Chianina, the Long Beach steakhouse our restaurant critic Patric Kuh awarded three stars earlier this year, may have been turning heads for its meticulously prepared Piedmontese beef, but until recently it’s been missing one thing: it’s namesake breed of cattle.
The restaurant is named after Chianina, an ancient Italian breed of cattle renown for serving as pack animals for Roman legions and for its use in authentic bistecca alla Floretina, a massive grilled steak liberally rubbed with salt and olive oil. Among Italian connoisseurs, Chianina beef is renowned for its muscle mass, which produces meat that is lean, tender, and incredibly flavorful. Chianina cattle are also gigantic, often towering up to 8 feet tall.
“Our customers have been asking for Chianina since before we opened and I’m happy to say that the wait is over,” says Chianina Steakhouse owner Michael Dene. “Chianina is how steak is meant to taste.”
So what took the nine-month-old restaurant so long?
The grass-fed Chianina cattle were being raised in Utah on organic ranch, and recently reached the age necessary for slaughter. Starting this month, two whole Chianina steer are available at the restaurant in a variety of cuts, including a porterhouse cooked bistecca alla Fiorentina style. Once the month’s supply of steaks has ended, the beef will be reintroduced onto the menu on the first Tuesday of every month. Since the meat is limited and first-come, first-serve, the restaurant recommends calling ahead about availability. Sorry, no steak reservations!
As for the rest of the steer (the non-steak part), it will become part of a “whole animal” menu at Dene’s other restaurants, Michael’s on Naples and Michael’s Pizzeria, where it will be used things in Bolognese sauce, appetizers and sides dishes, and a special Chianina burger.
Believe it or not, Chianina Steakhouse is now one of the few restaurant in the United States to feature Chianina beef on a regular basis, according to Dene. Now we know why he thought it was worth naming a restaurant after.
Chianina, 5716 2nd St., Long Beach, 562-434-2333