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Hordes of hungry carnivores—including Greenie D. McGee—queue up for a taste of washugyu ribeye. [Photos: Joe DiStefano]

Tuesday Night Tastings at Louis 649 usually feature such premium spirits as the wonderful whiskeys from Tuthilltown. This Tuesday was also devoted to a top-shelf product, but this time around it was beef—specifically wagyushu from nearby Japan Premium Beef. Eiichi Yamamoto was on hand to serve and discuss the finer points of his product.

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The marbling on this coulotte, or top sirloin cap, was simply mind-boggling.

Things started out with a small piece of beef sashimi with a slick of wasabi sauce. As I savored the luscious piece of meat, Yamamoto-san explained just what makes it so delicious. Japan Premium Beef crossbreeds Wagyu cattle from Japan with Black Angus cattle at its ranch in Oregon. The happy beasts are then fed an antiobiotic- and hormone-free diet. He credits the Japanese feeding program for the meat's depth of flavor, tenderness, and insane marbling.

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Thinly sliced rib-eye requires just a dip in and out of the bubbling shabu shabu pot.

It was great to learn about washugyu (and even better to sample some for free), but those few bites were a tease. With our inner carnivores unleashed my friend and I made haste for Yakiniku West, which bills itself as a Japanese rural steakhouse.

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Ogling the meat before sitting down to table-grill it.

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A platter of three cuts of U.S. Kobe beef—or washugyu—short rib,sirloin, and rib-eye.

After looking at the menu for less than five minutes we settled on the U.S. Kobe beef set for two ($70). Technically U.S. Kobe is a misnomer, it's washugyu, but such thoughts were far from our minds as we waited for the grill to heat up.

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Rivulets of fat stream from the meat as it sizzles.

Soon we were happily grilling the meat. About three-quarters of the way through we entered a glassy-eyed stupor that I like to call meatosis. (For the record, I did eat some of the broccoli and corn on that platter.)

If you didn't make it to Tuesday's tasting don't worry, Louis 649 features Japan Premium Beef coulotte sashimi ($12) on its menu.

Japan Premium Beef

57 Great Jones Street, New York NY 10009 (map)
212-260-2333

Louis 649

649 East 9th Street, New York NY 10009 (map)
212-673-1190

Yakiniku West

218 East 9th St., New York NY 10003 (map)
212-979-9238

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