Wagyu beef in barbecue or hot pot form has been one of the notable recent restaurant trends in San Gabriel Valley and greater LA area. The latest entrant is called iWagyu, located in the City of Industry, which opened in December 2022 in a gorgeous Japanese-inspired dining room. Other recent openings include Wagyu House by the X Pot in Rowland Heights, Temple City’s Mikiya Shabu Shabu, which claims to be the first all-you-can-eat wagyu shabu-shabu restaurant in Southern California, and Niku X, a yakiniku with chef Shin Thompson at the Intercontinental in Downtown.
iWagyu was originally a high-end, all-inclusive barbecue home delivery service from owner Lawrence Gao during the pandemic that specialized in Japanese beef. The service would deliver everything one would need to do yakiniku at home, including the grill, ingredients, and sauces for a fully elevated Japanese-style barbecue experience with cuts of wagyu from such regions as Miyazaki and Kobe. What was supposed to be a temporary venture ended up becoming so popular that diners from other cities, including the Bay Area, began asking for the service as well.
“We started working on this restaurant more than two years ago, and now it’s finally ready to open. We spent a lot of time renovating and designing the restaurant to fit the vision I had,” says Gao.
iWagyu focuses on giving diners a taste of wagyu from different parts of the world. Gao brought on chef Carson, who spent six years working in restaurant in Japan, to oversee iWagyu’s kitchen. The chef sources meats from Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Hokkaido in Japan, plus Australian and American beef. The menu is organized by two tasting menus, one costing $138 for two people that includes banchan-like appetizers, six different meats, soup, rice and dessert, plus a $188 version with higher-grade meat and a spicy wagyu soup. Numerous other items, from appetizers to prime beef, are available a la carte.
The 4,000-square-foot space opened at the end of December, taking over what used to be a Curry House. The sleek space is adorned with images of Mount Fuji, cranes, sakura, and other Japanese imagery. Similar to X Pot’s model, iWagyu also has a membership program. For an annual fee of $29.99, members can get a discount on each menu item. Gao will also be creating secret menu items for members only that include unique cuts of the wagyu like intestine and other cuts depending on the season. To drink, iWagyu has wine, sake, and beer on the menu. Like its meaty counterparts in eastern SGV, iWagyu should find a steady audience of aficionados in the City of Industry.
iWagyu is open Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at 17865 Colima Road, City of Industry, CA 91748, (949) 468-5609.