a good bottle of red wine and sides like the Empire Steakhouse’s creamed spinach. So next time you go to a restaurant and see something on the menu that is labeled as Kobe beef, think twice — you may not be getting what you ordered.

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