Friday night was the 3rd edition of Hundred Bar & Kitchen's alley burgers. Chef Cowan spread the good news that burgers would be served at 10:00 via twitter...and he hinted that they might be kobe burgers. We met some friends for a drink at Sherlock Holmes pub and had the perfect view of the alley (to monitor the line-up). The line-up started forming at around 9:15 so we headed over shortly after, and there were probably 15 people ahead of us. I was sooo glad that the weather was decent on Friday night. For the second edition of alley burgers the temperature was freezing! I'm not sure how many burgers were up for grabs, but I know that the "burger tokens" ran out before the end of the line, which is too bad.
The rumors were true...the chefs at 100 served a delicious kobe beef burger. It was a gourmet take on the classic mushroom & cheese, with a sharp white cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce and mayo on top of a juicy, tender patty (100% beef). It was really, really good...the flavours were fantastic. I especially loved the mushrooms, I could have eaten a big bowl of those, all on their own. My burger was a little more on the rare side than I would have liked, but that didn't stop me from eating it all.
This was my first ever kobe beef burger. I've got to admit, I was never interested in trying one in the past because it just didn't make a lot of sense to me. To my understanding, kobe beef is special because of the high percentage of marbled fat in the meat, making it tender and delicious when cooked. So it seems like kind-of a waste to grind it up, rather than eating it as a steak where the quality should be readily apparent. I looked into to it a bit more and online opinions were mixed. Some felt that the kobe beef burger wasn't significantly different from a well prepared regular-old-beef-burger, others felt that a kobe beef burger has a richer, meatier flavour. So what did I think? I noticed that the burger was juicy and rich (from all the extra fat) and the flavour was good, but I think the chefs at Hundred Bar & Kitchen can make an equally delicious burger without kobe beef. In fact, my favorite burger so far was from the first alley burger, with a beef patty cooked in duck fat.
Interested in learning a little more about locally produced wagyu/kobe beef? Check out Wagyu Canada Inc. in Camrose.