It's the time of year when mouth-watering smells from smoking barbecues filter in through open windows. As the sun sets, summer tunes drifts out from front yards, and boats pull up to the docks while the grill heats up for dinner.
What's better than a charred summer steak and a cold beverage? Well, perhaps a charred Wagyu or Kobe steak, to be specific. While not all of us have had the opportunity to sink our teeth into the world's most expensive Wagyu steaks - of which Kobe is one elite sort - there are plenty of beef cuts out there that would put a serious dent in your wallet, and force you to begin a kickstarter campaign for your weekend get-together. Why so seriously expensive? The Japanese cattle from whence these expensive steaks come are the most pampered in the world, and rumour has it that they even hit the cow spa for a massage every once in a while. They eat only rice, maize and barley and drink pure filtered water. The lifestyle is designed so that their meat passes strict codes and guidelines for weight, lineage and marbling to be considered Kobe quality. It's all very first-world cow problems. But the result is melt in your mouth beef cuts layered with fat that can be so pale when raw it takes on a whitish hue.
While you may not be able to afford the cow meat on this list, you can still grill up some of the slightly more chewy budget sirloin. Jam them through with branches and explain to guests that this was how the Saxons did it - their original term "steik" refers to meat on a stick. Of course, the following 10 most expensive steaks in the world have come a long way from the meat on a steak trend.
10 Wagyu Kobe Rib Eye Cheesesteak — $100
The Barclay Prime in Philadelphia starts off this list of high-end steak delights with a spin on the classic cheesesteak. Wagyu rib-eye is cut with foie gras and sprinkled with truffles, cheese, caramelized onions, heirloom shaved tomatoes and a homemade brioche roll. This inspiring sandwich is topped with a glass of Dom Perignon 2000. Now that's one high-rolling casual dish that could win just about any girl over on a dinner date, with its delicious creativity and charming pairing.
9 Wagyu Tomahawk - $109
The Wagyu Tomahawk steak is not for the faint of heart, and looks like a meat-weapon on the plate, served up from a Rhode Island restaurant for $109. The Providence started to serve the steak about two years ago but if you look for it on the menu it won't be there. According to the restaurant manager it's only served a la carte, for people to spot as it passes through the dining room on a platter. The novelty of the rib eye, with its 22 ounces Frenched off the bone to look like an axe, weighs no less than 30 ounces. While the restaurant was originally worried that the price would put customers off, the opposite has proven true - the dish is ordered 30-40 times a week. Sometimes expensive meat is just worth it, especially when it's served caveman style.
8 Wagyu No Sumibiyaki - $139
Zuma restaurant in London, UK offers Japanese sushi barbecue in a fine-dining atmosphere, and on the menu is their Wagyu No Sumibiyaki. It's a charcoal-grilled rib eye served with citrus based daikon ponzu sauce. The restaurant, located in the Dubai International Finance Centre, is not for casual diners - and neither, seemingly, is this world-renowned steak. But according to the restaurants reviews this premium cut with its haute-couture presentation is worth every penny.
7 Japanese Wagyu Rib Eye - $144
This Wagyu rib-eye clocks in at 8-ounces for $144, at Beverly Hills' Cut restaurant. As renowned chef Wolfgang Puck's baby, you know the meat is going to be good - indeed, the Wagyu is a highlight on the menu. The meat is so tender you barely need to cut a knife through it, according to one happy reviewer. While it's apparent that the Wagyu is the star of the show here, the restaurant offers up regular New York strip steaks that are just as popular. 'Cut' has been rated one of the best steakhouses in America by Forbes magazine.
6 Wagyu Kobe Steak - $144
Nobu, in Dallas, offers up a priced-by-ounce Wagyu Kobe steak that starts at $144 bucks for six ounces. Steak eaters get to cook the steaks themselves however they desire, at tableside grills. At this price, you'll want to have some experience with the tongs. The tender, juicy cuts come with seasonal veggies and a variety of dipping sauces for extra pizzazz - though with a meat priced for its superb marble, you probably won't want to squirt ketchup on this masterpiece.
5 Wagyu Sirloin - $169
You'll have to travel to Dubai for a 10.5 ounce Wagyu sirloin that clocks in at just under 200 bucks. The Al Muntaha Restaurant offers European cuisine and sits at 700 feet above sea level in the city's Burj Al Arab hotel, boasting floor to ceiling windows with cityscape and ocean views as luxurious as their plates of meat. Besides the sizzling sirloin, the restaurant also serves up hand cut Wagyu tartare, for an entirely less filling but equally sensational taste experience.
4 Select Special Kobe Filet - $246
You too can eat like a sumo wrestler if you've got your charge card handy. The Kobe Renga-Tei Steak Restaurant in Kobe, Japan ought to be on this list, as the home of the famous type of Wagyu beef. With the 5.6 ounce filet prepared in its all-female kitchen for a "comfort factor," the steak also comes with a salmon, salad and dessert - perhaps for easier justification of the price tag. The secret to their cooking is a fine Japanese paper that covers the steak before resting on a copper and iron grill. Apparently, this style is reminiscent of the professional sumo wrestlers' way of grilling wild boar back in the day - during the Edo era 200 years ago. The steak is then served in traditional pottery to add to the ceremony of this fancy cultural feast.
3 Charbroiled Kobe Filet - $258
We're staying in Japan for the next price up. This 8-ounce steak is served at Aragawa restaurant, in Tokyo. The eatery is known for its high-end ingredients. The simple decor is reflected in their servings; the chefs minimalistically season this expensive cut of meat with only mustard and pepper, to highlight the main flavours already present in the beef. Forbes has listed Aragawa as the place to eat with caution: The tab usually ends up at an average of $370 per person.
2 Fullblood Wagyu Tenderloin - $295
Prime restaurant in Sydney, Australia serves up their whopping 14.1 Wagyu tenderloin that has a marbling score of 9+. In laymen's terms this basically means it's got a whole lot of tender, succulent fat. The meat from this cut was originally found on cows that are grain fed for 600 days. Exactly. It is currently the highest scored Wagyu meat available outside of Japan. The cattle are raised in Alexandra, Victoria by David Blackmore, Australia's award-winning Wagyu producer, and his meat is sold only to Prime. Who else wants to buy that long-desired ticket to Australia now? Destination: Sydney, please.
1 A5 Kobe Strip Steak - $350
The Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York, NY, serves up a 12-ounce Kobe strip steak Big Apple style. These are popular menu items despite the dollar figure - the restaurant serves up to 25 of these steaks a night. In what might be too-much-information, the cows are restricted from grazing so that they develop fat over muscle (no free-range here, unfortunately) but the result is a meat so tender it basically melts on your tongue. The cows do get massages though, according to those rumours, so it can't be all that bad...