Jump to content




Photo

"The Great Kobe Beef Lie" - Forbes Lays Down Some Unhappy Facts

Kobe Beef beef Wagyu Forbes

  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#1 ol_ironstomach

ol_ironstomach

    Wunderpus photogenicus

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,339 posts

Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:01 PM

"I will state this as clearly as possible:

You cannot buy Japanese Kobe beef in this country. Not in stores, not by mail, and certainly not in restaurants. No matter how much you have spent, how fancy a steakhouse you went to, or which of the many celebrity chefs who regularly feature “Kobe beef” on their menus you believed, you were duped."

- Larry Olmsted, _Forbes_ 2012-04-12

Read the article.

(ETA: Don links parts 2 and 3 of the article downthread here)

Dave Hsu
--------"Cuisine represents a knife edge that separates attractive stimulation from death."--- Art Ayers


#2 darkstar965

darkstar965

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,877 posts

Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

Very interesting. That the author's claim is likely true isn't so surprising. That all media got this wrong would be more surprising in the era of the internet and aggressive investigative diy journalists on every corner and behind every monitor.

Beyond the kobe news, this is the line that most caught my attention:

As far as regulators here are concerned, Kobe beef, unlike say Florida Orange Juice, means almost nothing


With that line, the author has been duped. If interested in the scam that is "pure" and "not from concentrate" florida orange juice in this country, I'd enthusiastically recommend this excellent, substantive and positively eye-opening book:

Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice (Paperback)
By Alissa Hamilton

#3 jayandstacey

jayandstacey

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 798 posts

Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:04 PM

I suppose they'll tell me Kobe Bryant isn't from Japan either. Not sure I buy it.

#4 Waitman

Waitman

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,899 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

"I will state this as clearly as possible:

You cannot buy Japanese Kobe beef in this country. Not in stores, not by mail, and certainly not in restaurants. No matter how much you have spent, how fancy a steakhouse you went to, or which of the many celebrity chefs who regularly feature “Kobe beef” on their menus you believed, you were duped."

Really?

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#5 ad.mich

ad.mich

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 346 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

I'd like there to be a Part 3, where they try to calmy explain to people that even if their $40 Kobe Burger came from the most impeccably marbled beef on the freaking planet, once you grind it up it's irrelevant.

My kingdom(e) for a Seattle hot dog in the district


#6 Eric Ziebold

Eric Ziebold

    grouper

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 80 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

Japanese beef is currently banned from being sold in the US. I think Todd Kliman actually tried to make people aware of that in his chat about a year ago, in reference to something "kobe" that a person said they had at Blue Duck. Unfortunate that its banned because I'd propose another tasting dinner (at Vidalia) as a great forum to dissect the issue that the author has.

While I do see a major flaw in the article, (which is apparently going to be addressed in part 2) I believe I do agree with the spirit of what he's trying to write. Assuming that what he's really driving at is people (mostly restaurants) misleading people about something so they can charge more for it.

Since the above would be a rather lengthy post/tirade, I would like to make a comment about America as a society. I think we as a group like to throw around words that are easy for us to identify with. As it pertains to the food industry I think it is because we have a pretty young food culture. In the rapidly changing world of technology its because we tend to lead innovation in those areas. The monetary issue aside, is there that much difference between the way people have thrown around terms like caviar, champagne, google or xerox?
Eric Ziebold

Chef,
CityZen

#7 B.A.R.

B.A.R.

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:02 AM

I'd like there to be a Part 3, where they try to calmy explain to people that even if their $40 Kobe Burger came from the most impeccably marbled beef on the freaking planet, once you grind it up it's irrelevant.

You know, after I saw Wagyu for the first time, that was my initial thought - it is only worth the money intact.

Brian Reymann
I'm in the business but content here solely my own and is not associated with my employer at all.

Sometimes, I try to disassociate myself from my own opinions.


#8 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

This is a reprise of the old US/France dispute over champagne.

The article seems to me to be deliberately misleading, for journalistic effect. That you cannot have "true" or "genuine" Kobe beef in the US is true, but in a legal, not a culinary sense. "Kobe" applied to beef is an appellation, a legal distinction, a trademark. That distinction is not recognized in the US, so I could label any piece of beef in the US as Kobe and not break any US laws (I could not, however, sell OJ made from oranges grown in California, or Brazil, as Florida orange juice in the US, and that is the basis of that line in the story).

So as a practical matter it depends on whether you personally believe that beef from Wagyu cattle raised in a particular geographical area in Japan is truly distinguished from and better than beef from genetically identical Wagyu cattle raised the same way in other areas of Japan or other places in the world. If you do believe that, fine. But you will likely be paying more for the experience, and the added price certainly devolves from a legal distinction; whether that legal distinction carries over to the characteristics of that which is on you plate is less clear.

#9 porcupine

porcupine

    ill-tempered sea bass

  • Forum Host
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,693 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:14 AM

I think we as a group like to throw around words that are easy for us to identify with. As it pertains to the food industry I think it is because we have a pretty young food culture. In the rapidly changing world of technology its because we tend to lead innovation in those areas. The monetary issue aside, is there that much difference between the way people have thrown around terms like caviar, champagne, google or xerox?

Marketing is a major factor in our changing language, and it's not just connotations that change. One example is "house" vs. "home". "House" is a concrete noun: a building people live in. "Home" is abstract: it's where the heart is. But who wants to buy a building when they can buy a dream? We've seen "new home for sale" for so long now that the two words have lost their distinctions.

It's serious business (money) to have a brand name become the generic word for a product or process. (google, xerox, kleenex, band-aid)

There are plenty of examples in the food world, not just for trademarked items or appellations. When's the last time you saw an actual Napoleon on the menu? Do people remember Napoleons? Pretty soon now it will lose its quotes (the written indicator of a winking eye) and then it will be a generic noun meaning "ingredients assembled in layers".

Possibly with another couple cups of coffee I could recall more examples. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've seen "kobe" (lower case) used generically to mean "well-marbled". Though more honest establishments will write "kobe-style".

Elizabeth Miller
fast cars, slow food


#10 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:43 AM

This is a reprise of the old US/France dispute over champagne.

The article seems to me to be deliberately misleading, for journalistic effect. That you cannot have "true" or "genuine" Kobe beef in the US is true, but in a legal, not a culinary sense. "Kobe" applied to beef is an appellation, a legal distinction, a trademark. That distinction is not recognized in the US, so I could label any piece of beef in the US as Kobe and not break any US laws (I could not, however, sell OJ made from oranges grown in California, or Brazil, as Florida orange juice in the US, and that is the basis of that line in the story).

So as a practical matter it depends on whether you personally believe that beef from Wagyu cattle raised in a particular geographical area in Japan is truly distinguished from and better than beef from genetically identical Wagyu cattle raised the same way in other areas of Japan or other places in the world. If you do believe that, fine. But you will likely be paying more for the experience, and the added price certainly devolves from a legal distinction; whether that legal distinction carries over to the characteristics of that which is on you plate is less clear.


A glass of Chambertin with that, please.

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#11 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

The US is one of the few countries with a lack of automatic recognition of the name of origins of traditional products. When Korbel is labeled champagne and the Kraft crap in a box is labeled cheese, much less Parmesan, it does not degrade the original to anyone with knowledge, but it prevents the new and inexperienced from learning about the real thing.

This is a list of lies that are acceptable on US labels

US wine label laws tell us what lies are allowable {ie 75% pinot noir grape can be called pinot noir etc.} In all my years in the wine business, I have never heard a small winery say that having to put exact label percentages of grapes on a wine if it was less than 100% would be onerous, not anywhere near as onerous as having to report inventories on hand in different formats, on different days of the month, as of different forms of the month, in different units etc. Ridge winery, {yes now owned by a large corporation but still run as a medium sized winery, has had transparent labeling on EVERY bottle of wine it has ever sold. It can be done

It's funny that the folk who passed these laws that serve to help the large scale producer, are also the ones up in arms about intellectual property rights. Yet, we don't respect brand names that most of the rest of the world enforces as a matter of routine. We don't respect the consumers right to make a decision on facts.

#12 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:00 AM

Yet, we don't respect brand names that most of the rest of the world enforces as a matter of routine. We don't respect the consumers right to make a decision on facts.

Not exactly. I'm not a trademark lawyer, but I think a "brand name" is respected and enforced in the US same as elsewhere, provided it is registered in the country being asked to do the respecting, as most brand names are these days -- everybody has heard the "Aspirin" story. The problem here is that terms like "kobe" and "parmesan" are not and never were brand names (as far as I know), but are general geographic descriptors used by a variety of producers originally in a certain area but then "adopted" by those elsewhere. Had the original producers gotten together and gotten them properly registered in time, they could have headed the problem off. But they didn't. Nothing special about this in the US. It happens all the time everywhere, or at least it used to before folks got smart. I remember being offered a "Chicago" steak in Singapore that I'm confident was never near Chicago.

So I don't see us as being the "bad guys" you suggest. We handle it pretty much the same way everybody else does. The onus is on the producers.

#13 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

In my post, I mistakenly used brand name in one place, but I was talking about traditional place names recognized under the DOP and the worldwide convention signed by most of the world, but not by China and the US. Argentina stopped allowing parmesan use years ago in favor of Reggianito. But you can still bu Gallo Hearty Burgundy.

We are different than Europe, Japan, Australia and parts of South America and the countries that make up the lion's share of our trade {with the exception of China.} The facts say that we are not on the side of most of the world.

Just because things are accepted does not make them acceptable. We differ in opinion, but you can't have your own facts.

#14 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:02 PM

I was talking about traditional place names recognized under the DOP and the worldwide convention signed by most of the world, but not by China and the US.

Could you give me a cite on that?

#15 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:02 AM

http://en.wikipedia...._European_Union

If you look at the fact that the Eu and the countries listed {plus many others} are the majority of our trade partners, we are out of step.

Also, in some of the countries who are not siignitories to the bi lateral agreements, the proctices in fact are not like they are in the US. For example, in my role as cheese buyer for Whole Foods SoPac region, I never came across the use of place names in cheese like that if the US, even if not prohibited by treaty.

#16 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:48 AM

http://en.wikipedia...._European_Union

If you look at the fact that the Eu and the countries listed {plus many others} are the majority of our trade partners, we are out of step.

Also, in some of the countries who are not signitories to the bi lateral agreements, the practices in fact are not like they are in the US. For example, in my role as cheese buyer for Whole Foods SoPac region, I never came across the use of place names in cheese like that if the US, even if not prohibited by treaty.

I'm certainly aware of the EU restrictions in this regard. However, these internal EU restrictions are only applicable and enforceable against producers in other countries if there is a bi-lateral treaty between the EU and whatever country. In fact, that is always the case, ie if such local distinctions in one country were to be enforced in some other country. But if you read the article you can see that such bi-laterals are few and far between, are very limited in their coverage, and have been reached mostly where both countries have something to protect and thus have a basis to cut a deal. They are certainly not comprehensive as you suggest.

AS a practical matter, most foods with a famous local name designation are European, and they clearly have an interest in protection of those names and do so where they have legal jurisdiction, ie within the EU and against EU exporters. But few countries outside the EU protect those names within their own territories -- the US is far from alone on this, and is not "out of step" as you claim. That is the fact, not an opinion. But because we are a much larger buyer of these items, perhaps the situation arises with us in the popular mind more often. Maybe it therefore seems we are bad guys, but I'm sorry I don't buy it.

Coming back to kobe beef, where this thread started, how many countries can you say protect the term? How many handle it differently from the US?

#17 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

Coming back to kobe beef, where this thread started, how many countries can you say protect the term? How many handle it differently from the US?


How is Kobe any different than Mosel-Saar-Ruwer? The cattle is called wagyu; the wine is called riesling.

What would you think if someone had a store overseas that sold "Crabs from the Chesapeake Bay" that weren't? What's the difference?

Forgetting "what you can get away with," maybe it's time people starting thinking about basic right and wrong.

The only reason "kobe" has become a semi-generic word is because restaurants have abused the term and misled the public. Maybe I should open a restaurant and call it "Wolfgang Puck" - we'll see how much he likes it. And maybe if he complains, I'll change the name to "Virginia Wolfgang Puck" and make sure to use his recipes. Incidentally, this post appears to no longer be relevant because their current menu, once again, features "American Style" Kobe Short Ribs. There are probably a couple dozen restaurants in town guilty of similar transgressions, so by no means do I wish to single out The Source for duping consumers. I like The Source and Scott Drewno has always been nice to me. I do not wish to implicate Scott for any of this - I have to think this is coming straight from corporate. BLT Steak is equally guilty, as evidenced by numerous examples of "Kobe" on their menu ("Grilled Kobe Skirt Steak Salad," "Smoked Kobe Brisket," etc.). These two restaurants should be ashamed of themselves for having led the way in perpetuating this questionable marketing scheme.

PS - A very interesting and highly relevant tweet from The Pure Pasty Company just now.

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#18 ad.mich

ad.mich

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 346 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:30 AM

The only reason "kobe" has become a semi-generic word is because restaurants have abused the term and misled the public. Maybe I should open a restaurant and call it "Wolfgang Puck" - we'll see how much he likes it. And maybe if he complains, I'll change the name to "Virginia Wolfgang Puck" and make sure to use his recipes.


Don, have you been hitting up the London KFC knockoffs again?

My kingdom(e) for a Seattle hot dog in the district


#19 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:10 AM

Don, have you been hitting up the London KFC knockoffs again?


Kind of complicates the issue, doesn't it. I've been seeing "Maryland Fried Chicken" around the country my whole life (and even though I grew up in Maryland, I don't even know what Maryland Fried Chicken is).

Just to play devil's advocate, what's the difference between saying "Kobe beef" and advertising an "Italian restaurant?"

My instinct is that if an area cares enough to protect their cultural heritage, one must pay respect to that. I'm not saying you have to honor it 100% of the time, but it merits attention and thoughtfulness.

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#20 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:51 AM

My instinct is that if an area cares enough to protect their cultural heritage, one must pay respect to that. I'm not saying you have to honor it 100% of the time, but it merits attention and thoughtfulness.


Unfortunately, some do, and some just don't.

Borrowing the punchline from an old joke: "In my heart I know you're right, but, business is business."

#21 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

Unfortunately, some do, and some just don't.

Borrowing the punchline from an old joke: "In my heart I know you're right, but, business is business."


Which brings me to mink coats and pink slime...

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#22 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

PS Larry Olmsted has also written a Part Two (I learned something about "Wagyu" from this) and Part Three for Forbes.

Mr. Olmsted and I are on the same page, and are clearly thinking about this issue the same way. My examples of Chesapeake Bay Crab and Mosel-Saar-Ruwer were things I thought of independently, before I even knew the above two articles were written. The reason? It's just so logical.

As to why I feel so passionately about this issue ... I'm not sure, actually. It's not as important as curing cancer. I guess it's just something I've respected (having come into the food world as a passionate student of wine) for so long now, and also having had my original, creative work stolen by other media outlets, that it just strikes a nerve. Artists and artisans should have their labors, hard work, traditions, and unique attributes honored and respected, and that goes for individuals, regions, and yes, businesses. I don't think you can say "well what about xerox, kleenex, and coke?" because in those cases, I suspect the companies are delighted to have had their products become part of our everyday lexicon. A vastly different situation. (Ever ordered a "coke," and had someone ask, "Is Pepsi okay?" Rest assured they're under orders from Pepsi to do so.)

An interesting discussion for me. Thanks for starting it and keeping it going.
Rocks

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#23 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 12:59 PM

Unfortunately, some do, and some just don't.

Borrowing the punchline from an old joke: "In my heart I know you're right, but, business is business."


And that is the problem. Profitable does not imply right. RIch does not imply a moral superiority. Power does not imply the right to run over others.

Some person a couple of thousand years ago said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

#24 Michael Landrum

Michael Landrum

    hammerhead

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:07 PM

I think the real issue here, if we are arguing by analogy, is the abuse of the term Kobe Beef is the same as if one were to go to the Ritz Carlton and pay $28 for a Champagne Cocktail made with Korbel, or to Citronelle and pay $50 for Fresh Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes made out of tinned Indonesian Blue Swimming Crab. Or paying $35 for two "Day Boat" scallops because the dishwasher was listening to Harry Belafonte when he opened up the gallon tin of 10-20 scallops.

It is not a trademark or AOC or cultural heritage issue, it is a deceptive practices issue--exacerbated by the pervasive ignorance of restaurant reviewers who are more concerned with bathroom decor than knowledge of food and wine; and the pervasive culture of media-whoring in the restaurant business today.

N. B.: I did not mean to imply that those things occur at the Ritz or Citronelle, they were the first names to come to my mind as paragons of reputation and the finest of ingredients.

#25 Michael Landrum

Michael Landrum

    hammerhead

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:11 PM

Some person a couple of thousand years ago said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."


Dean, you've got it wrong:

http://www.flickr.co...666/2576270023/

#26 johnb

johnb

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,016 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:47 PM

Here is an interesting discussion of the Champagne issue.

http://debatepedia.i..._as_only_French

I think this sets out well some of the pros and cons of place name exclusivity. It is all well and good to note that by preventing fraud these regulations are in the consumer's interest. But it is also true that these systems come to enforce monopolies, which is not in the consumer's interest. It isn't always clear which side of this coin is more important in a specific case. For products like Champagne where the place name has been generified and just about everybody understands what he's actually buying, it seems to me it is hard to make an objective case that the "original" producers are actually being harmed, unless one feels they should be able to extract monopoly prices from consumers. But others see it differently. Bottom line -- it's not so cut and dried after all.

In the case of "kobe" beef being sold in restaurants for high prices, an important question would be whether special and costly methods have been employed in producing that product and whether the (high) price being asked fairly reflects that difference. The article seems not to address that point. It assumes fraud is involved and the price isn't justified -- end of story. But it may be the price is justified for that particular product, and use of the term is not meant to defraud but is really just a generification, being used so that customers can easily grasp the nature of the product on offer. The term "kobe" has long since entered the popular lexicon -- the term "wagyu," not so much.

It's hard to see how the practice harms the true Kobe producers since they have chosen not to sell here.

FWIW, I also suspect that the prices that restaurants are getting for this steak are anything like as much as they would have to be if it truly were genuine Kobe.

#27 Ericandblueboy

Ericandblueboy

    Boo Boo

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,194 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 02:59 PM

Or paying $35 for two "Day Boat" scallops because the dishwasher was listening to Harry Belafonte when he opened up the gallon tin of 10-20 scallops.


Banana Boat - not day boat, but it's a good song, makes me think of the Caribbean - oxtail, salt fish, and goat curry.

#28 qwertyy

qwertyy

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:06 PM

I don't think you can say "well what about xerox, kleenex, and coke?" because in those cases, I suspect the companies are delighted to have had their products become part of our everyday lexicon. A vastly different situation. (Ever ordered a "coke," and had someone ask, "Is Pepsi okay?" Rest assured they're under orders from Pepsi to do so.)


No, they're not happy about becoming a part of the everyday lexicon. Just as with parmesan, tequila, and the others, applying a brand name to a generic usage or product devalues the entire brand. Xerox would not want itself associated with the piece of shit off-brand machine in my office; additionally, Xerox produces far, far more than just duplicators, and trust me that they're not pleased to be known by 99% of the world as the creators of just one product. Now, for Xerox, Coke, and Kleenex, the dye is case and there's no going back. But newer companies, notably Google, are working overtime to ensure that doesn't happen to them.

#29 jayandstacey

jayandstacey

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 798 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:19 PM

Since the motivation is profit and presitige - couldn't the misuse be undone just as quickly, if not more so, in reverse?

Wouldn't one Tom Sitesema article on one sacrificial restaurant, calling them out and pointing out the lie - cause many others to immediately reprint their menus? Wouldn't a few restaurants selling premium cuts with some proven predigree - and pointing out the lie of others...eventually cause the others to jump ship?

Since it doesn't actually have a distinguishable meaning when being served here, couldn't some free, sustained PR make it quickly turn from being recognized as a 'rolls royce' term to really possibly being a 'toyota' or worse term...that restaurants would prefer to shy away from?

#30 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:13 PM

No, they're not happy about becoming a part of the everyday lexicon. Just as with parmesan, tequila, and the others, applying a brand name to a generic usage or product devalues the entire brand. Xerox would not want itself associated with the piece of shit off-brand machine in my office; additionally, Xerox produces far, far more than just duplicators, and trust me that they're not pleased to be known by 99% of the world as the creators of just one product. Now, for Xerox, Coke, and Kleenex, the dye is case and there's no going back. But newer companies, notably Google, are working overtime to ensure that doesn't happen to them.


You're right (although I personally wouldn't mind owning the name Kleenex). "Genericide," it's called.

Hey, can I trademark DC Dining? :)

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#31 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:44 PM

Place names and peoples names are inherently different than trade names. The appropiation of things that are intrinsic to a product and place seems to be a simple case of stealing. If course I am not a corporate lawyer figuring out how much illegality my corporation can get away with before spurring on litigation. But I knew some when I was at a large corporation in my past.

But the lack of a simplified international framework for resptecting names just makes things hard for the originators. The "me toos" rap benefits. The people who don't know better, well they have little reason to look further. But it jsut seems that id theft is id theft, whether its your name and your credit report, or the name of the town where you make a product for hundreds of years. But there are folk who think your identity is ripe for the stealing, John. So opinions differ. No one would want to steal my identity for credit fraud so that is not a worry for me!


it is hard to make an objective case that the "original" producers are actually being harmed, unless one feels they should be able to extract monopoly prices from consumers. But others see it differently. Bottom line -- it's not so cut and dried after all.

Stealing something that belongs to another, their place name or personal name, seems inherently harmful. LVMH is a huge producer in Champagne, but calling Champagne a monopoly seems to fly in the face of he number of independent of each other houses. Look at he grown of Veuve Ciquot and Billecart Salmon into large and id scale producers. I think this argument is completely disingenuous in the case of Champagne.

Kobe Beef is a marketing group much like american corporate farms have the government backed check off marketing programs to push the interests of the largest suppliers. But there are myriad alternative premium beefs to Kobe, so again, a disingenuous argument.

It's hard to see how the practice harms the true Kobe producers since they have chosen not to sell here.

Banned by the government for hoof and mouth reasons, not a choice at all.

I think the real issue here, if we are arguing by analogy, is the abuse of the term Kobe Beef is the same as if one were to go ... and pay $28 for a Champagne Cocktail made with Korbel, or ... pay $50 for Fresh Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes made out of tinned Indonesian Blue Swimming Crab. Or paying $35 for two "Day Boat" scallops because the dishwasher was listening to Harry Belafonte when he opened up the gallon tin of 10-20 scallops.

It is not a trademark or AOC or cultural heritage issue, it is a deceptive practices issue--exacerbated by the pervasive ignorance of restaurant reviewers who are more concerned with bathroom decor than knowledge of food and wine; and the pervasive culture of media-whoring in the restaurant business today.

Simply put, if I say Maryland Blue Crab on the menu, that is what it is. My mimosas are made with OJ we actually squeeze and Trevisol Prosecco DOC Treviso, 100% prosecco grape at my last look at their website. Anyone could do the same. Of course, I ahve a neighbor who uses not Korebel Champagne, but J Roget and pre squeezed commercially produced OJ. I am quite certain they did twice the covers I did today at brunch.

And there are no legal beds for scallops that can be fished by Divers on the eastern seaboard and diver scallops on the west coast are not fished using day boats for the most part. We work hard to make sure we don't make false claims on our product. I have several vendors who will tell you that we take misrepresentation seriously and have dropped vendors we found out were not dealing straight with us or with their other customers. Of course, we do ahve a vendor that inthe past was convicted of dishonest practices who has now got the religion of local and sustainable so we support them. NOW.

Of course, I am broke and work too much!

#32 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:45 PM

Dean, you've got it wrong:

http://www.flickr.co...666/2576270023/

Michael, as usual you are to the point. A poor man once said... The person who copyrighted & published that poster prolly made big bank on it.

#33 Michael Landrum

Michael Landrum

    hammerhead

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

In the case of "kobe" beef being sold in restaurants for high prices, an important question would be whether special and costly methods have been employed in producing that product and whether the (high) price being asked fairly reflects that difference. The article seems not to address that point. It assumes fraud is involved and the price isn't justified -- end of story. But it may be the price is justified for that particular product, and use of the term is not meant to defraud but is really just a generification, being used so that customers can easily grasp the nature of the product on offer. The term "kobe" has long since entered the popular lexicon -- the term "wagyu," not so much.

It's hard to see how the practice harms the true Kobe producers since they have chosen not to sell here.

FWIW, I also suspect that the prices that restaurants are getting for this steak are anything like as much as they would have to be if it truly were genuine Kobe.

John, I was addressing Tom Sietsema's spending an entire paragraph being awe-struck by the $40 Kobe hot dog in his review of The Old Homestead and shuddering in ecstasy after a laying on of hands by PR preachers speaking in tongues in many similar instances since.

I think there is little doubt that no special care or ingredients went into the production of that product.

I also think the pervasive gullibility on the one hand, and pervasive cynical deception and empty hype on the other has been more than obvious for a full decade or more to those who are knowledgeable enough to care.

Too often, it isn't just that the emperor is naked, it's that he's wearing Versace and partying with Madonna. (References intentionally dated and out of touch, in line with the Sex in the City-era provincialism of the Post's restaurant "reporting").

And it hurts the Kobe producers the way that any hyped and lauded deception hurts any honest producer or creative endeavor.

#34 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

John, I was addressing Tom Sietsema's spending an entire paragraph being awe-struck by the $40 Kobe hot dog in his review of The Old Homestead and shuddering in ecstasy after a laying on of hands by PR preachers speaking in tongues in many similar instances since.


Foul. I dined at Old Homestead with Tom (did not get the Kobe hot dog), and this review was written surely six years ago. Nobody knew about Kobe deception back then - not him, not me, not you, not anyone.

I'm sure that hot dog tasted good, but I've been saying this since 2004. Nobody understood what I was saying back then, and quite honestly I wonder how many people understand it even now.

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#35 Michael Landrum

Michael Landrum

    hammerhead

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

Banana Boat - not day boat, but it's a good song, makes me think of the Caribbean - oxtail, salt fish, and goat curry.

Eric, I was riffing off the "Day-O's" and the "Daylight come and me want go home's" of the song.

Time to drink my rum.

#36 Michael Landrum

Michael Landrum

    hammerhead

  • Validating
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 945 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:58 PM

Foul. I dined at Old Homestead with Tom (did not get the Kobe hot dog), and this review was written surely six years ago. Nobody knew about Kobe deception back then - not him, not me, not you, not anyone.

I'm sure that hot dog tasted good, but I've been saying this since 2004. Nobody understood what I was saying back then, and quite honestly I wonder how many people understand it even now.

No one on your and Tom's side of the restaurant business, maybe. That's what made it so easy to get away with.

People on my side of the business have always known.

And no one ever needed a degree to see the stupidity of turning Kobe--even if, nay, especially if, it did indeed exist--into a hot dog or a hamburger. Not then, not now. And yet it still goes on...

And the fact that it was written over six years ago and people are still falling for this bullshit is exactly my point.

But hey, now we're pre-cumming at the thought of a $65 taco-based tasting menu (and feeling ripped off that we just paid $130 for the same thing at a Washington Post-owned Living Social event)...

#37 jayandstacey

jayandstacey

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 798 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

I'm sure that hot dog tasted good, but I've been saying this since 2004. Nobody understood what I was saying back then, and quite honestly I wonder how many people understand it even now.

In aesthetics, this is (or used to be) known as intentionalism vs. interpretation. This came to head in the popular media recently with the death of Thomas Kinkade, who brought framed joy to Applebee's goers, but the scorn of critics who claimed he rarely touched a canvas - he either just modified other's prints...or had his factory employees create the canvases. Who was right?

So it is with Kobe beef, not able to satisfy any intentionalist epistomology but seemingly surviving, even thriving with the masses. Like Thomas Kinkade, the one who makes the most money, for better or worse, is the one who plays the arbitrage of these two worlds.

The only defense, as I've said, is to culturally devalue the "kobe" name by promoting and educating about the "Kobe" name. I doubt it'll happen with 100% success, BUT...it might be a good way for us to differentiate (especially in another town) the trying restranteurs vs. the taking advantage restranteurs when chosing where to dine.

#38 deangold

deangold

    Brunello Riserva

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,891 posts

Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

The sad reality to my taste is that Snake Riiver Waygu simply put, ain't nothing special. It is what is typically is sold as American Kobe even as they somewhat correctly call it Waygu {it is actually what is called a wangus: waygu crossed with angus} and it is just fatty beef.

I have had true Kobe in Little Tokyo of LA straight from Japan {and quite illegal in those days} at a Kaiseki restaurant where it was cooked on a hot stone for 15 seconds a side table-side. I had to have an introduction from a sushi chef I knew to be allowed to reserve at the restaurant. It was also 40 a plate back then. I have never desired it again as it was so over the top but I am glad I have had the real thing.

And much like Barney, do we really need to discuss Thomas Kinkade?

#39 B.A.R.

B.A.R.

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 946 posts

Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:18 AM

Lewis Black weighs in

Brian Reymann
I'm in the business but content here solely my own and is not associated with my employer at all.

Sometimes, I try to disassociate myself from my own opinions.


#40 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

New York Post reports that all the BLT restaurants-- Steak, Fish, and Burger-- are among the first restaurants to get REAL Kobe beef now that the embargo has been lifted. Will DC's restaurant share the wealth?


Melissa's post was written back in 2006. BLT Steak was always offering "Kobe" beef at *insane* prices - can we infer from the Forbes article that it was bogus, i.e., not Kobe, all along?

BTW, the New York Post writer, Steve Cuozzo, describes Japanese Kobe (or, Wagyu) perfectly. In particular, this paragraph:

"To my taste, the difference between U.S. Wagyu and Japanese is even more pronounced than between ordinary American beef and American Wagyu, which I've found slimy on the tongue and without the concentrated flavor of dry-aged USDA Prime."

matches my opinion exactly. The difference between U.S. Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu is indeed much more pronounced than between ordinary U.S. beef and U.S. Wagyu. I couldn't have stated it any more succinctly.

dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)


#41 Poivrot Farci

Poivrot Farci

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 479 posts

Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:48 AM

Countering the recent attention given to fraudulent claims of crab meat origin and the Pepsi crab-challenge into today’s food section, the Washington Post helps to perpetuate misleading labeling of “grass-fed” beef in “A Perfect Steakhouse Experience”.

The source of my immense satisfaction: grass-fed, organic beef from Piedmont Ridge in Maryland.


Bourbon Steak makes no assertions of “grass-fed” or “organic" beef on their menu, neither does the Piedmont Ridge website but such marketing merits are heralded in the article. All steers are grass-fed. Fewer than 5% of the beef raised in the US is 100% grass-fed. Even less is shady "prime". Its bullshit and dilutes whatever quality and integrity is left in this industy rife with fraud.
Select-grade journalism for suckers.

#42 jayandstacey

jayandstacey

    hammerhead

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 798 posts

Posted 04 July 2012 - 02:27 PM

Countering the recent attention given to fraudulent claims of crab meat origin and the Pepsi crab-challenge into today’s food section, the Washington Post helps to perpetuate misleading labeling of “grass-fed” beef in “A Perfect Steakhouse Experience”.

Bourbon Steak makes no assertions of “grass-fed” or “organic" beef on their menu, neither does the Piedmont Ridge website but such marketing merits are heralded in the article. All steers are grass-fed. Fewer than 5% of the beef raised in the US is 100% grass-fed. Even less is shady "prime". Its bullshit and dilutes whatever quality and integrity is left in this industy rife with fraud.
Select-grade journalism for suckers.


You obviously know the beef industry. I do not. Any tips on what to positively look for when seeking quality? Either in terms of real grades, or even just 'here's a few sources that sell consistent quality meat'? A link, or maybe something you've written on another post?

I feel like meat is a little like buying furniture or worse, jewelry. I know what looks OK to me, but I have a hard time judging any quality until I'm disappointed well after the purchase...like a couch that sags a year later, jewelry that comes apart or meat that's just not tasty.

What are your decisions/questions when buying?

(PS, I've done nothing to deserve an answer, you don't owe me one. But I'd trust yours and promise to make good use of it)

#43 Gary Tanigawa

Gary Tanigawa

    ventworm

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 169 posts

Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:55 PM

WSJ reports that "the first [legal] shipment, about 170 kilograms from five cows will be delivered to two steakhouses in San Francisco."

#44 darkstar965

darkstar965

    leviathan

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,877 posts

Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:58 PM

You obviously know the beef industry. I do not. Any tips on what to positively look for when seeking quality? Either in terms of real grades, or even just 'here's a few sources that sell consistent quality meat'? A link, or maybe something you've written on another post?

I feel like meat is a little like buying furniture or worse, jewelry. I know what looks OK to me, but I have a hard time judging any quality until I'm disappointed well after the purchase...like a couch that sags a year later, jewelry that comes apart or meat that's just not tasty.

What are your decisions/questions when buying?

(PS, I've done nothing to deserve an answer, you don't owe me one. But I'd trust yours and promise to make good use of it)


As a simply enthusiastic consumer with ridiculously less knowledge about this than Poivrot Farci and others, I'm interested in any answer to your questions also. I have learned to ask at good meat purveyors (have done this at Brabo and Stachowski's, among others) a two-part question. First, is the beef pastured or grass-fed? Second, is it grass-finished? It's that finishing which makes so little of the US supply 100% grass fed. A great example of this is Martin's beef in VA. Super flavor, sold at Brabo, small producer. But grass finished because the rancher believes it produces better marbling and flavor. Martin's has been at this a very long time and, from flavor and pricing perspectives, the product seems to really be top notch. I wonder if experts would rate it lower because it's not 100% grass? And, if so, why?

Cool about the WSJ report, btw. Will look forward to maybe trying the real thing (if it's not 1000 bucks for dinner!) when it makes its way east.

#45 DonRocks

DonRocks

    leviathan

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,639 posts

Posted 03 August 2013 - 02:12 PM

I was in the McLean Balducci's deli section today (great prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella, and basil panini, btw), and noticed two large pre-packed Snake River Farms "American Kobe Beef" products, probably fifteen pounds each, wrapped in plastic, and ready for slicing. One was a roast beef, and the other was corned beef. From what I could see on the ingredients lists, there were about five types of sodium compounds used as preservatives.

 

Having little doubt I could find the products' labels on the internet, I didn't pay all that much attention, but I'm having trouble locating them. Anyway, next time you're in there, go over and have a good laugh. Or cry.


dcdining.com - Restaurant Reviews - Facebook <--- LIKE Meeeeeeee! Twitter <--- FOLLOW Meeeeeeee!

If you're a member here, please Friend me personally on Facebook (send me a message with your screen name, please, so I know which member you are!)






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users