We’ve heard of plenty of instances of kobe and wagyu beef fraud. After all, it’s actually pretty tough (and expensive) for a restaurant to get its oven mitts on either cut of marbleized, Japanese-style beef (As a reminder, kobe beef has to come from the island of Kobe in Japan, while wagyu beef need only come from Japanese wagyu bulls and can be raised elsewhere).
But Azure Restaurant & Bar in Toronto has not only been busted for selling fake wagyu beef, but it has also been accused of at least 19 other counts of menu fraud, including falsely claiming to serve homemade salad dressing, and mislabeling farmed salmon and wild. “Freshly squeezed” orange juice being sold for $6 was actually bottled, and several frozen, processed ingredients were used in the making of several pricey menu items.
The restaurant has been cited by the Canadian Food Inspection agency for at least 20 counts of food misrepresentation between 2013 and 2015. The most egregious offense in most gourmands’ minds — the fake wagyu beef — actually was a strip steak from a lesser breed of cow.
The restaurant immediately took action after the fraudulent menu concerns were addressed:
Alexi Hakim, general manager at the Intercontinental Hotel where Azure is located, told the Star that, to his knowledge, the issues were addressed “on the spot” in most cases. Hakim defended the restaurant, saying that none of the errors were “malicious” and simply reflected the woes of operating a large restaurant with a changing, seasonal menu.
“If there were any violations, we have corrected them and corrected them immediately,” he told The Star. “We have put strict rules in place to prevent such violations moving forward.”