I hear a number of non-native Houston chefs are bitten by our infectious rodeo bug. Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy’s is a native New Yorker but is featuring brisket ‘Jewish-style.’ And then, there’s Jean Philippe Guy of Bistro Provence, a native of France, serving Escargot Poppers. They’re deep-fried snails in a spicy hot sauce—ya gotta love that! BTW, Jean Philippe, the Stetson suits you.
Perhaps the most severe case of cowboy fever can be found over at Quattro, the wonderful restaurant at The Four Seasons Hotel downtown. Chef Maurizio Ferrarese, a native Italian, has only been in the Lone Star State a couple of years, but he now drives a Texas-sized pickup and even sports a pair of cowboy boots with his chef’s jacket…even when the rodeo isn’t in town!
What’s even more eye-catching than that (if possible)—the new Akaushi Lasagna (recipe here) on Quattro’s menu. Akaushi beef is said to be the best beef money can buy. It consistently grades higher than prime and is actually called heart-healthy because of its unique fatty acid composition. It’s better for you than other beef. And, it tastes like butter—really! Texas Monthly magazine called Akaushi a life changing steak.
I’ve seen Akaushi steaks on a number of menus in Houston- Pappas Bros. features an Akaushi steak and Randy Evans at Haven often has an Akaushi flatiron on his menu.
The Akaushi cattle are a fascinating breed. In Japan, the entire herd is owned by the Japanese government. The cattle are considered a national treasure. The only other Akaushi cattle being raised outside of Japan are in Texas, not far from Houston at a large cattle ranch near Gonzales.
You can buy the meat online. All of the cuts are wonderful, but the flat-iron is one of my favorites. It’s delicious. The ground beef is also very good and will dramatically elevate the quality of any burger! I’ve got more information on Heartbrand Akaushi on Goodtaste.tv. While you’re there be sure to sign up for our newsletter for great recipes and wine pairing ideas from tops chefs.