Friday, December 13, 2013

Japanese Wagyu Sushi and Broiled Australian Wagyu - An Amazing Lunch with Anshu Pathak

I traveled to Exotic Meat Market in Perris, California the other day and had an amazing lunch with Anshu Pathak, the proprietor. I brought some nigiri (sushi) for us to eat and Anshu and his wife provided some amazing Japanese and Australian wagyu beef. To appreciate the wagyu we had, you need to know some basics. 

Wagyu are any one of four Japanese style cattle: black, brown, poll or shorthorn.  Japanese wagyu beef is rated in several ways. First, it is given a Yield Score (amount of usable meat) of A, B, or C (A being highest) based on a set of objective measurements. A yield of 72% or higher gets an A, 69% to under 72% gets a B and under 69% a C. Second, it is also given a Meat Quality Score of 1 to 5 (5 being highest) based on the following four factors, with each factor scored from 1 to 5: (1) marbling; (2) meat color and brightness; (3) meat firmness and texture; and (4) fat color, luster and quality. The overall meat quality score is graded down to the lowest of the scores on the four separate factors. So to get an overall quality score of 5, each factor must score a 5. One factor, marbling, the intramuscular flecks of fat that give the marble like pattern in the meat, is rated from 1 to 12 (12 being the highest). This rating is known as the BMS or Beef Marbling Standard. For a grade of 5, the beef must have a BMS of 8 or higher.  
This Japanese wagyu ribeye steak is A5 with a BMS of 11. 
To get the famous Kobe beef label, it must meet very specific standards, including the following: (a) the wagyu cattle must be pure lineage Tajima-Gyu (a breed of black wagyu); (b) raised in Hyogo prefecture (of which Kobe is the capital); (c) have a yield score of A or B; (d) have a quality score of 4 or 5; and (e) a BMS of 6 or higher. For good explanations of this grading, see here and here. Japanese beef is very difficult to get in the U.S. It is mostly available in very high-end steak houses. And contrary to popular belief, Kobe beef is not necessarily the best Japanese wagyu. See here.  

Australia imported full-blooded wagyu cattle in the 1990s (in the U.S. the wagyu cattle are often cross-bred with angus cattle because Americans tend not to like as much marbling as the Japanese) and are gaining a reputation for their wagyu's marbling and taste. The Australian marbling scale is a little different than Japan's, it has a scale of 1 to 9+. 
This Australian wagyu ribeye steak is 9+
Now, back to my visit with Anshu. First, Anshu brought out some Japanese wagyu ribeye steak with a yield score of A, a quality score of 5 and a BMS of 11. That is about as top quality as you can get. It came out frozen and he cut it up into strips and we allowed it to thaw to room temperature. He suggested that it is best to eat it raw, with wasabi and soy sauce. It was very soft and tender, with a texture like butter and a bit of a sweet taste. With a little added wasabi and soy sauce it is reminiscent of toro (fatty blue-fin tuna). Wow! An incredible treat.
Japanese wagyu sliced into thin strips.
Japanese wagyu sushi with wasabi and soy sauce.
Then Anshu pulled out a large Australian full-blood wagyu ribeye with a rating of 9+. It was substantially thicker. We compared the Australian wagyu to the Japanese wagyu and the marbling in the Japanese wagyu was greater. He indicated that the Australian wagyu was best cooked and he had his wife broil it in a small broiler he has on-site. She brought out the beautiful broiled Australian wagyu ribeye with a slice of blood orange and fig on one side and a container with Himalayan sea salt, ground pepper and onion salt on the other. Beautiful presentation and AMAZING steak. I particularly liked it with the Himalayan pink sea salt. It was very moist, had great mouth-feel and savory to the max. That first bite gave me a glimpse of what nirvana may be like. Anshu graciously allowed me to eat the lion's portion of the steak. I'd had an aged ribeye steak at a high-end steakhouse several weeks ago and this steak left it in the dust in the race of steak perfection.  
Comparison of Australian wagyu to Japanese wagyu.
With Anshu before digging in to the Australian wagyu.
Beautiful presentation - salts and pepper, fig and blood orange slice and beautiful Australian wagyu.
Anshu felt that the Australian wagyu was a little over-cooked, but it was wonderful. 
Anshu's wife then brought out a dessert consisting of a slice of apple, and a quartered fig with melted cheese in the center. She suggested I eat it with soy sauce. I bit into it expecting the fig to be kind of hard and chewy and was surprised at how smooth and supple it was, with nice, contrasting textures and tastes of the crisp apple, melted cheese, sweet fig and salty soy sauce.  
Quartered figs on slice of apple with melted cheese.
Quartered fig
This was a meal I'll never forget. Thank you Anshu!


  1. I does look divine. I'm glad you could get your fix!

  2. Reminds me of Victoria and Alberts at Disneyworld. It was really good, but I doubt I will ever be able to afford Wyagu beef ever again.

  3. I've been to Exotic Meat Market and Anshu is the most spectacular host. He is first class and runs a first class operation. I can't wait to go see him again. VERY SOON.

    1. I must admit, Anshu's place is more of a magical kingdom to me than Disneyland.

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