Considered a delicacy both in Japan and in this country, Kobe beef is a cut above (no pun intended) your average ground round. Taken from a specific breed of Wagyu cattle — which are raised in a certain prefecture of Japan under a strict set of traditional rules — the meat is renowned for its flavor; tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture (not to mention its sky-high price tag).
Needless to say, one wouldn’t expect to find a Kobe burger on the menu at your neighborhood diner. But at Piermont’s Sidewalk Bistro, owner Daout Celestin (formerly of Peter X. Kelly’s highly rated Xaviar’s at Piermont) offers a French variation on the classic hamburger that uses the much-vaunted beef.
The bistro’s Steak Haché ($14) is prepared by Executive Chef Xavier Mayonove, who begins with a 10-ounce patty of 100 percent fresh Kobe beef. “The beef is delivered daily — or as needed” by Pearl River distributor Butcher Boys, says Manager Bobby Tobin; orders total approximately 80-100 pounds per week (slightly more during warmer weather, when outdoor dining is available). The meat is simply seasoned with salt and pepper before it is charbroiled. A brioche roll (“which works best,” according to Tobin) is sliced and placed on the grill for less than a minute before pairing the two on the plate. This well-researched and tested combination is served with fresh romaine lettuce, tomato, and raw red onion slices; a dill pickle, and shoestring French fries. Add your choice of cheese — American, Swiss, Muenster, goat, bleu, cheddar — or bacon. Substitute or order a side of haricot verts; mushrooms; sautéed spinach with garlic; sweet potato fries; mashed potatoes; or something a little lighter, like a salad of baby greens, tossed with a light Dijon vinaigrette. Voilà! Your Kobe burger is served.
So inquiring taste buds want to know — what are the bistro’s customers saying about the Kobe burger? “It’s just so juicy — a little bit of char on the outside and really moist on the inside — a perfectly well-balanced burger,” says Tobin. Say no more — we’re convinced. Bon appétit!