Chaya A-5 Wagyu Tasting Menu
Until the end of April, all three Chaya locations (Venice, DTLA, and San Francisco) are having a special A-5 Wagyu Tasting Menu. The menu differs at each location, so check them out individually. I was fortunately enough to be invited to try three of the dishes at Chaya Venice last week.
The first dish I tried was a Wagyu Tartare–each location has a version of this dish–here served on “chips” made of tempura nori. There was a great contrast between the crispy seaweed and the rich, coarse-chopped raw beef.
The second dish was a Wagyu Donburi, with organic brown rice, Jidori egg, and crispy kale and brussels sprouts, again for textural contrast. The barely seared wagyu beef was cut in strips, but was so tender it broke up into bite-sized chunks as we mixed the egg and the other ingredients together. (DLTA’s version is served in a sizzling hot stone bowl, like a dolsot bibimbap in Korean cuisine.)
The last dish from Chaya’s A-5 Wagyu Tasting Menu that I got to sample was Soy-Braised Wagyu & Mascarpone Ravioli. I believe this one is exclusive to Chaya Venice. Honest, I can’t remember if the ravioli filling was just mascarpone, or if it had the beef in it too. The reason I can’t recall is because the pasta is also topped with slices of rare-medium-rare wagyu, which stole the show from the ravioli. But I’m not complaining. I particularly liked that the tomatoes were roasted and a bit blistered–the acidity really cut through the richness of the beef.
I haven’t had much wagyu in my life–can probably count the number of ounces of A-5 on my two hands–but it lives up to the hype. The meat is tender, juicy, marbled with fat, and full of flavor. Thanks to Chaya Venice for inviting me to sample the A-5 Wagyu Tasting Menu, available until April 30th! I’ll close with an alternate shot of the Wagyu Donburi.