The Evolution to Include Grass-Fed, Kosher, and Wagyu

This is the last segment in a four-part series detailing our beef program and what makes it so special. While our owner and founder, Paul Mackay, helped to create the most elite, sought-after Angus beef program with Certified Angus Beef®, and took that a step further to create a natural program, our guests are also a driving force in what we offer. Since the beginning, we wanted to offer our guests something so exclusive that they’d be hard-pressed to find anything like it anywhere in the world. That still holds true today.

Our owner and founder, Paul Mackay, has been an innovator in creating the elite Certified Angus Beef® Prime brand, and continuing with Niman Ranch for a natural program (read our past three articles for the complete story). Our guests are also an important catalyst for what we offer, and those recent additions include grass-fed beef, kosher beef, and a unique “splurge” item to truly wow guests.

Since our mission is simply to find the best for our guests and patrons to enjoy, we revisited our three-part sourcing philosophy: 1) to find the best products in the world, 2) to source locally, when possible, and 3) to source natural or organic, when possible. We understand the local movement in terms of looking for quality, but we also don’t want to overlook product that may be better produced or available from other regions. Before we add a new product to our menu, it needs to align with our sourcing philosophy and our stringent quality requirements. Basically, it has to be the best.

Grass-Fed Beef

Guests have been requesting a grass-fed beef option for some time now, and to be honest, we were hard-pressed to find a partner that met our company’s specifications for taste, quality and tracking. After many taste tests, research and phone calls, we were introduced to Estancia, with ranches predominately in Argentina and Uruguay. Fitting, isn’t it, that our very namesake “El Gaucho” refers to the horsemen who roamed the Pampas (open plain) in Argentina?

Just as with our domestic partners, the Estancia mission is to provide the best tasting beef, and that means coming from the best cattle ground – not a feedlot. Estancia’s beef program is completely transparent from pasture to plate, working with ranchers to produce animals of the highest quality, raised in the healthiest manner that is sustainable and good for the environment (yes, a natural process, so it’s good for the environment!). Just like “terroir” refers to wine having a sense of place, so are grass-fed cattle raised in free-roaming areas with plenty of water, eating nutrient-rich soil and plenty of space to graze. This produces great tasting beef.

In addition to the taste, health, and safety profile of Estancia Beef, every steak produced can be tracked back to the box, plant, ranch, and steer it came from. This process results in one of the most advanced traceability systems in the world. Estancia meets all USDA “Natural”, “Grass Fed”, and “Free Range” Protocols.

We currently offer Estancia grass-fed filet on our menu, and is also included as an option on our new Iconic El Gaucho Experience menu, launching this Sunday at all El Gaucho locations.


We also proudly offer the first 28-day dry-aged Kosher Certified Angus Beef® steak in the country. We do not operate a kosher kitchen, but we have many guest requests for a Kosher steak option, and we now proudly offer a bone-in Rib Chop, certified Kosher, with just a two-day notice upon reservation. Our Kosher bone-in Rib Chop is served with a bordelaise sauce.

Want to wow your guests? Try Imperial Wagyu beef

While our steaks are the best that can be found, we listened to our guests to offer an occasional “splurge” item – something truly special with a “Wow!” factor. Our answer? Wagyu – which literally translates to “Japanese cow,” and is known for its marbling characteristics and quality.

We are proud to partner with Imperial Wagyu, the first certified Wagyu beef brand in the U.S. Like our beef partners Niman Ranch, Certified Angus Beef®and Estancia, Imperial Wagyu cattle genetics are meticulously tracked and maintained, and are the backbone to creating this extraordinary beef. Of all the beef raised in the U.S., only .008% meets Imperial Wagyu designation standards, which is why it demands a high price.

Because of its breeding and abundant marbling, Wagyu is graded using the Japanese Beef Marbling Standards Scale as a guide instead of the USDA Grading Scale. The Imperial Wagyu we offer consistently reaches a 10+ rating – the highest grade rating given on the Japanese scale, and even higher than Prime grade on the USDA quality scale (the highest grade given). As a comparison, USDA Prime rates as a 5 thru 7 on the Japanese Beef Marbling Standards Scale.

Just like our other beef partners, Imperial Wagyu are fed only all-vegetarian diets and are never given growth hormones, stimulants, or other antibiotics. They are grain fed for over 400 days which promotes the even, high-marbled, and smooth texture, creating the characteristics for which Wagyu is known.

We offer Imperial Wagyu NY strip loin and Tomahawk on our fresh sheet periodically. Since Wagyu is so rich, it’s a great item to share.

Since opening our doors, our mission is simply to find the best for our patrons and guests to enjoy: no excuses and no compromise. This is why relationships with our key partners are paramount. We will not settle for anything less than the best, and our family of restaurants constantly works to bring you the finest the world has to offer. Bon appétit!


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