The Metropolitan Grill prides itself on being old school. Green plush booths, dark wood counters, white-jacketed bartenders, chop salad and steak old school. But there’s a notable new addition to the steak display case that greets you at the door—Australian Wagyu, the ultra-marbled and highly prized beef that comes from full-blooded Wagyu cows whose ancestors just happened to be dispatched from Japan to Australia in the 1990s. This beef rings in at $85 for a five-ounce cut.
The Met was chosen by producer Mayura Station as one of four restaurants in the States (along with two locations of Wolfgang Puck’s Cut and the Wynn Encore Resort in Las Vegas) to carry its limited-quantity luxe beef imported from the southeast coast of Australia. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, it’s the first time full-blooded Wagyu has appeared on the Met’s menu since hoof-and-mouth disease halted beef exports from Japan in 2010. Back then the restaurant was one of about a dozen nationally that offered the particularly prized Ohmi Wagyu, which cost $100 for six ounces.
Wagyu has attained designer beef status thanks to its generous marbling—the way the fat exists within the meat, infusing it with tenderness and taste. And not only is the marbling exceptional in the meat of these ancestrally Japanese cows, they have entirely different kinds of fats, fats that melt at a lower temperature. That old adage about something melting in your mouth as you eat it? That actually happens with this fat.
This is not a steak to serve charred, like a big New York or a ribeye. It’s a delicate thing—the product of a carefully raised cow, a cow fed tiny sips of beer before each meal. Met chef Eric Hellner says each precious steak is pan seared, finished in the oven, and served rare. The first easy cut into the succulent steak reveals a dark pink interior, the first taste a far richer-than-average, earthy, intense flavor.
“This is much more like something of a foie gras or a delicacy…you’d only eat it once in a while,” said Hellner. “You can’t eat it every day, it’s super rich.” Well you can, if you’re super rich.