A lot of people ask me, "Joe, what's your favorite steak?"
I'll actually never be able to answer that question as I'm still, and will always be, in search of the perfect steak, but I will say this: If there were no constraints around availability or price, my go-to steak would be an A3 or A4 Olive Wagyu striploin (New York Steak). That would be my default pick.
Simply put, since A4 is slightly less fatty than A5, I can eat more of it. It's an experience and a meal. And because of the unique characteristics of Olive Wagyu ― higher levels of oleic and glutamic acids (heart-healthy fatty acids that boosts the umami flavor) ― it provides a flavor profile and mouthfeel that is unique, and with less fat overall, a more beefy flavor that I like. It provides that melt-in-your-mouth experience, and is, in a word, delicious.
Make no mistake: A4 marks an exceptional level and quality of marbling that is high enough to qualify Kobe Beef for its brand mark in Japan. It's extraordinary.
But as I've written about before, in my view, we as Americans tend to obsess over the extremes of any given thing, and for Japanese Wagyu that's A5 BMS 12. Truth be told, beef like that is as much a work of art as it is a food. In fact, it's more of an experience than a meal. With A3 or A4 I can enjoy the meal and the experience too.
When I'm in Japan, I end up eating a lot of A5 Wagyu ― because it's the highest grade available, and farmers and chefs alike want to put their best feet forward. I'm grateful to be able to sample as much of it as I'm given the chance to, however, when I ask people in Japan how often then enjoy A5 Wagyu, most will say "less than one time per year." It truly is a bucket list style special occasion food. (Again this is for most people ― I definitely know a lot of people who enjoy it weekly as well.)
For me, if I'm on my own dime, and I want to put Japanese Wagyu at the center of my meal, A3 or A4 Olive Wagyu is where it's at. All of the mouthfeel, umami flavor, tenderness, with the oliec acid healthy fats and exceptional flavor that only Olive Wagyu can provide ― in a meal that puts the steak front and center to statisfy my hunger.
It also helps to appreciate that Olive Wagyu is so rare it's basically unattainable. The world's rarest steak. That always makes a meal more special.
Enjoy some photos of A4 Olive Wagyu:
A4 Olive Wagyu Striploin (New York Steaks) on Crowd Cow
A4 Olive Wagyu Tenderloin on Crowd Cow