Americans eager to taste the exquisite marbling of Kobe beef might find that the odds are stacked against them — unless they’re in Las Vegas, in which case they’ve hit the jackpot. Only 10 percent of certified Kobe beef is exported outside of Japan, and of that small percentage, an impressive amount lands in Las Vegas.
So what exactly is Kobe beef and why is it priced at around $50 an ounce? Kobe beef comes from black Tajima cattle raised in the Hyogo Prefecture region of Japan. Contrary to popular myths, the cattle don’t owe their excellently marbled meat to a diet of beer and a life of massages and music, though that doesn’t stop the occasional farmer from offering up a massage every now and then just to be sure. The beef is naturally marbled, and it must pass rigorous testing to be considered certified Kobe beef.
Diners who’d like to indulge in the splendor of Kobe beef should accept no substitutes. The real thing can be found at these Las Vegas restaurants.
Kobe beef along the Lake of Dreams
SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas was the first restaurant in the city to offer certified Kobe beef. Diners can savor it in an open-air setting while watching nightly shows on the Wynn’s own Lake of Dreams. Chef David Walzog serves Kobe beef in a choice of tenderloin, New York strip, rib-eye steak, or rib cap at a four-ounce minimum for $220.
SW Steakhouse, Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-770-3325
Stylish dining and certified Kobe
Located inside Aria, Jean George Steakhouse is the embodiment of classic American steakhouse meets Las Vegas style. Here, Kobe beef is available in three-, six-, and nine-ounce portions at market price. Appropriately luxurious accompaniments include bone marrow, foie gras, and lobster tail.
Jean Georges Steakhouse, Aria, 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-590-8660
A taste of Kobe on the north end of the Strip
Since opening in 2014, Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at SLS Las Vegas has been heralded as an epicenter of meat on the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard. The steakhouse serves everything from wild boar sausage and suckling pig to certified Kobe beef at $50 per ounce. The rib-eye cut is presented with mustard frill salad and fresh wasabi.
Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, SLS Las Vegas, 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-761-7610
Kobe beef and fountain views
A nine ounce cut of the most coveted beef in the world and a table overlooking the Fountains at Bellagio; does it get more decadent than that? At Prime Steakhouse inside the Bellagio, Kobe filets, New York strip steaks, and rib-eye steaks are available in six-ounce, nine-ounce, and 12-ounce portions priced at $330, $495, and $660 respectively. The iconic views and extensive list of California red wine make the meal even more memorable.
Prime Steakhouse, Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-693-8865
Whisky and Kobe at the Palms
Named after the venerable Las Vegas neighborhood a few miles north, Scotch 80 Prime at the Palms is the latest restaurant to serve Kobe beef. Strip loins of the perfectly marbled meat are available at $49 per ounce with a four-ounce minimum. The restaurant is also known for its $3 million whisky collection and table-side cocktail cart experience.
Scotch 80 Prime, Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road; 702-942-7777