Wagyu Very Much

The country's first Japanese butcher shop opens in NYC

The iconographic American butcher shop has sawdust on the floor, an ornery old man wearing a blood-smeared smock behind the counter and the metallic smell of freshly cut meat.

Manhattan's newest butcher, Japan Premium Beef, slays all of the stereotypes. The shop is decidedly minimal, with stark white walls and a glowing glass case full of ruby-red beef, neatly and tidily presented. Its butchers, Eiichi Yamamoto and Daigo Irifune (pictured), are smartly attired in button-down shirts, ties and spotless, pressed aprons. And they couldn't be more excited to chat with customers about wagyu beef–the only variety they sell.

Wagyu beef is the hypertender, superfatty beef from the wagyu breed of cows, raised most famously in the Japan's Kobe province. JPB's wagyu is raised domestically, in Oregon, and though the cows don't get the beer or backrubs that have made Kobe the stuff of legends, it has all the flavor and fat anyone could hope for.

The shop sells a stunning array of the stuff: bone-in rib eyes, sliced meat for sukiyaki–even wagyu-beef tongue for adventurous carnivores.

Prices shoot into the stratosphere for fancier cuts, but for Memorial Day, savvy shoppers can opt for the amazing deal found in the lower right part of the butcher case: $4.99-a-pound ground wagyu, perfect for loose, tender, fatty burgers.

When we bought a few pounds for a barbecue, Irifune-san ground it fresh, vacuum-packed it and stuck an ice pack into the bag to keep the meat cold and pristine on the ride home.

Japan Premium Beef, 57 Great Jones St. (at the Bowery); 212-260-2333