BLT Steak’s New Wagyu Offerings and Flights Are Worth the Splurge

By Rina Rapuano  |  June 11, 2014

When chef Jeremy Shelton took over the kitchen at the tony BLT Steak downtown, he mentioned right off the bat that he intended to significantly beef up the steakhouse’s wagyu presence on the menu.

“The first and most immediate change that we’re working on right now is the wagyu program, expanding that and making it a broader price range of availability so you don’t feel like you have to spend $80 or $90 for it,” he told us back in early December. “We’re still playing around with different cuts and looking for something that can be sold at around $45.”

Well, Shelton can check that goal off his list. The restaurant has quadrupled its wagyu offerings, with 10 ounces of American wagyu skirt steak going for $55 on the low end of the price list. The most expensive is the Japanese A-5 wagyu striploin, which sells for $25 per ounce at a 4-ounce minimum.

Before we go much further, perhaps we should offer a quick primer on the wagyu designation. The American Wagyu Association describes it thusly: “Wagyu - a Japanese beef cattle breed - derive from native Asian cattle. … Wagyu were originally draft animals used in agriculture, and were selected for their physical endurance. This selection favored animals with more intra-muscular fat cells - “marbling” - which provided a readily available energy source.”

As you can imagine, that marbling also makes for a seriously delicious steak, and A-5 is the highest grade the meat can achieve. Shelton sources his A-5 exclusively from Miyazaki, Japan
 - a place he says is surpassing the more famous Kobe in quality.

In addition to these a la carte cuts on the regular menu, Shelton is offering flights of three or five (pictured above) different cuts of wagyu on the restaurant’s nightly specials Blackboard Menu ranging in price from $95-$150, depending on the cuts. Shelton says so far they are selling three to four flights per night. “Our goal is to get people to try as much as possible,” he says.

And while we wouldn't exactly call it cheap, we can attest to the fact that it's a splurge that won't disappoint.

1625 I St. NW; 202-689-8989