Diana Maria Solis photos

Could any steak be worth $60? Come into the DailyUV test kitchen and find out for yourself

Submitted 4 months ago
Created by
Jeff Good

What would you pay for a tender cut of beef? Ten bucks? Twenty? Thirty? How about $60? 

Last week, I wrote a story about Wagyu beef arriving at Singletons Market in Quechee. With origins in Japan, the highly marbled beef comes from cows raised at Royalton Farms and costs twice as much as normal cuts. Despite the price tags, store manager Nat Jenne told me, the last 480-pound shipment he got in sold out in just over a week. 

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Public-spirited journalists that we are, we decided to see for ourselves if Wagyu is worth the money. 

Jenne and his crew carve the beef into a variety of cuts, from hamburger to filet. We decided to go all-in, selecting a ribeye from the cooler. Even in conventional beef, ribeye is a tasty (and costly) cut. When the Wagyu landed on the scale at Singletons, we could already see that this beef had a rich color and even richer marbling — those streaks of fat that make a steak tender and full of flavor. 

The scale also made clear that beauty came with a cost. At about $40 a pound, the 1.5 pound steak we bought would feed two and set us back $60 — more than you would pay at many restaurants for a prepared meal. Could it possibly be worth the price?  

At home, we set the raw steak on a plate and allowed it to come to room temperature. Patting salt and pepper into each side, we lowered it onto the grill, seared it on both sides and then brought it to medium rare. To help pass the time, we poured some vodka martinis, extra-chilled. 

Pronouncing the beef done, we lifted the ribeye from the grill and put it on a clean white platter. After it had rested for a bit, we took a sharp knife and cut in. You can see the result. 

A cut as rich as the Wagyu called out for better company than your standard mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. We had cut red potatoes into small wedges, coated them with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and put them in the oven to roast. To balance the beef and starch, we dressed fresh greens with oil, lemon, salt, pepper and — to make it royal — chunks of blue cheese.

On to the table. 

The people who sell Wagyu like to say it's "melt in your mouth" tender, but I'm not sure that captures the sensation. While the Wagyu ribeye was tender, you still had to use a knife to cut it and teeth to chew. What distinguished it, we agreed, was its complex taste. 

Each bite released a blend of juicy crispness on the outside and sweet tenderness inside. More "come alive in your mouth" than melt in your mouth. Sorry, folks, we don't have any leftovers. Nor will we have Wagyu every night, or even every week.
But for a special meal, this was 64 bucks well-spent.  

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