Thursday, December 13, 2018

Wagyu Mafia x MENSHO

Wagyu Mafia

Is it uncouth to write about exclusive ramen that mere mortals could never taste? Probably. But in a world where Instagram has become such an ego extension, it is par for the course. Let the bragging begin!

This is Shono-san. If you follow the Tokyo ramen scene, you'll know him as the genius behind MENSHO. Seven shops in Tokyo, one in San Francisco, and now one in Bangkok. Today he teamed up with this guy.

Sato-san. The man behind the member's only wagyu restaurant Wagyu Mafia. He has quickly become a legend in the culinary world.

Wagyu Mafia sources the best-of-the-best beef in Japan, without worrying about price, and serves it to VIP diners. Every high profile chef on the planet is friendly with the guy, and every foodie dreams of dining at one of the Wagyu Mafia outlets. They also dream of capturing the infamous pose; Sato-san doesn't shy away from the Instagram hype machine.

Regardless of this photo-centric food trend, his stuff is legit.

Back to Tokyo (the above photos are from a food event in Copenhagen).

Back in 2018, Shono-san did a ramen pop-up at Wagyu Mafia. As expected, wagyu ramen was the ramen of the day.

38-hour dashi made from choice katsuo, saba, makombu, and shiitake. The topping is 20-day aged Tajima beef that was cooked sous-vide before being roasted over charcoal. 

Yes, it was amazing.

A quick note about Japanese wagyu. Kobe beef isn't a trademarked name, which is why you see Kobe beef marketed so heavily in America and Australia. It is probably a hybrid Japanese black cow and Angus.

In Japan, there are three lines of wagyu, Tajima, Kedaka and Shimane. Tajima (an old name for the area north of Osaka) is the only one that becomes certified Kobe. So when a Japanese shop talks about their Tajima beef, you can rest assured that you are dealing with serious wagyu.

It is all rather confusing, as premium cattle are named after their bloodline (Tajima), and not necessarily the place they were raised (Kobe). But those bloodlines (Tajima) also refer to a place (Tajima).

If you are lucky enough to dine at Wagyu Mafia, the chefs can explain this stuff in detail.

As I said, this was a special ramen event. But this ramen wasn't meant for you or me.

That's me blurred out in the background there. Blue shirt. Can you see?

And here I am creeping in from behind.

Yes, this was part of a special meal for soccer legend David Beckham. He was in town with his son for a culinary beatdown of Tokyo's best shops.

How is dining at Wagyu Mafia?

Wagyu gyoza with the shop's original hot sauce. Fun fact, a rep from Tabasco told me they have a pending lawsuit. True story!

Wagyu perfection.

Uni from one of the fish market's top sellers. One box costs around $800 I was told.

Wagyu sushi, topped with uni and caviar. Reminds me of a recent article about how Instagram is ruining sushi in NYC. Good read!

A small slice from last year's champion Kobe cow. They spent around $100,000 at the auction, and this was one of the last pieces of the year.

If you want to try Wagyu Mafia, it looks like their newest venture, called WM, offers an online reservation system. It is about $300, plus $100 for a one-time registration. You also have options to add on up to $600 more for extras.

I'm happy to be your guest (you treat) anytime!