House of Wagyu's Dry-Aged Steaks is the Steak For Steak Lovers
Steak is easy enough to enjoy. From the sizzling food court platters of miniscule T-bone to the staggering tomahawks that let you unleash your inner caveman, steak is a democratic culinary staple that allows anyone to revel in the joys of meat.
But, like any democracy, not all options are equal. There are cheaper cuts—ribcap, tips, hanger—that work, yes, but only in the hands of the right cook. There are the favored parts, like ribcap and porterhouse, which, with the right amount of fat, is thrilling enough. There's steak from cow sthat were born without birthright. Satisfying as it is standard. Then there are the prized options: the Kobes and the Wagyus, the Anguses, the Koreans, the Argentine, the USDAs—meat bred and pampered even as they await the grill.
From the cut to the grade to the origin, you'll find permutations of these in any respectable steak menu. You skim over the most affordable ones and settle through the mid-range wet-aged, perfect for the steak sophisticate without burning a hole through the pocketbook. But every once in a while, we peek at the holy grail page, the holy grail of steak preps. Expensive, yes, but get back every peso in flavor. If good steak was reserved for proposals and promotions, great steak is for those truly dare-to-be-great moments.
Dry-aging is a way to decompose meat, but in the best, most appetizing way. As with cheese and wine, aged beef tastes much better than the usual fresh, moist cuts of meat. Beef is dry-aged in a controlled environment. Moisture is drawn out, allowing only the beef flavor in the steak and letting it to develop through time. Beef can be dry-aged from a few days up to 120; 30, however, is a standard. As it decomposes, enzymes are released in the meat, giving it a delicious kind of succulence. The aging process also gives off a nutty flavor.
At House of Wagyu, a prime resource for all thing steak in Manila, their dry-aged wagyu is the pièce de résistance of their entire menu. Aged for over 40 days in a controlled room, House of Wagyu's special steaks were the product of months of research. Owner Corinne Castañeda and chef Ika Mortell experimented until they found the right temperature and humidity levels and time span that would highlight the taste of their beef further. Castañeda herself monitors the aging process through an app on her phone.
The result of such devotions comes in the form of 220 grams of mouthwatering dry-aged beef which, in typical House of Wagyu fashion, are pre-seared to a stunning rare: glistening brown on the outside then ruby red on the inside. Customers can cook the steak on a stone grill to their desired doneness--though a few seconds over heat is enough to bring out its intense beefiness. (Pro tip: ask for some extra beef fat to lay out on your grill. It oils up the stone and crisps up for a bonus round of flavor).
While voracious meat eaters could inhale 220 grams of steak without much challenge, this kind of dry-aged wagyu needs to be savored. Smell the steak's deep nuttiness, the smoke that wafts upward when the meat hits the grill. Marvel at way the beef is soft even without the usual moisture. Stare at how the knife easy cuts through the shiny reddish flesh. Enjoy every moment, not only because it's one meal you probably won't have again in a while, but also because stocks are supremely limited due to its complex process.
Don't worry. The euphoria from a meal like this probably won't leave you for a long time.
House of Wagyu has branches at McKinley Arcade, Ortigas Avenue corner Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City; Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City; Two E-Com Center, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City; and Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, Mandaluyong City.