On the menu: put the swag in Wagyu at Pacific Beach

Chef Steve Brown, creator/owner of the sizzling brand Swagyu, recently added flagship restaurant Pacific Beach Swagyu to his collection.

The brand includes Swagyu Chop Shops (butchers for online ordering and pickup), burger shops and gourmet steakhouses offering 12-course tasting menus. They can be found scattered around San Diego County.

Now, its Pacific Beach location incorporates all of its carnivorous concepts.

Through serendipity and skill, Brown, trained at Le Cordon Bleu and a chef for more than two decades, immersed himself in the exclusive and privileged world of Japanese Wagyu beef, turning moo into moola.

Chef Steve Brown, creator/owner of Swagyu, with Chef James Montejano at Swagyu Pacific Beach.

(J.Dixx Photography)

Winning a culinary competition several years ago at a Del Mar KAABOO concert sponsored by a Wagyu distributor and importer gave Brown a break into the elite industry. He quickly became known as the Designated Wagyu Chef, currently one of only 23 in the country certified by the Japanese government to sell Hyogo Kobe, the most coveted type of Wagyu beef.

The “A5” symbol, which is Wagyu’s official highest ranking, boldly tattooed on Brown’s right forearm, clearly reflects his dedication to his craft.

He shares this passion for exotic and sought-after meat during stimulating tutorials that are part of the tasting menu dinners. Like the sexy speakeasies of the Roaring 20s, Brown hosts these private events in an intimate, back room “study room” adorned with a 20-foot-long handmade redwood table where the 12-foot progression begins. Wagyu tasting dishes.

Want to visit?

Swagyu Pacific Beach

Address: 966 Felspar Street, Pacific Beach

Call: 858-352-6634

Website: swagyuchopshop.com

Hours: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (lunch) and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (dinner).

Saturday and Sunday — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (brunch), 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (lunch) and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (dinner).

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Each course incorporates a form of Wagyu, whether it is the American, Australian or Japanese versions. The chef explains to the guests that the first two are a diluted cross of the Asian thoroughbred Wagyu. Since the Japanese hold genetics close to the vest, they follow strict regulations prohibiting the export of their cattle, but still allow the implantation of Wagyu semen into Angus cows producing an F1 generation sharing exquisite genes from the Tajima (breed Japanese Wagyu beef).

Brown then enlightens guests on the lineage and lifestyle of the Japanese cow (which literally translates to “Wagyu”), living in a low-stress, pampered environment for nearly three years (an eternity compared to the Angus cattle that are slaughtered around their first birthday). They are fed a high-energy, carbohydrate-rich diet, including molasses and leftover rice used in fermenting sake to achieve naturally marbled, flavorful meat.

“It’s a craft thing, like making great wine, a unique, labor-intensive process,” Brown said. “There’s real science behind it.”

According to Brown, “The Steak House menu offers the widest variety of American, Australian and Japanese Wagyu in the world.”

Although “it’s all about the beef”, he recommends a few accompaniments to complement the meat well, in particular the Japanese Wagyu Fat Candle A5 which sinks into a catch basin mixed with koji vinegar creating a rich and flavorful dip for a slice of grilled country sourdough. .

A wide assortment of Wagyu beef dishes are available at Swagyu Pacific Beach.

A wide assortment of Wagyu beef dishes are available at Swagyu Pacific Beach.

(J.Dixx Photography)

But there is more. Crispy broccolini fried in Wagyu fat and tossed with chili fish caramel, and a medley of wild mushrooms cooked in miso butter and topped with a raw egg are a few other favorites.

For desserts, you can indulge in the A5 Wagyu Fat Brownie Sundae topped with vanilla ice cream, pickled berries, chocolate ganache, and roasted marshmallows.

Besides the intimate dining cove, “meat teeth” can enjoy a more laid-back, serene vibe in the interior space with sleek black lacquer walls, bamboo lanterns, and a sea of ​​green from giant skylights that illuminate an abundance of hanging plants resembling floating gardens. ’90s hip-hop music streaming in the background provides the perfect backdrop to enjoy the signature Swagyu Smashburger (half and quarter pound), “that we’re famous for all over the country,” Brown said. “It’s a blend of freshly ground Wagyu imported from Japan and Australia straight to San Diego airport.”

The mouth-watering delight is dressed with a brioche bun, American cheese, homemade bread, and buttery pickles and a secret sauce. The burger goes well with a side of Nitro Potatoes, perfectly crispy chewy bits on the outside and chewy mashed potatoes on the inside, a labor-intensive art that takes three days to create. This is often washed down with beer, wine, sake, or Japanese Shochu cocktails.

There’s also a bustling outdoor charcoal patio bar, complete with cooling ocean breezes, dragon decor and a draped crimson tarp under which the chef fires up the binchotan grill to cook food in the Yakiniku style known as Japanese barbecue.

An outdoor patio bar sits among the dining areas at Swagyu Pacific Beach.

An outdoor patio bar sits among the dining areas at Swagyu Pacific Beach.

(J.Dixx Photography)

Finally, the weekend brunch menu includes lollapaloozas such as the A5 Chicken Fried Steak with Nitro Potatoes, Peasant Sauce, Sunny Eggs, Brown Butter Puffed French Toast, Yuzu Cream, matcha berries and flambé marshmallows, and American Wagyu Birriaquiles. The latter is a Mexican-style breakfast with braised meats, guajillo salsa, lime-marinated shallots, and aged cotija.

Brown recommends making dinner reservations through the system called Tock. As locals congregate in this neighborhood, the Japanese haunt in droves, beef lovers along the coast, across the country and even south of the border also indulge in Swagyu heaven for occasions of all kinds, or even non-occasions.

Brown elevates his brand’s popularity to “a cult following” and credits this to his culinary philosophy and methodology of “normalizing Wagyu by taking the pretentiousness out of this upscale dish and making it accessible to everyone.”

While Swagyu also has a presence in Imperial Beach and Poway, as well as a production kitchen in Miramar, Brown calls his brand “unstoppable.” Growing faster than a charging bull, Swagyu is approaching eight locations with Oceanside, Los Angeles and Lahaina, Maui down the pike. Hello!

Swagyu Pacific Beach Recipe

Chilean sea bass in miso with dashi broth

For 4 people


• 4 6oz. portions of fish, preferably all the same cuts

• 3 tsp miso marinade

• Equal parts miso paste, mirin rice wine and brown sugar. Mix until all the elements are incorporated together.

• 32oz. dashi broth

• 24 oz. dashi soup seasoning

• 2oz. mirin rice wine

• 24 oz. the water

• 3 oz. soya sauce


1. Marinate the fish for 24 hours and drain it; reserve some for cooking the fish marinade.

2. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary.



• 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced

• 1 packet. brown beech mushrooms (cut the base of the mushrooms).

• 1 packet. enoki mushrooms (cut the base of the mushrooms)

• 4 baby bok choys (cut the stock stock and blanch)

• 2 giant carrots (peel and peel with a peeler to make ribbons)

• 1 large watermelon radish (peel and slice with a mandolin), for garnish

• Sesame seeds, for garnish

• 1 packet. micro-vegetables divided into four piles, for garnish

• 1 tablespoon truffle oil, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place fish on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Pour the miso marinade over the fish and bake for 5-8 minutes. The fish will begin to caramelize and this is an indicator that it is almost done.

3. While the fish is cooking, heat the dashi broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to cool. Add water to a saucepan, bring to a boil and add all the vegetables. Cook 2 to 4 minutes then drain using a colander.

4. Place the vegetables in soup bowls, then gently place the fish on top with a spatula. Pour the broth into a bowl.

5. You can garnish with radishes, microgreens, a touch of truffle oil and sesame seeds.

Courtesy of Chef Steve Brown

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