Japanese Wagyu made its triumphant return to BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica in mid-October after it was taken off the menu two years ago. The Fukushima plant meltdown is to blame for the hiatus after the U.S. Department of Agriculture closed its borders to Japanese beef as a result of radiation contamination fears.
The USDA has since deemed beef safe again, and so comes the return of the delicacy to local diners.
Wagyu is different and unique to normal cattle in the United States because it’s a different species of cattle that’s raised differently, according to Brent Berkowitz, director of operations of the Innovative Dining Group (BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica’s head company).
“The cattle we are used to here, Angus and Longhorn, are high in saturated fat and therefore not good for your cholesterol levels,” Berkowitz said. “Wagyu fat is unsaturated, and therefore quite a bit healthier for you, also one of the reasons it practically melts in your hand when raw; its intra-muscular fat, known as marbling, is so great that often times it looks more white than red when raw.”
Berkowitz said its chefs prepare its Wagyu by simply seasoning it with salt and pepper and then cook it on a hot flat top to sear and caramelize the outside to enhance the flavor.
“We also heavily recommend that is prepared to medium temperature; any less and the fat does not melt and ‘self-baste’ the meat,” he said. “We then finish the cooked Wagyu with Okinawa Sea Salt. We source all of our Wagyu from the Saga Prefecture of Japan. All meat, Wagyu or not, aged or not, needs to rest and relax for seven to 14 days after harvest; we generally receive our beef 10-12 days after being harvested in Japan.”
Berkowitz said guests have always been interested in what was known as Kobe Beef, and now more properly Wagyu.
“It makes an unique and luxurious dining experience, so of course they were happy to see its return,” he said. “So far the feedback from our guests is that it is better than they remembered it and they it is very high quality Wagyu that we are sourcing.”
It is $19 an ounce at the restaurant with a three-ounce minimum.
For anyone who hasn’t been to BOA Steakhouse in Santa Monica, the restaurant lends itself to casual week day dinners, weekend celebrations, and business meetings.
Berkowitz said the concept has always been, and will always be, a Modern American Steakhouse with a twist as it adds a more progressive foodie take on the classics.
“We are definitely known for our steaks amongst which is our Signature 40 Day Dry Aged Prime New York Strip Steak,” he said. “One of our most interesting and popular appetizers is our Goat Cheese and Black Truffle Baklava with Pistachios; a savory rift on the classic Greek dessert. When it comes to sides, our guests adore the Chipotle Lime Corn, inspired by Mexican Street Corn, this is corn grilled on the cobb, then cut off the cobb tossed with lime, butter, chipotle and finished with grated parmesan cheese. Our longest running dessert is a staff and guest favorite. Our S’Mores have been on the menu since we opened our first store in Hollywood 10 years ago: rich and decadent dark Chocolate Cake with House-Made Marshmallow, Graham Crackers, and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.”
BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica offers a happy hour Monday-Friday from 5-7 p.m. in the lounge area and also 50 percent off bottles of wine every Sunday.
101 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica