When Chianina Steakhouse burst onto the Los Angeles restaurant scene at the very end of 2013, people took notice. The sleek, modern place in the Naples Island section of Long Beach is an inviting place, with a long bar and cozy booths. Serving up Piedmontese beef paired with luscious risottos, pastas or classic Italian salads, the restaurant quickly became a hot ticket.
But in late 2014, Chianina (pronounced key-a-ne-na) turned the world of California steak upside down, with the much-anticipated launch of their monthly "Whole Animal" program.
The spectacular Chianina beef Porterhouse steak — Photo courtesy of Chianina Steakhouse
Owner Michael Dene – he of nearby Michael's on Naples and Michael's Pizzeria fame, as well – planned to have Italian Chianina beef at the restaurant all along and to use the entire steer in his eateries; but once he commissioned a Utah organic farm to raise the animals imported from Italy for the purpose, it took months for them to supply the first cows.
Chianina Steakhouse in Long Beach — Photo courtesy of Chianina Steakhouse
Chianina beef is traditionally raised in Tuscany, and it's known as a lean meat; in fact, a Chianina steak generally has about 30 percent less cholesterol than other cattle breeds.
At Chianina Steakhouse, the result is a melt-in-your-mouth eating experience, be it served as a succulent steak, as a burger or in a sauce. Two whole steers arrive each month from Utah, and then they're butchered in house at Chianina, in preparation for the first Tuesday of the month. That's when the special menu arrives.
As Dene happily explains, "It sells out so quickly, we usually only have Chianina steaks for the first two weeks of the month."
Enjoying this special steak is a pricey experience (Expect to pay over $200 for the Porterhouse.), but most cuts are designed to be shared by two to four diners. And the experience truly is sublime, as Executive Chef David Coleman makes sure that every steak is perfectly prepared. Expect to receive your steak cooked rare or medium rare, for optimum enjoyment. Please don't order it well done, for if you do, you're going to see everyone in the place start to cry.
Note that there are no reservations for the meat itself. It is served on a first-come, first-served basis only.
A luscious filet mignon steak at Chianina Steakhouse — Photo courtesy of Chianina Steakhouse
And it actually isn't all about the Chianina beef here. The side dishes are prepared with care. Try the Russet Gnocchi or the Creamed Tuscan Kale, for example, which are filled with flavor and paired beautifully with either the Chianina or the Piedmontese cuts of meat. And the risotto is sublime all on its own.
The appetizer, salad, raw bar, pasta, vegetable and dessert sections of the menu are all market driven, so they're changeable at any time. But at Chianina, one kind of incredible Italian steak or another is always ready to hit the grill, no matter what time of year you choose to visit.
The inviting interior of Chianina Steakhouse — Photo courtesy of Chianina Steakhouse