Perhaps of all the dining styles and restaurant formats that get bandied around, the term steakhouse is the one most loaded with the most pre-conceptions. Portion sizes erring on the side of gluttonous, mountains of side dishes, and customers in stretchy waistband pants. Obviously, there is a time and a place for such dining options, they are after all an American staple but the team behind a new Beverly Hills steak restaurant is adamant about where they fit into the big picture. A steakhouse this is not.
The newly opened Matū offers only 100%, grass-fed, Wagyu beef, mainly as a multiple-course, tasting menu, in itself a nod to the traditional omakase approach, so that their diners are able to try and savor many different cuts, prepared and served in a variety of ways rather than just one, large, singular option.
The beef is sourced from New Zealand’s sustainable and regenerative First Light Farm’s and co-founder and investor, Jerry Greenberg, has been happy to go on record as saying that it’s the best beef he’s ever eaten, both professionally and personally. “It’s grass-fed, so it’s clean in the mouth, but it’s Wagyu so it has marbling and a great, beefy natural taste to it,” he says. “Marbled, grass-fed beef is almost unheard of. It’s more healthful and your body can feel it. You don’t have that heavy feeling after you leave.”
At the heart of the menu is a five-course Wagyu Dinner which changes to some degree from day-to-day. Include are dishes such as rich and luxurious beef broth made by gently simmering Wagyu bones for a whole day, delicacies such as tenderloin carpaccio, ribeye cooked over an authentic, wood fire, and eight-hour braised beef cheeks. Every course is paired with a deft and delicate choice of vegetables such as maitake mushrooms or broccolini and each diner can expect to have been served a total of around 12 to 14 ounces of beef by the time they leave the table. And because of the open nature of the 60-seat dining room, an open window providing a clear view into the kitchen showcases the whole process.
Although there has been an understandable delay in the opening of the restaurant, because there was disruption to the business’s supply chain, however, the chefs were able to use this extra time to fully experiment with a wide range of cooking techniques from open flame to braising to a la plancha and much more besides.
“Certainly, we didn’t invent cooking steak, but we looked at all the methods and came up with our own approach,” says Jerry Greenberg. Their approach involves a careful tempering of the meat, searing it over high, direct heat, and finishing it off in a pan or oven. The aim is to offer steak with a surprising texture and flavor…but that still feels part of the United States steak tradition. The experience shouldn’t feel alien or exotic but uses the best ingredients and techniques to take it to new culinary heights.
And in an ever-more ecologically minded world, they also have an eye on sustainability and environmental responsibility. Whilst many chefs are advocating Veganism as the way forward, Matū, obviously, takes a different route. But their choices are still driven by the concerns of the natural world and they pride themselves in offering meat that is both healthy and sustainable.
As Jerry Greenberg puts it, “We don’t feel like we need to sell people on beef, but if you’re going to have beef, have great beef. It’s a good choice.”