Love Story

Prepare to fall for the Kobe beef burger.

WHAT CAN YOU say about a cow who died? That it was beautiful. And delicious. That it made every other burger you've ever eaten seem insignificant.

Oceanaire chef Kevin Davis calls his American Kobe beef burger ($14.95) the "platonic form of what you think a steak should taste like." Suffice it to say that it's worth every penny of its 15 bucks and you'll never look at another piece of ground beef without remembering the good thing you once had.

Forget what you know about the exorbitantly expensive Kobe beef made popular in Japan. We've all heard the scoop: The cows are fed beer, regularly massaged to increase their appetites, and sometimes suspended in air (bad news for the animal, yes, but sounds like a dream life to me). Chef Davis is working with a crossbreed of the Japanese Kobe (which precipitates the "most amount of flavoring") and the U.S. Angus ("the most amount of weight")it's a free-range animal that lives for two years premarket.

Enough of the technical stuff, thoughthis beef tastes good. It's a rich, perfectly juicy piece of meat, laden with a generous amount of bleu cheese crumbles and delectably crispy onions (a high-falutin' version of the kind your mom used to top her mushroom-soup-and-green-bean casserole, thank you very much). This isn't the kind of burger to gulp down so you can run off happily to your next pitcher of beernot that such things don't have their place, mind you. It doesn't have that intoxicatingly cheap, come-hither appeal of your average outstanding burger. It wants more of you.

The casual meat eater, who only occasionally has a burger to satisfy a lustful craving, will probably not be able handle the experience. This thing has you for the rest of the day. It's a meal: big beef, big serving, big bun. And Davis is right it does taste like steak. The steak that, as he puts it, you were hoping you'd be able to make when you bought that thick but disappointing cut at the grocery store for your barbecue. This fine offering is a Burger, my friend, and demands respect. You will not leave it quickly, and you will miss it when it is gone.

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