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Kobe Beef and Killer Cabernet Sauvignon — at Two South Bay/Peninsula Restaurants

Posted By foodgal On April 13, 2010 @ 5:25 am In Enticing Events,General,Meat,Restaurants,Wine | 11 Comments

Take some of the richest, most marbled beef around.  Pair it with an inky, full-bodied, Old World-style Napa Valley Cab.

What’s not to like?

Especially when it’s Snake River Farms’ American-style Kobe and Signorello Estate’s 2005 and 2006 Estate Cabarnet Sauvignon with its balance of raspberry, cedar, earth, and tobacco notes.

The two specialty producers have partnered for the past few years to introduce foodies to the luxurious combination of Kobe and Cab. In fact, Signorello even runs a “Kobe & Cabarnet Club,” in which participants receive three shipments a year of Kobe cuts with bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. Each shipment averages $390.

If that’s a little too rich for your blood, those in the South Bay will be glad to know they can experience the “Kobe & Cab” magic in a slightly more economical way at two local restaurants.

The Grill on the Alley in San Jose is serving a 12-ounce New York Snake River Farms steak seasoned with grilled asparagus ($65) with a bottle of 2005 Signorello Cab ($75)  through at least the end of May.

And Quattro at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in San Jose is featuring two dishes at lunch and dinner through the end of April: An open-face Snake River Farms tri-tip steak sandwich with porcini gravy, fried artichokes and aioli ($19); and a Snake River Farms rib eye with gigante beans, oven-cured tomatoes, black chanterelles and spinach ($45).

The 2006 Signorello Estate Cabarnet Sauvignon is available there by the glass ($21) or bottle ($85).

I had a chance to find out just how wonderful the meat pairs with the wine when I was a guest at a special kick-off dinner at Quattro last month that spotlighted not only Signorello wines and Snake River Farms’ Kobe beef, but also its incomparable Kurobuta pork.

The Wagyu breed is famous in Japan, where the cattle have been raised in the Kobe region for hundreds of years. Snake Rivers of Boise, Idaho crosses Japanese Wagyu with Black Angus cattle for its American-version of Wagyu beef.

No, Snake River Farms doesn’t massage its cows with sake and feed them beer as the folklore in Japan goes. Instead, the Snake River Farms cows are fed Idaho potatoes, white wheat, corn and alfalfa hay. While most other cows in the United States are brought to market at 16 months, the Snake River ones are fed up until they’re 30 months old, resulting in more flavor and a whole lot more marbling.

Just how good is this stuff? Uber-chefs, Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller are huge fans, especially Keller who buys almost all of the Snake River rib eye caps produced (the extremely marbled muscle around the outside of a center-cut rib-eye steak).

In the Bay Area, you can find Snake River Farms meats at Marina Meats in San Francisco and Schaub’s Meats in Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center.

My own dinner started with steak tartare made from the tenderloin. A hit of Meyer lemon was a welcome touch of bright, floral acidity to cut through the incredible silky, buttery tasting chopped meat.

Next, some of the best pork belly I’ve had. And believe you me, I’ve had a lot of pork belly in my time. Yes, Snake River Farms also raises Berkshire or Kurobuta pork, a hog with tremendous marbling that results in sweet and tender meat.

At the Quattro dinner, the pork belly was cooked sous vide (gently in a vaccum-sealed bag in a controlled water bath), then served on a bed of risotto made of green farro. The pork belly fairly squirted juice when bit into. Talk about heaven.

Quattro is fairly famous for its handcrafted pasta, which it makes with a $13,000 Italian pasta machine. Yes, you read that right. That night, it was used to make outstanding raviolini stuffed with beefy braised oxtail and accented with creamy goat cheese.

The piece de resistance arrived next — the Snake River Farms rib eye, a huge, 8-ounce cut with veins of lovely fat throughout. Don’t let that scare you too much. Apparently, Wagyu cattle have a higher percentage of unsaturated fat than any other breed. So go ahead, and take another bite, by all means.

The evening wrapped up with local cheeses from Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol, Rinconada Dairy in Santa Margarita, and Cowgirl Creamery in Pt. Reyes Station. That was followed by a warm Valrhona chocolate cake  with lovely saffron-scented kumquats and mascarpone gelato.

Kobe and Cab?

Bring it on. Anytime, any way.

More: Quattro’s Secret Garden and $13,000 Pasta Machine

More: The Verdict on Snake River Farms Kobe Beef Burger

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