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8 Popular Steakhouse Chain Wagyu Beef Steaks Ranked From Worst To Best, According To Reviews

A piece of wagyu steak
A piece of wagyu steak - Al Gonzalez/Getty Images

The first wagyu cattle were imported to the United States in 1976, when wagyu beef was relatively rare. Despite their superior genetics, these bulls had little impact on the American beef market. It was only in the 1990s, after many more animals had been imported, that the American public began to actively seek out wagyu beef.

Today, wagyu is such a potent culinary trend that it has irked the likes of Gordon Ramsay. The reason for this popularity is simple: High levels of intramuscular fat, known as marbling, ensure the beef has both exquisite flavor and incredibly tender texture. Such high demand has seen the once ultra-rare wagyu steak pop up in Costco and an ever-increasing amount of steakhouses chains. These spots get their hands on it by either importing it from Japan and Australia or by sourcing it from the 40,000-strong population of American wagyu cattle.

As with any product, the quality of wagyu steak varies. This is especially true when chain restaurants enter the mix. We've ranked eight wagyu steaks served by steakhouse chains across the U.S. This ranking is based on a variety of factors, including how the steaks have been reviewed and where the meat is sourced from. You can read more on the methodology at the bottom of the article. Until then, let's dig into some steakhouse chain wagyu steaks.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

8. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

Japanese A5 wagyu steak pieces
Japanese A5 wagyu steak pieces - MariaElena Jordan/YouTube

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse has a history of serving excellent steaks, including a much celebrated 45-day dry-aged ribeye. In the past, the steakhouse chain even served an American wagyu long-bone ribeye that many people, both amateur eaters and critics alike, deemed the best steak they'd ever had. Unfortunately, this widely enjoyed steak is no longer served by the chain. In its place, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse now offers a Japanese A5 Wagyu Steak. Two sizes are available: a 3 ounce portion that costs $80 and a 6 ounce portion that costs $160.

There is no information regarding what cut this wagyu steak comes from. Nor is there any information regarding which supplier they sourced the meat from, or where in Japan the animal was reared. These glaring omissions mean Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse has to rank at the bottom of our list. This is a shame, especially as the steak itself is of A5 quality, the highest grade wagyu can receive.

7. 801 Chophouse

A wagyu tomahawk steak
A wagyu tomahawk steak - 801chophousestl/Instagram

801 Chophouse is a small chain of seven luxurious steakhouses. It distinguishes itself from other establishments by only sourcing the highest quality beef. In terms of wagyu, this means that 801 Chophouse works with renowned suppliers of both domestic and imported wagyu. The Denver location, for example, serves an American wagyu ribeye that's sourced from Rosewood Ranches, a company that supplies several world class restaurants, including Austin's Uchi. Other locations offer wagyu sourced from Japan's famed Miyazaki Prefecture and Snake River Farms, a leading domestic wagyu supplier. The brand is also known to do limited wagyu releases; the St. Louis branch previously served an enormous 50-ounce Kuroge Washu tomahawk.

Each of the wagyu steaks served by 801 Chophouse are lauded by customers. However, the American wagyu ribeye that's served in the Denver location is a firm favorite of local critics. This should not come as a surprise; the wagyu ribeye is incredibly flavorful thanks to the high levels of marbling present throughout the steak. Unfortunately, this particular steak cannot rank higher on our list because it has not been widely reviewed by professional critics. Be that as it may, the American wagyu ribeye remains an exceptional steak.

6. Morton's The Steakhouse

Morton's wagyu filet steak
Morton's wagyu filet steak - CoopMurcielago/X, formerly known as Twitter

Morton's The Steakhouse is a much-respected steakhouse chain that has locations across the United States and abroad. In its North American establishments, Morton's serves two dishes that feature wagyu: a wagyu meatball appetizer and a 7-ounce wagyu filet steak. This steak is often served alongside a poblano chili butter that's spiced with cumin. Surprisingly, professional critics have noted that this highly flavorful butter complements the lean cut of meat very well. The filet is also celebrated for its texture, with critics stating that it is extremely tender.

In an interview with The Daily Meal, Snake River Farms' director of marketing, Dave Yasuda, highlighted how the ultimate test of wagyu is its taste. Morton's obviously agrees; it has a history of sourcing its wagyu from Snake River Farms. Currently, the steakhouse's meatballs are made with wagyu sourced from this Boise company. Unfortunately, the steakhouse chain provides no sourcing information regarding the filet. The lack of information about this $72 steak is a great shame and the main reason why Morton's The Steakhouse's wagyu filet does not rank higher on our list.

5. Urban Farmer

Wagyu New York strip
Wagyu New York strip - khana.chocolate/Instagram

Urban Farmer is one of the smallest chains on our list; it has only three restaurants to its name, located in Denver, Philadelphia, and Portland. Each of these locations serves a 12-ounce New York strip wagyu steak, sourced from a different supplier. The Denver location sources wagyu from Strube Ranch in Texas, the Philadelphia location sources it from Queensland, Australia, and the Portland location sources it from Rosewood Ranch in Texas. At each of these locations, a 6-ounce portion of the wagyu steak is also available as an addition to the New York Steak Tasting flight.

Regardless of which location it's ordered from, the wagyu steak is a highlight of customers' experiences at Urban Farmer, whether it's added to the steak flight or eaten as an entrée in its own right. Unfortunately, a dearth of professional reviews mean the wagyu steaks served at Urban Farmer cannot rank higher on our list.

4. Rare Society

Raw wagyu tri tips
Raw wagyu tri tips - travcooksfood/Instagram

Rare Society is another small steakhouse chain, boasting six locations. What the chain lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. This is thanks to the chain sourcing its beef from several of the United States' most respected suppliers. Both of the wagyu steaks served at Rare Society -- a 10-ounce tri-tip and an 8-ounce Denver strip -- are sourced from Snake River Farms, and offer customers an opportunity to sample less common cuts of wagyu. As chef Brad Wise highlighted to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "The idea is to expose people to pieces of meat that they may not be all that familiar with." Although unfamiliar, these steaks have proved popular.

As with any wagyu steak, the Denver strip and the tri-tip are both packed with flavor and have a far superior texture to any other steak offered at Rare Society. For these reasons, customers and critics alike laud their quality. They also enjoy that the rich wagyu steaks can be ordered as part of the restaurant's sharing boards; a clever way to make these intense -- and lesser known -- cuts that much more approachable.

3. Steak 48

Australian wagyu at Steak 48
Australian wagyu at Steak 48 - DMFrank_/X, formerly known as Twitter

Steak 48 prides itself on being a contemporary steakhouse chain, and it makes a point of incorporating wagyu into its menu. Across its restaurants, it currently serves two different kinds of imported wagyu: A 3-ounce portion of A5 Miyazaki wagyu priced at $120, and both 8 and 12-ounce servings of Australian Tajima wagyu, sold at market price. Both of these steaks are cooked in a broiler heated to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit, giving them a delightfully crisp, dark crust.

While preparation is vitally important, a great deal of Steak 48's appeal is due to the high quality of the steaks themselves. This is especially true of the Tajima wagyu, a breed that is known for its immense marbling. This is a terrific steak that, thanks to the chain's expert cooking processes, perfectly demonstrates the meat's many fine qualities. All in all, this is a solid steakhouse chain wagyu steak that deserves a top three slot in this article.

2. Fogo De Chão

Wagyu New York strip
Wagyu New York strip - Exisco/X, formerly known as Twitter

The vast majority of diners who visit Fogo de Chão opt to partake in the chain's famous Churrasco Experience. However, Fogo de Chão's two wagyu steaks, a 24-ounce ribeye and a 20-ounce New York Strip, are only available as enhancements to the experience and aren't offered around the entire dining room as the chain's other steaks are.

Given that Fogo de Chão serves an array of high quality meats in its Churrasco Experience, many customers will wonder whether ordering additional steaks, especially expensive wagyu steaks, is worth it. The answer is yes, they are. Professional critics have called the New York strip the best steak they have ever had and have repeatedly noted its incredibly rich, deep flavor.

During the tail end of 2023, Fogo de Chão announced the release of a new wagyu steak, a 30-ounce porterhouse. Speaking to Eat This, Not That!, Antonio Iocchi, senior vice president of global food and beverage innovation at Fogo de Chão, said, "The quality of this product is amazing ... It is definitely the highest-quality offering that we have." Critics have been quick to celebrate the steak, suggesting it's one of the best widely-available wagyu steaks around. As a result, we rank both Fogo de Chão's wagyu porterhouse and its New York strip as two of the best wagyu steaks served at steakhouse chains.

1. Smith & Wollensky

Wagyu tomahawk being sliced
Wagyu tomahawk being sliced - DanVsWorld/YouTube

Smith & Wollensky is one of the best high-end steakhouse chains in America. This means it's no surprise that it boasts six wagyu steaks on its menu. Among the most impressive of these is the 44-ounce Swinging Tomahawk ribeye, a sharing steak that's carved tableside.

This $240 steak delivers, both in terms of appearance and substance. The carving process is highly theatrical and involves the tomahawk being torched tableside. Thankfully, this does not detract from the flavor. In fact, it helps develop a nice crust on the steak. Critics claim the interior of the steak is incredibly juicy and boasts the unmistakable flavor of high quality wagyu. Numerous reviews not only celebrate the dish's flavor and texture, but also its presentation; once carved, the tomahawk bone hangs from a specially-designed rack and steadily drips its juices onto the food below.

Given the meat's quality, few people will be surprised to learn that the wagyu served by Smith & Wollensky is sourced from Snake River Farms. This means customers know their steak not only tastes good, but has been raised using humane, organic processes. As such, we have no hesitation in naming Smith & Wollensky's Swinging Tomahawk ribeye as the best wagyu steak served by a steakhouse chain in the United States.

Methodology

Wagyu steak on grill
Wagyu steak on grill - Nishihama/Shutterstock

The order in which these wagyu steaks are ranked was determined by a number of factors. Firstly, we took into account the reputation of the supplier. If the wagyu came from a celebrated wagyu supplier, the steaks were ranked higher. Secondly, we examined a number of reviews for each steak from both professional and amateur critics alike. The better a steak was reviewed, the higher it ranked on our list. Finally, in instances where reviews or sourcing information were limited, the steaks were still included, albeit towards the bottom of our list.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.