Last fall, when Seattle’s Metropolitan Grill reopened after a two-month renovation, it welcomed its customers with one of the rarest cuts of meat in the world. Although I’m sure the new carpet and the remote-controlled lighting system were impressive upgrades, they don’t have the wow factor of Olive Wagyu beef. The Metropolitan Grill became only the second restaurant in the United States to serve this steak, which cost $135 for five melt-in-your-mouth ounces. But now one company wants to give you the chance to cook one of these ridiculously scarce steaks on your own grill.
Crowd Cow, which sells small batch cuts of beef online, has literally gone to the source of Olive Wagyu to develop a relationship with one farm. Olive Wagyu – which is also known as Sanuki Wagyu – is only produced on Shodoshima Island in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture. “Olive Island,” as it’s called, is the place where olive trees were first successfully grown in the country. Fast forward more than 100 years, and its thriving olive plantations are one of Shodoshima’s tourist attractions.
“That’s great,” you’re probably saying to yourself. “But what does that have to do with cows?” It has everything to do with the four breeds of Wagyu cattle that are raised on Shodoshima Island. After the olive plantations press the fruit to make olive oil, they have mountains of leftover pulp. Seven years ago, farmers started to mix dehydrated pulp into their cows’ feed and the result was a kind of beef that is crazy high in oleic acid, giving the meat a rich, buttery mouthfeel. (One Seattle-based reviewer described its texture and flavor as “beefy foie gras.”)
“Unwavering efforts and a favorable climate have contributed to the development of fattening technology,” the Sanuki Promotion Council explains on its website. “The production of high-quality ‘Sanuki Wagyu’ is grounded in knowledge and skill.”
There are only around 2,200 Olive Wagyu cows in the world, which makes this a highly sought-after cut of meat. So back to Crowd Cow, which is selling a limited quantity of these steaks to its customers (or to anyone who becomes a customer before April 16). This could be your best chance to try it for yourself – assuming that you’re confident in your grill skills. Crowd Cow won’t reveal how much each steak will cost, but it’s probably cheaper than a trip to Japan.