Delmonico Cut Steakhouse: a steak is as good as meat its made from
- A restaurant is as good as its head chef is. It’s his or her actions that define a restaurant’s success. When it comes to a steakhouse, things look a bit different. A steakhouse is as good as its steaks are, which means it’s as good as meat that steaks are made from. Meat is the most important – says Wiesław Stopa, owner of Delmonico Cut Steakhouse in Gdańsk.
Delmonico Cut Steakhouse is the only place in Poland, and one of the few in Europe, where meat comes from a dedicated farm. Before Wiesław Stopa opened a steakhouse in Sopot (it no longer exists), and then in Gdańsk, in a prestigious location, Szafarnia 11 street, he had invested in a cattle farm. His choice was the Japanese wagyu. He was the first in Poland to come up with this idea. Today, his cattle farm in Kaszuby comprises up to 200 cows, calves, and bulls. Cattle is grazed far from civilisation, among green, ecological, Kashubian pastures.
We have spoken to Wiesław Stopa about a perfect steak, and steakhouse philosophy in Poland.
Pomorskie Tourist Board (PTB): - Why have you decided to become a breeder of the Japanese wagyu cattle?
Wiesław Stopa: - First of all, I had known that in order to open my own steakhouse, I had to have my own farm. I didn’t want to rely of meat from the free market. Wagyu breed is relatively new to restaurant business, it has been spoken of more a bit more than a decade. So, why wagyu? I will take the US classification as a point of reference, as this is the country of the beast steaks. Basically, each meat has different marbling scores, which means different amounts of intramuscular fat. If there is no fat in the meat, the steak will come out mediocre at best. The best American steak is prime beef. And where prime beef ends, wagyu begins.
Our animals are slaughtered when they are around three years old, much later than any other breed. In case of this breed, marbling process begins quite late, when the animals have reached 18 months of age.
We tell our guests: we know what we serve, and we could stick our necks for our meat. Our farm is located deep in the Kaszuby region, far away from big cities. We pay close attention to each stage of production. There are no hormones or antibiotics in the meat that we produce.
PTB: - How can we recognise a perfect steak?
Wiesław Stopa: - All depends on meat. Every chef, even an unexperienced one, knows that you cannot grill meat longer than three minutes (per side). This requires precision. The quality of meat also depends on the way it aged. This is something not everyone knows – after leaving the slaughterhouse, meat undergoes ageing process that lasts around 30 days. In our case, it’s dry ageing A perfect steak is delicate, and has an appropriate aroma. And, of course, proper degree of marbling. It is fat that is the carrier of flavour. An unmarbled steak will never be good.
PTB: - There are many kinds of steaks. How to keep track of all of them?
Wiesław Stopa: - On the contrary, there are not many kinds of steaks. The distinguished Peter Luger steakhouse from New York serves porterhouse steaks for one, two, three, or four people. This is the classification that the owners have assumed. Porterhouse is simply the famous t-bone steak, but larger, cut from the rear. We use American naming and classification, as it provides clarity For example, the New York Strip is part of both t-bone and porterhouse steaks. On the other hand, meat from rib primal, with the bone attached, is called the Rib Steak. It’s most commonly served as the Rib Eye, without the bone, and cut. If marbling level is high, we can get several more steaks, such as the Denver Steak from beef primal cut. If it comes from wagyu beef, we call it Zabuton Steak.
PTB: - In Delmonico Cut Steakhouse guests are to focus on the steak. They are not distracted by sidings, and if there are any, they are very subtle.
Wiesław Stopa: - First and foremost, we prepare our steaks on a professional grill. There are two methods of preparing a steak. Famous steakhouses, such as the American Morton’s or Wolfgang’s, us infrared gas grills. Their screens release heat from top, which prevents fat from burning, and infrared rays make heat penetrate the meat in a different way. We also use such grilling method. There are also steakhouses that use charcoal-fuelled grills, but this is a real tour de force.We serve our steaks on a simple, cast-iron pan that has been pre heated. This allows it to keep the meat at proper temperature. It takes a while for the meat to get from the grill to the plate, hence the pans. Steaks come with a rosemary twig, or smashed garlic clove. There are guests, however, who prefer the meat without any sidings at all. The meat on its own has to be a 100% culinary experience.
Photos: Łukasz Stafiej (www.lukaszstafiej.pl)
Delmonico Cut Steakhouse
ul. Szafarnia 11, 80-755 Gdańsk
phone +48 533-318-067