The DC area has its fair share of expensive sandwiches, whether it’s the $24 jambon e beurre (translation: ham and butter) at Mirabelle or the five-pound Lil’ Petey at Bub and Pop’s for a cool $50 (or queasy $0 if you eat it in 15 minutes). But now there’s a new king of spendy sandwiches in town: the $100 wagyu katsu sando at Bourbon Steak, just in time for cherry blossom season.
Luxe wagyu katsu is a all the rage in Japan. Just how American chefs take a humble burger and “elevate” it with truffles and foie, the katsu—a convenience store staple—goes gaudy when the finest beef is swapped in for the traditional pork cutlet. Newish chef Drew Adams, who comes to the Georgetown steakhouse from Rose’s Luxury and the Dabney (among other kitchens), is the first to offer one a la carte in DC. (Kobo sometimes offers a version as part of its prix-fixe.)
The star of the sando is richly marbled A5 Miyazaki beef, which goes for at least $102 on Bourbon Steak’s dinner menu (and up to $295 for a tasting). Instead of the classic panko breading, Adams sears and then bastes the meat in its own abundant fat to get a crisp outer texture. It’s tucked in a homemade Parker House milk bread bun with pickled turnips and sauced with a caramelized rutabaga puree that’s a nod to sweet-salty tonkatsu sauce. Wild watercress from Virginia’s Leaping Waters Farm—typically eaten by the grass-fed cattle—accents the plate.
And since no outrageously expensive dish is complete without outrageously expensive accoutrement: the sando is served in a carved cherry blossom wood box (nope, can’t take that home unless you’re a thief). The suggested pairing is extremely rare Yamazaki 18-year Mizunara Japanese whiskey—claimed to be the only bottle in DC. Pours start at $201 per ounce.
Bourbon Steak’s katsu is running for the length of the Cherry Blossom festival in the lounge and restaurant, but Adams says they may keep it on the menu for the long haul.
“Obviously we want to put up the best thing, regardless of whether it’s for 1,000 people or one,” says Adams.