The SakaMai restaurant was created by childhood friends Natalie Graham and Tanner Fahl. The two Hawaii-born Japanese-Americans intended to showcase the amazing cuisine they grew up with at the restaurant in an approachable context. But the two never thought their restaurant would gain popularity overnight over the sale of a sandwich.
Over the years, SakaMai has grown popular in New York’s Lower East Side as a Japanese sake bar. A big portion of the restaurant’s menu includes the ol’sea urchin gonads. But the menu also includes an extensive sake and sochu selection, original Japanese-inspired craft cocktails, and rare Japanese whiskies. One can also find rich, delicacy kinds of foods like caviar, bone marrow, and foie gras at the restaurant.
SakaMai puts out a very relaxing vibe, and the over-the-top ingredients attract plenty of customers. Chefs mix most of the ingredients used at the restaurant into familiar Japanese-inspired dishes. Customers get to enjoy dishes like meatballs, ramen noodles, and hand rolls mixed with others ingredients instead of straight-up eating a plate of sea urchin and bone marrow. But one meal, in particular, has brought popularity to SakaMai. Customers from across the world are flocking to the restaurant to get a taste of the Wagyu sandwich.
The Wagyu Katsu Sando is Japan’s most famous sandwich. SakaMai is responsible for introducing one of the most expensive sandwiches to New York City. The restaurant only sells three of the Wagyu sandwiches each day on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each sandwich costs $85 for six pieces which may seem like a hefty price, but many people don’t seem to mind. A lot of those who enjoy the Wagyu sandwich know that the beef is an exclusive, high-fat grade cut of meat.
Why the Wagyu Sandwich is so Expensive
The Wagyu sandwich appears deceptively simple as much as it is the most expensive sandwich. Chefs make the sandwich with just panko-fried beef between two sauce-painted pieces of toasted white bread. But the sandwich costs so much because it tastes amazing because of the Wagyu beef. Often chefs deep-fry the Wagyu and smother it in katsu sauce, giving it a rich, crispy and tender taste.
SakaMai sources its Wagyu from Japan. The beef has won the Japanese Beef Olympics 10 years in a row. The term wagyu refers to any beef from Japanese cattle. Japan exports only a small amount of this beef to other countries each year, making it rare and expensive to acquire. The type of beef that reaches New York at the SakaMai restaurant is known as Kobe beef. Kobe beef also known as wagyu beef comes from cows raised in accordance with strict guidelines. Some of these guidelines sometimes require the owners of the cows to give their animals better lives.
According to some people, the cows are fed beer and receive messages which may or may not actually happen. But the meat produced from these cows is supremely tender, intricately marbled, and full of buttery, beefy flavor. All Wagyu beef possesses these remarkable qualities, but Kobe provides an even greater expression of its best traits. Kobe beef possesses extreme marbling that makes the meat so tender and rich making it hard to come by and very expensive to buy.