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07.01.2017

EssPress

Meat | Pure lust

       15. January 2014       

It’s a pleasure, it’s an art and it is one of the most precious and expensive products that you can eat: steak. In the capital there are a handful of chefs who excel in quality meat. So, who’s got the best and where does it come from?  

The man is a perfect advert for successful cattle breeding. The corpulent and eloquent Australian David Warmoll is touring Europe. And Michael Böhnke, head chef from Grill Royal, doesn’t want to miss the chance to invite the Australian along to try his wagyu beef and entrecôte. Let’s get straight to the point – it is simply fantastic. Warmoll has a lot to talk about, and does so amusingly. He immediately destroys the myth that the Japanese regularly massage their precious cows from the Kobe region with sake. ‘These cows are a valuable resource for a family. The animals deserve a bit of attention now and then. And when a little sake is blown over their fur, it glitters wonderfully.’ So, the daily massage doesn’t happen in Japan, and also not in Australia. Shame.

‘Entrecôte has six, roast beef between seven and eight.’ Great. What exactly is he going on about? The grade of marbling. With this flavor carrier and enhancer the meat has a more intensive taste. In Europe marbling is measured from 0 to 9+. In Japan the benchmark goes up 12. ‘As we started breeding Wagyus in Australia 22 years ago and produced our first meat 15 years ago we were, my brother and I, thrilled by its quality. Today the Australian wagyu meat comes to Berlin, where it is delivered shrink-wrapped to Grill Royal. ‘It is then hung for approximately 2 days, to dry and drain. This is due to its journey. Aging isn’t necessary for this meat.

It’s normal to talk about dry and wet aging, explains Tilo Roth, head chef of The Grand. Together with Rico Schlegel he searches for very special cattle: mature cows from East Frisia and Schleswig Holstein. Rico Schlegel ‘refines’ the meat, dry ageing it for 35 days on the bone. This is relatively long. Usually only 14 days to 3 weeks are used in wet aging. Beef must always be hung, or else it’s tough. But dry aging is slightly risky. The process can’t be completely controlled and the meat loses weight. With wet aging not. Therefore the latter process is preferred for cost. More and more quality-conscious customers want to know where their steak comes from and what conditions it has been kept in.

The crust is the trademark of the steaks in the Brooklyn Beef Club. They are roasted in the same way as in good American steakhouses. During his time in New York Alexander Schmidt-Vogel discovered his passion for American steak culture; his role model the Bull & Bear Steakhouse. ‘We want to be so good that we could survive in New York.’ Apparently this seems to be working out, as proven by regular diners such as the former US ambassador Philip D Murphey.

The meat in Schmidt-Vogels steakhouse Brooklyn Beef Club is Black Angus and comes ‘from the US mid-west’. The chef doesn’t want to reveal more about his source, but gladly explains the meat gets its exceptional quality from long dry aging – 4 weeks en-route to Europe.

Not only in American steakhouses does aging and fat content play a significant role. Excellent grilled meat is a permanent fixture of Italian cuisine. But when people think about Italian cuisine, it’s mostly pizza and pasta, not Bistecca, the Italian version of steak, that comes to mind. ‘The first months were difficult for us’ says the chef from To Beef or not To Beef, Giacomo Mannucci, but the Italo-grill restaurant is becoming more and more popular. Also here the meat has a long aging process behind it – ‘frollatura’ in Italian – and comes from a special source, namely the Tuscan organic butcher Dario Cecchini. Mannucci’s internship was with the Tuscan butcher, better to learn his particular quality demands. ‘In my life, I’ve not eaten better meat than there.’ The best prerequisite for his Berlin restaurant where you can, not only experience bistecca alla Fiorentina, but also panzanese, another Tuscan meat specialty.  

Out now! Taste Berlin and turn to the center pages to experience Berlin's unique flavor in English.
 

To Beef or not To Beef, Akazienstraße 3, Berlin-Schöneberg, tel. +49 30 54 59 90 47, www.tobeefornottobeef.de

Brooklyn Beef Club, Köpenicker Straße 92, Berlin-Mitte, tel. +49 30 20 21 58 20, www.brooklynbeefclub.com

Grill Royal, Friedrichstraße 105b, Berlin-Mitte, tel. +49 30 28 87 92 88, www.grillroyal.com

The Grand, Hirtenstraße 4, Berlin-Mitte, tel. +49 30 27 89 09 95 55, www.the-grand-berlin.com


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