MAXINE GORDON gives her verdict on York's new premium steakhouse

IF you thought £70 was expensive for a steak – then how about £170?

We were at York's new premium steakhouse, Wagyu Bar and Grill, in Low Petergate, and had just ordered its top-of-the-bill dish, the chateaubriand, at a whopping £70.

It was the most expensive menu item we'd ever ordered, but, amazingly, our waiter made it sound like a bargain.

"If you ordered this steak anywhere else, it would cost you about £170," he said.


So what's the big deal about this steak?

One word: Wagyu.

Wag-what? you might ask (and scratch your head at the same time if you are that way inclined).

Wagyu is the Bugatti supercar of meat, famous for being the most expensive beef in the world. It originates from Japan, where a range of cattle have been delivering meat that the phrase "melt in the mouth" was made for. Apparently, it all rests in the marbling; Wagyu beef has fat running all the way through it, making it soft and buttery when cooked.

Luckily, you don't have to go to Japan to to taste it. North Yorkshire has a large Wagyu herd and local breeders Warrendale Farm just outside York have opened this new steakhouse to give even more people the chance to try this wonder beef.

The restaurant is a relaxed affair – and quite small, with just under 60 covers inside, a small bar mezzanine, and an outdoor courtyard. Previously, Italian restaurant chain Strada traded from here.

When my husband Nick and I arrived, we chose a small table in a corridor that led to the kitchen. I quickly panicked that the table was too small, so we moved to a larger one.

We were glad we did because by the time our drinks had arrived – a bottle of a very drinkable, bright and fruity Portuguese white, Azeitão Moscatel Graudo-Fernão Pires, (£19), some table water, and our food – we needed all the space we could muster.

Reading the menu, we settled pretty quickly on the 14oz chateaubriand, the king of steaks, taken from the head of the fillet and celebrated for its succulence (if not for its hefty price). It's a dish for sharing, so it was just as well we both wanted the same thing. There were six other cuts to choose from, ranging from the flat iron at £13.50 to the 7oz fillet (£25) and the 16oz T-bone, serving two at £45.

At £70, the chateaubriand was the most expensive, but the price did include two side dishes and two sauces, worth £12.

To start things off, we shared some beef croquettes (£8). On arrival, these looked like three Scotch eggs, coated in those all-too-familiar orange-red breadcrumbs. Inside was lots of mashed potato but very little of the "slow-cooked Wagyu beef cheek" promised. The croquettes were rather bland and needed a piece of the accompanying Yorkshire Blue cheese to perk them up.

Happily, the star attraction made up for the disappointing start. At first, I wasn't sure we'd been given the right dish. A plate of meat was plonked down before us. It was garnished with some lambs lettuce on top. Soon after came two bowls overflowing with thick, hand-made chips, a serving of beetroot and two mini pots of sauces (we chose a Diane and peppercorn from a selection of seven).

Nick and I immediately made for the steak which, unusually, had been pre-sliced by the chef. This meant it was easier to eat, but didn't make for the nicest presentation. We ordered it medium-rare and the meat was sitting in a pool of reddish-brown juice. Granted, our waiter admitted they hadn't quite got the delivery right. This was a star of a dish, he acknowledged, and deserved a bit of theatre. We agreed, but soon our only thoughts were on the delicious beef. "Cuts like butter," Nick observed after his first mouthful. It was cooked just right for us: darkly charred on the outside and still red in the heart, lending a great combination of flavours. It was seasoned perfectly too, and was easy to digest. It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed a steak so much.

It was so tasty in its own right, it felt disrespectful to coat it in a sauce. Instead, we used the sauces as a dip for the big fat chips which were piping hot and lovely and soft inside.

To finish, we went for the dark chocolate mousse with honeycomb and orange segments (£5.50).

Again, this suffered in its presentation: four piped blobs (resembling a certain emoji) on the plate with honeycomb pieces on top and tiny pieces of orange. The mousse had a great texture, silky and aerated as it should be, but it was not dark enough and needed to taste more chocolate-y.

So would we go back? Yes, definitely for the chateaubriand – for a special occasion.

There are cheaper options on the menu, including burgers for £14.50, with options for veggies and vegans.

But if you want to check out this place, you have to try the steak.

Wagyu Bar and Grill, 75 Low Petergate, York, YO1 7HY

T: 01904 232262


Food: great steak 4/5

Ambience: relaxed 4/5

Service: great 4/5

Value: Expensive 3/5

Reviews are independent and meals paid for by The Press