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In our poll, Midwestern beef-and-potatoes ranked as the most popular American cuisine. But these days, some of that beef has a Japanese pedigree, as more and more American ranchers are raising Wagyu cattle, the breed that produces Japan's famously expensive Kobe beef. Though American Wagyu cows and steers aren't massaged, as their Japanese kin have traditionally been, they produce extremely tender, marbled beef—at a lower cost. At San Francisco's Boulevard, chef Nancy Oakes features Wagyu meat from Idaho's Snake River Farms in her braised short ribs and her beef cheeks with mustard glaze. At New York City's Patroon, chef John Villa uses Wagyu beef to make a hefty, delicious hamburger.

—Janet Ho

Published August 2003
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