There's a small (20 people max) place in West LA that I've heard about for a few years. Referred to as "Secret Beef", this is a Japanese style BBQ restaurant. 9 courses, prix fix, BYOB, and often hailed as the best beef in all the US. The catch? You can only get in if someone else who's on the list brings you. Lucky for me, Chuck (his original post) just happened to be going there this past Tuesday with 4 of his friends, and he invited me to tag along!
If you want the gory details, I'd suggest this Chowhound post. Barring the crab legs on the starter, it's exactly the same as our meal.
My verdict - to tell you the truth, and I'm almost afraid to post this - disappointing. The meat was good. The throat was tough for me, and a bit unique. The rest of the beef was amazingly tender, with the best marbling I've ever seen. Ultimately, I eat for the taste, and that's where I was let down. There was little to no "beef" flavor, mostly it was succulent, tender, grilled meat stuff. It may just be the style. I am far from experienced with Japanese BBQ. I'm used to steaks, thick cut American or Argentinian. For the person who appreciates this style, I'd easily believe this is the best version of it in the western world.
It is BYOB, so BYOB we did. 6 bottles for 6 people, including the star of the evening, a 750ml 2000 D'Yquem (thanks Steve!). Wonderful wine, darn good food, great ambiance, and a great set of people. If you get a chance, go for it!Check out the full gallery.
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Attire: Whatever. Really. It's the least style conscious place you can imagine. Wear what you wear.