Wagyu beef: no other like it

Geoff Kelty

Columbus Executive Chef Geoff Kelty

The best steaks are tender, flavorful, marbled and cooked just enough to seal in the flavor and not rob it of its natural juices. It’s a feast for a meat lover to experience that best cut of meat, cooked perfectly.

At Eddie Merlot’s, that’s exactly the experience we strive to create. We want to be the place that offers that perfect moment, when that first bite touches your tongue. We want to be closely associated with great beef.

We spoke to Columbus Executive Chef Geoff Kelty about his career at Eddie Merlot’s, which began a decade ago when we opened our first restaurant in Fort Wayne. He was offered an opportunity to move to Columbus as serve as executive chef, a position he has enjoyed for the past three years.

During most of his tenure, the restaurants have served U.S.D.A. Prime beef, and still do, today. In 2010, Eddie Merlot’s added Wagyu beef to its menu. Customers were seeking this “best steak” experience, and Eddie Merlot’s was proud to offer it to its clientele. Dining on Wagyu is an entirely different experience than U.S.D.A. Prime, Geoff says.

Wagyu beef originated in Japan, though Eddie Merlot’s serves American Wagyu, which is a cross-breed between Japanese Wagyu and Angus cows. The climate is simply too cool in America for a strict Wagyu breed, Geoff says.

The cattle are fed a mixture of corn, alfalfa, wheat and straw. The meat from pure bred Wagyu cattle, as it is raised in Japan, is nearly white with marbled fat, Geoff says, while the American cross-breeds aren’t quite as fatty.

Tender Wagyu flat iron steak

For consumers, ordering Wagyu so they get the best flavor means asking for it more rare than they’re used to doing. Medium-rare is about as done as you’d want it to maintain the proper flavor and its tender texture. “The flavor is spot-on,” Geoff says. “It is so tender, and people just love that about it.”

Eddie Merlot’s most discerning clientele orders the Wagyu steak with foie gras seared on top of the steak, a decadent treat on top of the world’s most tender meat. “It’s one delicacy on top of another,” Geoff says.

The key to cooking Wagyu properly is to cook it quickly on high heat. Add a little salt and pepper, and you don’t need much else. “You want to just sear the outside,” Geoff says. “If you cook it any more than that, you’ll melt the fat in it and it won’t be the texture and taste you want in the meat. It will be much tougher.”

Geoff recommends Cabarnet Savignon or Shiraz red wines with the steaks. Sides can be simple, too, such as lobster mashed potatoes.

Yes, Wagyu is more expensive than U.S.D.A. Prime, but it’s entirely worth it, Geoff says, particularly for a true steak lover. “This really is a one-of-a-kind experience, and something no steak lover should skip,” Geoff says.

If you want to read more about our menu, you can view it on our Web site, here: http://www.eddiemerlots.com/Menu-and-Wine-List/Menu-142.html

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About editor

An upscale restaurant group with locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
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