Wagyu Social’s $85 High Roller Is the Most Decadent Burger in NYC
The price point may be worth it — and topping it with aged cheddar or Swiss is only $2
For anyone who owns, works at, or typically frequents a restaurant in New York City, the winter of 2021 has been one of discontent.
The mid-December suspension of indoor dining in the city — which is set to return for Valentine’s Day — forced restaurants to construct elaborate outdoor setups or, in many cases, pivot to a delivery-only business model.
Located on the second floor of a building on East 53rd Street and thus unable to offer diners outdoor accommodations, recently opened Wagyu Social fell into the latter category. Forced to change its business model, Wagyu Social also had to change its menu in order to offer customers premium dishes that were suited for pickup and delivery.
“We initially had an elaborate wagyu menu that was meant to do pop-ups. But because of the shutdown, we said, ‘Okay, we can’t really serve that beautiful menu anymore,”‘ owner Jack Wu tells InsideHook. “We had no choice but to create items that were much easier to serve to customers via delivery. We brainstormed and came up with the idea of doing burgers. It turns out that the feedback has been quite pretty positive. So far, so good.”
Centered around imported Japanese A5 wagyu beef, Wagyu Social’s burger menu contains five offerings, including a katsu burger, teriyaki Burger and curry burger. But at the top of the meaty masthead is the star of the show: The High Roller.
Offered in a limited quantity of just 10 per day, the High Roller features six ounces of 100% premium A5 wagyu topped with foie gras, truffles, radicchio and onion. Priced at $85, the burger is served with pickles and fries on the side, and customers have the option of adding aged cheddar or Swiss for two bucks more.
While the idea of an $87 cheeseburger may seem a bit extreme no matter how mouth-watering it might be, a wagyu burger topped with foie gras and truffles for under $100 is actually a pretty square deal, according to Wu.
“With the ingredients we’re using, the price we’re charging now should be much, much higher,” he says. “We’re trying to introduce Japanese A5 to the market. Hopefully, people can embrace it and like it.”
Based on Wu’s description of what sets Japanese A5 wagyu apart from other varieties of beef, people will.
“Imagine you’re eating sushi,” he says. “You eat a California roll, which is very simple, and then you eat a fatty tuna roll that melts in your mouth. Right away, your eyes lit up. You say, ‘Okay, this is the one I wanted to eat. This is the one that should be out there.’ That’s the difference. When you bite lean meat, there’s really not much juice or kick a lot of times. The moment you bite A5, it just melts in your mouth. The mouthfeel is completely different. The product sells itself. You just have to eat it to understand that.”
Served medium rare to medium unless otherwise requested on a bun from a local bakery, the High Roller was the end product of more than two months of taste testing by Wu, Wagyu Social chef Shin Yamaoka and other members of the restaurant’s team.
“Decades of history have showed us these combinations,” Yamaoka says. “You have the sweetness from the foie gras and some refreshing flavor from the onion. The bitterness from the radicchio is good with the foie gras and truffle. There’s umami, saltiness, peppers, bitterness and sweetness. We tried to put all the elements of flavor into one burger.”
To see if Wagyu Social succeeded, budget out $85. Make it $87 if you want cheese — and don’t forget to tip.
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