El Gaucho Hospitality was founded on seven key “pillars,” which continue to drive our company forward today. One of those pillars, “building a strong community,” encompasses many groups, two of which include employees and our guests.
“ReImagine,” is our company theme this year, and our President and COO, Chad Mackay, asked each restaurant to brainstorm ideas regarding deconstructing and rebuilding the entire El Gaucho Hospitality experience for our guests, our fellow coworkers, and the community. Over 14 pages of ideas were generated, one of which was to create Guest Advisory Boards for each property, in order to engage with key guests who fully believe in our mission, and encourage our continued success. We consider it an honor that 60 community members and our guests – 12 for each location – accepted our invitation to participate on our board for a two year term.
The first Guest Advisory Boards gathered last month, and each proved to be unique, energetic, with lots of commentary and ideas. Some of the feedback included the ability to offer special and very high-end on our menus, simply because sometimes an occasion calls for a “splurge:” something just a little more special than what we already offer.
Sourcing for that “something special” started immediately, and we quickly discovered Imperial Wagyu beef. “Similar to Niman Ranch and Certified Angus Beef®, (our beef partners) their standards are extremely high, and this incredible beef pleases both American and foreign tastes,” explains Chad.
Wagyu literally translates to “Japanese cow,” is known for its marbling characteristics and quality, and it demands a high price. In several areas of Japan, beef is shipped with area names from which it comes: examples of Wagyu include Kobe, Mishima, and Matsusaka beef.
Imperial is a cooperative of seven farmers in the U.S., which happens to be the first certified Wagyu beef brand in the U.S. Like our beef partners Niman Ranch and Certified Angus beef®, Imperial Wagyu cattle genetics are meticulously tracked and maintained, and are the backbone to creating this extraordinary beef: the Wagyu are paired with Angus to produce offspring that combine the best of both breeds. Of all the beef raised in the U.S., only .008% meets Imperial Wagyu designation standards.
Wagyu is graded on the Japanese Beef Marbling Standards Scale instead of the USDA Grading Scale, because of the genetics. The Imperial Wagyu is consistently a 10-12 rating – the highest grade rating given on the Japanese scale, and even higher than the Prime grade on the USDA quality scale (the highest grade given). As a comparison, USDA Prime rates as a 7 on the Japanese Beef Marbling Standards Scale.
Also like Niman Ranch cattle, 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 (that’s over a year!), which promotes the even, high-marbled, and smooth texture, creating the characteristics for which Wagyu is known. Research has shown that Wagyu beef naturally has more Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids than traditional beef, because the cattle are fed slowly, over long periods of time.
We are proud to offer this incredible Wagyu as a NY strip steak, which is aged a total of 28 days: 3 weeks wet-aged, and 1-week dry-aged (all of El Gaucho’s beef is dry-aged for 28 days).
“The beef is very rich, and we recommend it be shared, which is why it’s on our starter menu as an 8-10 oz. appetizer,” Chad explains.
Are your taste buds ready for a savory, melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu experience? It will be available in all El Gaucho Hospitality restaurants Friday, September 6th. We look forward to seeing you!