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#50 Chianina - Long Beach

Rating: 4.5 cows


It’s not every day you get to visit a steakhouse with its own herd of cattle, but this was our situation on a Sunday evening in Long Beach as we prepared for Steakout #50. Chianina (pronounced Key-a-nee-na) opened in December 2013, on Naples island in Long Beach’s East end. Owned by local restauranteur Michael Dene, Chianina’s claim to fame is owning their own private herd of cattle from which their most exclusive steaks are cut. Chianina is the name of an Italian breed of cattle, not widely known here in the U.S.

The exterior is unassuming, and the interior is modern and minimalist. Some of us arrived early and partook of the Happy Hour specials—$8 for select cocktails and a tantalizing $32 steak dinner that was half off. Being (hungry) men of science, we ordered the steak to split, along with our cocktails. The meal came with fries and a salad. Three of us split it, and every piece was executed well. The salad was crisp and fresh, the fries were above average, and the steak was tender and well-cooked (but not well-done). It’s hard to imagine a better appetizer for our dinner. The complimentary truffle popcorn was also a nice touch.

The dining room at Chianina is small, with room for only about 15 tables. The bar overlooks the dining area with about 12 stools facing a few television screens. The atmosphere isn’t loud, but neither is it quiet. There is lots of grey here. The walls and much of the furniture are adorned in one or another shade of it.

For our meal, we sampled the very best Chianina has to offer. Four of us split their signature Bisteca alla Fiorentina (porterhouse) which clocked in at a delectable 55oz (MP $290). We ordered the Beef Tasting ($115), featuring 4oz selections of NY Strip from three varieties of beef—the namesake Chianina, Prime Black Angus, and American Wagyu. Rounding out our order was the Piedmontese NY ($48) and the Petite Filet Mignon ($42). For sides we ordered the Brussels sprouts, carrots, gnocchi, and the potatoes au gratin. We also kicked things off with the Caesar salad, which was every bit as good as most steakhouse variations, but failed to really stand out. That’s OK though, we didn’t come here for the salad.

On to the main course. Steaks. In a word, they were fantastic. The Bisteca is no joke, a gargantuan steak closing in on around 2” in thickness. The steak was table-filleted and one of the best cuts of meat we’ve tasted. It was flavorful, juicy, and cooked to perfection. When we ordered, our waitress cautioned our “rare plus” preference, telling us that the steaks are “true to ordering”. This threw us for a bit of a loop, since we’ve yet to have a rare plus steak that felt too raw. She was right however—the rare plus steaks we ordered were cooked exactly right, and they were delicious. Somewhere there may be footage of Geoff gnawing on the porterhouse bone, protecting his “precious”.

The Beef Tasting was excellent as well, though the Chianina cut (which tends to be leaner) wasn’t the favorite. Instead, the Prime Black Angus won the taste test with the Wagyu coming in a close second. That’s not to say the Chianina wasn’t delicious—it was—but it may be our tastes prefer a slightly more marbled variation. 

The NY and Filet were also top notch and both were expertly prepared. The NY gets the edge in this case, the filet was a touch drier than we would have liked. That said, if filet mignon is your steak of choice, ordering it likely won’t disappoint. True to its cut, the NY had rich marbling and a robust flavor, triggered by the nice char on the outside.

The sides were definitely above average, with the Brussels sprouts a standout here. They were crispy and cooked with a basalmic reduction and cracked hazelnuts—probably the best interpretation we’ve yet tried. The gnocchi was tender, but lacked flavor. The au gratin were good, but it’s pretty hard to mess that up. The carrots and greens were pretty good too, and a pleasant departure from the standard steakhouse side dish offering.

Closing out the evening was a banana, caramel and chocolate ganache concoction. None of us were really hungry, but a few bites of that was a great way to close out the night.

It was not hard to rate Chianina. This place is solid on just about every front. The drinks, steaks, sides, service—it’s all really good and we highly recommend it. It’s not always easy for us to agree, but our 4.5 Cow rating was practically unanimous. Thanks Chianina for helping us celebrate our big 5-0!

Chianina Photos

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