Kings of Kobe first made waves on New York City’s culinary landscape as a pop-up in Downtown Manhattan pushing the hot dog envelope with all-natural American Wagyu beef dogs graced by such unexpected, yet memorably delicious, toppings as mango-jalapeno relish, romesco sauce, and even a panko crusted soft-shell crab.
The concept’s first brick-and-mortar incarnation debuted in 2017 as a cozy casual eatery in Hell’s Kitchen, where equally inventive wagyu beef burgers joined the menu mix and Kings of Kobe offerings became Instagram stars. Indeed, the Kings of Kobe culinary team, led by founder Etai Cinader, knows no bounds to their Wagyu wizardry as they continuously experiment with ways to showcase their favorite beef.
After shuttering the Hell’s Kitchen location in 2019, Cinader morphed Kings of Kobe into a full-service restaurant when he opened the current Midtown Manhattan West iteration in 2020, adding a beautiful bar featuring signature cocktails, craft beer, and spirits. Two years later, he ventured across the Hudson River to open the largest Kings of Kobe yet in Jersey City.
With a dedication to high-quality ingredients yielding a harmony of flavors and textures, Kings of Kobe ensures a one-of-a-kind experience. One with a sense of whimsical fun engendered by some of the playful names of the dogs and burgers, the likes of Mango? Let’s Tango (Wagyu hot dog, mango-jalapeno relish, lime mayo, crispy onions, bacon bits) and Sergeant Pepper (half a pound or one pound Wagyu patty, Manchego cheese, bibb lettuce, tomato, charred red onion, romesco sauce, bread and butter pickles).
In addition to the whopping number of dog and burger choices, there is a build-your-own option with a staggering list of more than four dozen vegetables, cheese, protein, sauce, relish, and conventional condiment toppings.
Having evolved over the years, the Kings of Kobe menu features something for almost everyone, including vegetarians. And now it boasts the ultimate in Wagyu – a selection of steaks ranging from an 8 oz. sirloin to a 14 oz. ribeye, complemented by an array of house-made sauces.
Kings of Kobe is open daily for lunch and dinner and features seven days a week Happy Hour
What is American Wagyu?
‘WAGYU’ refers to all Japanese beef cattle, where ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow. This choice favors animals with more intra-muscular fat cells (leading to marbling) which proves a reliable source of energy.
Wagyu cattle were first imported in 1975. In 1989, Japan began to reduce tariffs on imported beef, and this encouraged U.S. producers to produce high-quality products for export. Kobe, a city in Japan known for marbled beef, is thought to be the original source of American Wagyu cattle, ultimately brought to the U.S. for breeding.
Most U.S. production was initially exported to Japan. However, when chefs and other cognoscenti began to recognize the superior eating quality of Wagyu, most production transitioned to domestic consumption.
Delicious and tender, the marbled beef of Wagyu makes for an unrivaled eating experience.
And, not only is Wagyu a delight, but it’s likely healthier for you, too. Health experts have determined the ratio of monounsaturated fat to saturated fat to be higher in Wagyu than in other beef. Moreover, the saturated fat in Wagyu is qualitatively different. Forty percent of Wagyu fat is stearic acid, regarded to have a minimal impact on cholesterol levels. Wagyu beef contains the highest amount of something called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA, a fatty acid) per gram of any foodstuff, and CLA is alleged to have both anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.