The documentary “Steak (R)evolution” chronicles the quest for the best steak in the world, the hunt undertaken by Franck Ribière, a first-time director with cattle-breeder lineage, and Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, a top Parisian butcher profiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2012 and an associate producer here.
Reliably, they’ve lined up a veritable who’s who in the world of breeders, boucheries and restaurateurs. For watchers of those Anthony Bourdain programs on the Travel Channel and CNN, the likes of Dario Cecchini of Tuscany, Italy, and David McMillan and Frédéric Morin of Montréal featured here should be no strangers.
You won’t find the typical Cooking Channel sizzling food porn, though. Ribière and Le Bourdonnec get almost hypertechnical with all the cattle breeds, feeds, grades, cuts, marbling, dry-aging and preparation. Nevertheless, most any carnivore would find this absolute torture on an empty stomach.
The film has some revelations: Ribière concedes that the lean steak-frites from back home was hardly the best after sinking his teeth into the fatty hunk of half-filet mignon and half-sirloin at the storied Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn; Japanese wagyu breeder Yuuto Kawagishi readily admits that the daily beer-and-massage regimen for Kobe beef is just a charade; and the steak cut from an entire wagyu ox that fetched 20,000 euros (about $23,000) in auctions was only ranked third in Ribière and Le Bourdonnec’s global survey.
“Steak (R)evolution.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes. Playing: Landmark’s Nuart, West Los Angeles.