GETTING MORE TALE #776: (Wag)yu Shook Me All Night Long
For highway driving, nothing quite hits the spot like AC/DC. It feels right. Who Made Who works as a quickie “greatest hits” selection for a quick spin down Highway 401. Mrs. LeBrain and I were heading to the GTA to celebrate 11 years as a married couple. We rocked to “You Shook Me All Night Long” on the dance floor that night, and we were returning to the very same location once more.
Highway 401 is in a perpetual state of construction, but good music helps take the edge off. This was my first drive that way in the new vehicle, and also the first with my latest gadget, a nifty dash cam that is sure to provide lots of content for my YouTube channel in the coming months.
Sorry, quick tangent: Phil Rudd is the “man”, but Simon Wright doesn’t get enough credit for his time on the AC/DC drum stool. AC/DC isn’t an easy beat to get the feel for, and every AC/DC drummer has their own approach. The 1980s were a period of hard-hitters and Simon Wright was the perfect drummer for that era. His precision is absolute on “Who Made Who” and it just sounds right. Compare the original to Chris Slade’s interpretation on AC/DC Live. That’s all I have to say about that.
We arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon and I settled into the jacuzzi pretty quickly. I wanted to do a funny gangsta style photo in the hot tub with me holding a couple of American dollar bills. I was thinking about when Floyd Mayweather threw the $1s at Conor McGregor. And holy shit did Facebook react.
Two things: Yes, I had pants on. And yes, that “gang sign” is the Vulcan salute. Relax. Let a man enjoy his jacuzzi, publicly on social media like damn 20 year old. Are you not entertained?!
We did some shopping. Because, like an idiot, I forgot to bring a nice pair of shoes for dinner, I had to get a new pair just for this one night. Then we met up with Jen’s best friend Lara for lunch. Did some more shopping. I wanted to go to stores that we don’t have at home. There isn’t much of that, just the same old chains. We did hit one up cool store, where I bought something called “Jean Guy”, but we couldn’t find any cool music or toy stores. At least I got my shoes!
So where were we headed? In ’08 when we got married it was the Pavilion Royale, but now it is a high end restaurant called 17 Steakhouse & Bar. It’s very different on the inside, but recognizable. There was the dance floor, where I once spun to “You Shook Me All Night Long”. But we chose 17 for more than sentimental reasons. The main draw was the real Japanese A5 wagyu. And that’s what this chapter is really about.
I’ve never had real wagyu in my life and American wagyu was not going to do it. You only life once. Carpe diem. Go big or go home. It’s only money. All that bullshit. I’d done my research, I knew what I was getting my wallet into. I’d been planning it over a year.
We started with a simple but delicious field green salad, with incredible goat cheese. The smoothest goat cheese I’ve ever tasted. Only when we finished the salads did they began firing our steaks. None of that “here comes your main dish before you’ve finished your starter” nonsense. Jennifer chose the US prime T-bone, medium rare, and let me tell you, that alone could have been the best steak I’ve ever tasted. It was 25 oz, so more than enough to share. So tender! With cripsy, tasty fat.
Jen’s steak could easily have been the most tender I’ve ever tried, if not for my Japanese A5 wagyu. Market price was $30 per oz. I chose an 8 oz striploin, medium rare. You should always get a wagyu steak cooked to medium rare. I was electric with tense anticipation. The steaks arrived, cooked precisely to order.
I gently cut a thin slice, which came off like butter. There was a lovely char on the outside, a crisp splash of flat, and then the most tender meat you can imagine. It was seasoned simply and perfectly, the saltiness enhancing that beefy umami. On the tongue, it was like butter with only the slightest sensation of a meaty texture. I probably didn’t even have to chew.
It’s a very rich piece of meat, far more than I anticipated. I’d estimate that I finished about 3/4 of my meal, leaving a $60 chunk of wagyu in my takeout bag. And that chunk of leftover wagyu was the best lunch I ever had the following day.
For sides, we ordered the fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat and thyme, the asparagus with hollandaise, and the scalloped potatoes au gratin. Of those three, the asparagus was the clear winner, with the potatoes au gratin in second place. Only I liked the fingerling potatoes; Jen didn’t care for them, leaving her batting average with any form of duck to be zero.
We had an incredible dessert of cheesecake, Crème brûlée and whipped cream which was supernaturally good. Everything was.
Having had probably the most expensive steak I’ll ever buy, was it worth it? If you are a steak lover, then yes, it is worth it. And I love steaks. A little goes a long way, but every steak lover should try real Japanese wagyu once. It’s unlike anything I’ve had before and it is easily categorised as a true delicacy. Having said that, should we return to 17 Steakhouse in a year, I don’t know that I would order it again, and that is only because there are other interesting features on their menu that I would like to try. The 36 oz tomahawk would be a sight to behold, though I couldn’t eat it all myself. I would also like to try the Porterhouse, the lobster bisque, and beef tartare.
Yes, the wagyu was worth it, and I can still taste and feel its texture on my palette. It won’t be for everyone except in small doses. They have a 4 oz minimum order, and I suggest that may the perfect size to experiment with.
We started with AC/DC so we’ll finish with AC/DC. Who made wagyu? 17 Steakhouse did, and it was hell’s bells! I couldn’t wait to sink the pink steak in my mouth. It’ll shake your foundations just like it shook mine. It’s a little bit of a ride on, down the 401, but worth the drive. Hell ain’t a bad place to be(ef)!* For those about to rock, I wagyu.
* Courtesy 1537