Michael Hepworth

Long Beach, CA(Perfect Meal Today)3/11/14/–I got the chance to check out in advance of the official opening Chianina Steak House in the Naples area of Long Beach. This area actually has canals and gondolas as well as some really expensive homes which would seem a natural market for a fine dining steakhouse. Chianina has more going for it as well because it is the third restaurant in the small empire of Michael Dene, who also has Michaels on Naples Italian Restaurant and Michaels Pizza both in the area. These restaurants were voted best Italian restaurant and best pizza restaurant in Greater Los Angeles, so success for Chianina seems assured.

It occupies the space formerly known as Kelly’s, a steak house that had been around for fifty years. Chianina is a far more elegant space with a low acoustic ceiling made out of the kind of ceiling you find in recording studios, and the seats and booths are extremely comfortable. A tasting menu of the kind of offerings available was highlighted by the beef, which according to Dene indicates that “once the Southern California foodie community experiences the Chianina beef for themselves, I don’t think they’ll want another cut f regular steak ever again ; it’s that good.

The reason for the braggadocio optimism is the Chianina Beef which is commonly used in Italy and is world renowned for its muscle mass and lean, tender meat with at least 30% less cholesterol. These cattle are huge and range between 2600 – 4000 lbs, and Chianina has purchased five cows and two bulls to stand at a ranch in Utah. These grass fed livestock which are being organically raised will not be available for consumption however until the summer, and in the interim the restaurant will be using Piedmont meat which I am assured is of a similar quality.

All meats will be butchered in house, and meat from the cows will be used at Michael Dene’s other restaurants. Dave Coleman is the chef in charge of the menu, and he will be doing double duty with his stint at Michaels on Naples without having to drive between the two.

Other small plate offerings tried that will be available from opening day included

Lamb shank. John Dory, a delicious tortellini soup, Dungeness crab and a selection of desserts that were as excellent as the prior offerings. The lighting and acoustics are both just right, and all paints used are low VOC, and the lighting used throughout is LED.

The wood veneer is FSC certified and reclaimed lumber was used in the key parts.

When it comes to the liquor program I was told that about 120 wines will be available with about eight by the glass. The emphasis will be on Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec wines with the geographical choices ranging from California, France, Italy and the new world such as Chile and Argentina. A nice size bar of 17 seats will be far less rowdy than Kelly’s used to be, that features an intricate steel design with glowing amber light boxes overhead and custom bar stools.

Chianina-5716 2nd Street, Long Beach


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