Wagyu Steak at the Cut Steakhouse in Halifax
The Cut Steakhouse in Halifax sits just above the waterfront and is a very decent, if somewhat expensive restaurant. When I visited, I hadn’t really planned on having Wagyu Steak that evening, but after perusing their very interesting menu, and actually seeing some of the steaks on offer, I was seduced into trying the specialty item. It turned out not merely to be a great Steak, but a truly memorable experience.
What is a Wagyu Steak?
For those unfamiliar, Wagyu refers to a breed of Cattle originating in Japan and prized for it richly marbled meat. There is a lot of confusion over the name Wagyu Beef, and Kobe Beef, with many using the name as though they are interchangeable. In fact, Kobe refers to a particular strain of Wagyu farmed in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture. Wagyu cattle are now farmed quite extensively outside Japan, including being raised on the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
The Steaks at Cut Steakhouse
One feature I very much enjoyed, and which I have only encountered in a few other steakhouses, was the ‘rolling’ display of cuts on offer. The staff who bring around the trolley are exceptionally knowledgeable about steak general and can not only explain all sorts of things about the cutting and aging of beef but can just about give you a pedigree for every individual piece of meat available on a given night.
By the way, the lovely thick cut being demonstrated by my server is the 28oz Bone-in Rib-eye available for $74. It is, I gather, most commonly ordered as a steak for sharing but sometimes individuals do tackle it by themselves. On another occasion, I might have been sorely tempted but, already, by this point, I had set my sights on something else…
Above, you can see the section of the menu that grabbed my attention. I might have been tempted to try a Kobe, or other Japanese Wagyu Steak, had they been available, but the Australian varieties have a good reputation too.
I ended up choosing the first of the two, chiefly in the illusory sense that I was being a bit more fiscally responsible. As you can see, though, $100 for a 10oz Steak, is a not insubstantial price and, for those of us not born into sizeable trust funds, it is not something one is likely to do every night.
By the way, I checked the current menu at Cut Steakhouse just before publishing this, and I see that their Wagyu Steak Dinner, featuring a 14oz Wagyu Ribeye from Queensland, Australia, now goes for … $240.
What does a Wagyu Steak taste like?
Well, first, if you note in the picture of the menu above, you will see that the Steak was prepared by being rubbed with Miso and Sake before grilling. As usual, I ordered my steak Medium Rare and Well Charred (sometimes called ‘Chicago style’, or ‘Pittsburgh Rare’) but my server looked a little doubtful, wondering whether the Miso rub would stand up to that. As I have used Miso with grilling many times before (especially on Salmon), and I told her I would risk it. Happily it turned out, the Miso survived the very high temperatures commonly used in Steakhouses and complimented the Steak beautifully with no burnt or bitter tastes.
As for the Wagyu Steak itself? As you can see in the above picture, the flesh is indeed richly fatty and nicely cooked the way I ordered. The flesh was delectably tender, very, very juicy, and had a flavor that I won’t even try to describe other than to say it was heavenly. The grilling was very expertly handled and, while I am not going to say that this was without question the best steak I have ever had, it was highly enjoyable. Indeed, I probably could have managed a second but for the price and the delicious side-dishes.
This dish turned out to be one of the best Mushroom side-dishes I have ever been served in a Steakhouse. The Mushrooms in question were Oyster Mushrooms and Beefsteak Mushrooms and they were beautifully pan-fried with butter, lightly seasoned, and garnished with a little Parsley. They were delightfully plump and delectable.
This appeared on the menu as ‘Beefsteak Tomato Grilled with Feta Basil’. – In plenty of other restaurants, I might have rated this dish a little higher but in the context of this particular meal, it was a bit disappointing. The basil specified on the menu was actually oregano in the completed dish (which I do not like nearly as much), and I also found the overall effect was a bit more like a steamed or slow-baked production rather than a grilled dish. Nevertheless, even though I didn’t find this quite as good as the Mushrooms, I still enjoyed it.
Anyway, I left Cut Steakhouse feeling well satisfied and very happy with the meal. The ambience certainly helped, as it is very pleasantly appointed, and the service is also excellent, but the star of the meal, was of course, the very excellent Wagyu Steak. It was, ultimately, an experience I very much enjoyed, but will, alas, probably not be repeating all that often.