The SBE-owned Emerson Theatre. [Photo: Daniels/Eater LA]
The tony SBE Restaurant Group — which includes Los Angeles sushi restaurants Katsuya, Mediterranean spot Cleo, and the nightclub Hyde Lounge in its portfolio — has settled a class-action lawsuit alleging that the "Kobe beef" sold in its restaurants was not legitimate. In the settlement, diners who purchased Kobe beef from one of SBE's two-dozen California restaurants anytime between August 16, 2008 and October 11, 2013 is eligible for a $20 reimbursement voucher. The settlement also stipulates that "SBE has agreed to cease and desist from using the term 'Kobe' beef, but instead will use the term 'Wagyu' beef or 'American Kobe' beef in its restaurants, bars, or nightclubs."
In an announcement on its official website, SBE "denies all of Plaintiff's allegations," noting that the proposed class-action settlement is not an admission of liability. Plaintiff Erick Lina's original lawsuit accused SBE of negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and false advertising for serving Kobe beef that did not originate from Japan. It also alleged that SBE sold foie gras "in violation of California law," though the settlement class only concerns Kobe customers at this time. Those interested in claiming their $20 are encouraged to visit the e-claim site here.