In the world of steak, sometimes bigger is better and other times it is all about being ridiculous and over-the-top. This $100 steak at Greystone Steakhouse in San Diego's Gaslamp firmly belongs in that second category. The 3oz Japanese Wagyu steak comes topped with 24 karat gold flakes, hand shaved black truffle and is served on a slab of fine marble.
I've become cynical recently since it seems like everyone is serving what they call "Wagyu" and I honestly didn't want to find the answer that I expected to find. However, I was very pleased when our waitress proudly presented us with the certification and explained the differences between Wagyu, Kobe Beef and other similar meats that you might find at high-end steakhouses in San Diego. Essentially - Kobe is like Bordeaux wine - it can only be called Kobe if it comes from Wagyu cattle raised that area. However, the same cattle are raised in other parts of Japan with the same standards and that's what Japanese Wagyu is. These are graded from A-C and then on a scale of 1-5 based on marbling, color, and firmness. The best receive a rating of A5. That rating is the result of extraordinary care that includes such things as providing jackets for the calves to wear when it gets cold, providing them with a very specific diet that includes large amounts of beer and even massaged with sake.
The result is an incredibly tender and complex marbling that is honestly unlike anything else out there.
If you are ever in doubt about the actual meat that you are being served, I've never had someone offering true Wagyu decline to show me the certificate. In fact - most restaurants using authentic Wagyu are extremely proud of this and share the details proudly.
In our case, the experience starts with a 3oz piece of A5 Japanese Wagyu sliced and topped with 24 karat gold flakes. This would have been good enough for me ... but probably only a mere $75 steak at that point.
Next the server hand shaves a liberal amount of black truffle over the steak ... now we're up to $90.
Finally, she drizzles olive oil over the steak to add even more richness to the experience and there we are ... a $100 steak!
What more can I say? This is clearly not an everyday occurrence but it is something you can enjoy for a limited time in celebration of San Diego restaurant week. Make sure to call ahead to Greystone Steakhouse to ensure you can get the same experience that we did. It's a once in a lifetime experience but it is totally worth it if you love steak as much as I do!