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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 16th September 2016 > BEEF ENCOUNTERS

BEEF ENCOUNTERS

Meat from Kobe cattle is harder to find than you think. Unless, that is, you’re in Tokyo

@owenmatth

FIRST CUT: Real Kobe beef—like this, in a restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district—is a rarity worth seeking out.
TORU HANAI/REUTERS

IN THE WEST, there may be no more macho food than the steak. It’s bloody, chewy, charred and considered by many to be the ultimate tough-guy food. Japan’s Kobe beef is the opposite. Delicate, refined, meltingly tender, Kobe beef is the meat equivalent of the finest sushi. A Kobe steak is typically a quarter of an inch thick and spends maybe 40 seconds on a hot grill that is positioned right in front of your plate. The result, a tiny chunk of seared meat small enough to be eaten with chopsticks, is an exquisite balance of flesh, fat and fire. It has as little in common with a slab of New York steakhouse T-bone as fine sashimi has with battered cod served in newspaper at a London chip shop. On a recent gastronomic pilgrimage to Japan, it wasn’t the sushi or sashimi that blew me away—it was the Kobe beef.

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