Try WAGYUMAFIA’s Famous Japanese Wagyu Sando at Parlor & Yard This Weekend

Chef Hamada praises Austin’s “perfect house party feeling”

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and Chef Hisato Hamada (photos courtesy of Pasta | Bar x WAGYUMAFIA)

[Update – Saturday, April 27, 11:42am: This story has been updated to remove mention of the Saturday sandwich pop-up which has been canceled.]

In a brisket-centric food city like Austin, it’s tough to come up with a unique beef-related concept that will really impress local gourmands. But Chef Phillip Frankland Lee – the chef/owner of buzzy restaurants like Sushi by Scratch, Pasta | Bar, and NADC Burger – is up for the challenge.

Enter WAGYUMAFIA, a renegade restaurant pop-up from Tokyo that’s dedicated to showing off Japanese Wagyu beef in all its glory. Lee persuaded the WAGYUMAFIA team (headed up by Chef Hisato Hamada, a self-taught chef and Wagyu aficionado) to host their lively dinner event at Pasta | Bar for the first time last month, and that beefy bacchanal went so well that Lee is welcoming WAGYUMAFIA back for two more nights of elite carnivorous eats on Sunday, April 28 and Monday, April 29.

The Pasta | Bar x WAGYUMAFIA multi-course dinners involve very small seatings of 10 guests each, so we weren’t surprised to learn that they’ve already sold out. But Lee and Hamada have excellent news for those of us who won’t be able to attend these exclusive experiences. This time around, WAGYUMAFIA will be popping up at Parlor & Yard in Downtown Austin on Sunday April 28 to serve what Hamada considers his signature dish: the Wagyu Katsu Sando.

Lee says his collaborative journey with Hamada and WAGYUMAFIA began in 2016. “Hisato and I met back around 2016, and we hosted him for multiple years at the original location of Sushi by Scratch Restaurants and Scratch Bar in Los Angeles last year. He hosted me in Japan to do a sushi pop-up at his restaurant a few months ago, and now we are excited to have our second pop-up together in Austin!” he tells us. Lee is himself a major fan of rich, tender, marbled Wagyu beef; in fact, he serves both Japanese and American Wagyu at Pasta | Bar and Sushi By Scratch and even uses “Japanese Wagyu raised in Texas” for his burger patties at NADC.

At the WAGYUMAFIA dinner, Hamada says that his team will prepare Wagyu beef “exported from our ranch to the States to give our customers in Austin the most authentic WAGYUMAFIA experience.” He views Austin as an ideal location for WAGYUMAFIA’s high-octane service style, even telling us that “I see Austin as a new symbol of America. [The] diversity of people creates the perfect house party feeling, and our origins are house party [inspired] – arrive as strangers, leave as family.”

The Katsu Sando

As for the Katsu Sando pop-up, Hamada explains “we have only done this [sandwich-only pop-up] once in Hong Kong back in 2018. People fly from all over the world to try my Sando, so this time, we'll fly to Austin to serve the people of Texas the Sando ourselves!” Hamada’s Sando, which has been heavily documented on Instagram and enjoyed by celebrities like David Beckham, Ed Sheeran, and Guy Ritchie, consists of premium Wagyu Chateaubriand breaded in Panko and served on Japanese milk bread with Hamada’s proprietary “steak sauce.”

This weekend, Austinites will have their own chance to try this legendary sandwich by swinging by Parlor & Yard on Sunday starting at noon. WAGYUMAFIA’S Katsu Sando goes for $70 for four pieces, and they’ll be available for purchase as long as supplies last ... which probably won’t be for long, so plan accordingly.

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Wagyumafia, Phillip Frankland Lee, Hisato Hamada, Parlor & Yard, Katsu Sando

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