In the picturesque Kashubian Switzerland (Szwajcaria Kaszubska, a part of the Kashubian Lakeland), cows are grazing in a protected ecological area. A seemingly ordinary scene, and yet… these are not the ordinary cows that we know from Polish meadows. This is Poland’s only herd of Wagyu cows, which come from faraway Japan. Steak enthusiasts and connoisseurs already know what that means. Wagyu cattle, also known as Kobe, are famous for their meat, the most highly valued in the world, with a characteristic marble-like structure.
Mr Wiesław Stopa – the owner of both the farm and the Delmonico Cut Steakhouse Restaurant in Sopot – believes that the highest quality steaks can be prepared excusively from the highest quality beef: exactly the kind of beef that Wagyu cattle provide. He also believes that the breed itself is not everything – and therefore the herd has the best possible conditions ensured, which many ecological farms could envy. The animals have 240 hectares (0.93 sq mi) of forests and meadows at their disposal, located in the very heart of Kashubia.
The cows are given spring water to drink and are fed with grains from the owner’s ecological crops. Stress-free breeding consists, for example, in giving the animals the possibility of moving freely within the available area at a pace that suits them. Also slaughter is made humanitarian and does not cause additional stress.
The next factor that considerably influences the quality of dishes is the way meat ripens. In most steak houses all over the world we can taste meat that ripens “wet,” usually during transport. In the Delmonico Cut, meat ripens “dry,” in strictly specified conditions. This method is more difficult and more costly – the meat loses even up to 20% of its weight in the process. Still, it allows to bring out the refined taste and savour of beef.
The signature restaurant is situated far from the bustling “Monciak” (Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street, being Sopot’s the main street) and at the same time in the very centre of Sopot, next to the Forest Opera. The location at the Opera Hotel, surrounded by forest, gives the place a rustic character, which is combined with an elegant and refined interior. The restaurant is divided into two rooms in pleasant light colours, with blood-red paintings of bulls on walls that add sparkle to the interior. Those who prefer to enjoy the closeness of nature may sit on a roofed terrace affording a view of the Tricity’s forest.
The restaurant was founded by enthusiasts of good food, with a view to providing good ecological cuisine based exclusivly on natural ingredients. The heart of the menu are, naturally, steaks of select and seasoned beef. Steak prices range from 75 PLN for a Picanha steak and 199 PLN for a Ribeye steak, to 349 PLN for the famous T–bone steak or 399 PLN for Porter House.
The prices may seem high, but we should remember that portions of more expensive items weigh from 700 g to 1 kg and, together with the side dishes, they may constitute a meal for 3-4 people. Since not all kinds and sizes of steaks are available every day, waiters are always ready to assist you in choosing the type, size, and of course the degree of roasting of the meat. Apart from steaks, what you will find on the menu is Wagyu Burghers, grilled chopped steaks with Gorgonzola cheese or shrimps – or, to your special order, a roasted leg of lamb, prepared from the meat of Wrzosówka sheep (Polish heath sheep).
At weekends, you can also order fresh fish that are not on the menu (tench, carp, bream, or whitefish), brought from the Lobelian lakes situated in the “Natura 2000” ecological area.
We decided to begin our visit with ordering a steak because, as we had found out, the meat takes about 40 minutes to prepare. After leaving the freezer, a steak should warm up to room temperature and it is not ready for frying until about 30 minutes later. Meat so exquisite as this does not need many spices – salt and pepper are quite enough.
We chose 2 items: the T-bone steak and the Surf&Turf chopped steak. As an appetizer, we ordered a portion of bone marrow – a delicacy we had never tried before – and Caesar salad, a classic side dish served in almost every steakhouse.
The bone marrow melted in the mouth. Browned on top, with soft cheese and slices of toast, the appetizer had a distinct, slightly salty taste. It was served with a slice of toast and parsley pesto with a strong garlic flavour. We do recommend it.
After the marrow, it was time for salads and steaks. The Caesar salad, a classic dish, was created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini – an Italian chef and restaurant owner in the Mexican city of Tijuana. Legend has it that Cardini invented the salad when, one day, he realised that he had run out of stocks and had to prepare something out of what was left in the pantry. In the Delmonico, we had the most classic version of the Caesar salad – consisting of Roman lettuce, toasts, Parmesan cheese as well as garlic and mustard sauce. Crunchy lettuce and toasts with spicy sauce made up perfect combination with the steaks.
A surf&turf dish is a combination of meat and seafood. The Surf&Turf we ordered was soft and juicy beef accompanied by shrimps and, to our surprise – seasoned with ginger and chili, which went perfectly with this exquisite grilled steak. It was well-browned on top, rosy-coloured in the middle, and delicate in taste, counterpointed by the spicy flavour of the already mentioned ingredients.
A moment later, characteristic sizzling announced the arrival of the culinary hero of our visit: the clasic the T-bone steak, loved by beef fans. It owes its name to the characteristic T-shaped bone, running across the middle of the steak and separating two kinds of meat – rump cut and tenderloin. Two kinds of meat in one steak require special preparation and skills.
The steak was served on a cast-iron pan, accompanied by garlic and a rosemary twig: medium, cut into smaller pieces for convenience. One steak, two kinds of meat, and two different flavours. First, we tried tenderloin – delicate and firm, rosy-coloured inside. We liked it, but only after we had tasted the second part of the steak did the difference strike us.
The second piece, the so-called New York strip, was much more savoury and full of flavour. This is precisely where the strengths of the marble-like structure showed: the meat melted in the mouth, our taste buds went mad, and the level of endorphins reached its peak.
The steak was served with a cream-coloured baked potato with parsley and garlic sauce, and because a good steak calls for good wine – we went for dry red Vina Ardanza la Rioja alta Reserva, which wonderfully complemented our taste experience. After such a culinary knock-out, we excused ourselves and politely declined dessert.
Summing up, the Delmonico Cut Steakhouse is unquestionably every beef connoisseur’s culinary must-visit. The owners’ signature approach makes this place the only one of its kind, and their passion and dedication can be felt in every mouthful of the dishes ordered. We will certainly come back here again!
Bone marrow – 29 PLN
Ceasar salad – 18 PLN
Baked potato with herb butter – 12 PLN
Grilled Surf&Turf chopped steak – 49 PLN
T-bone steak – 349 PLN
Text and photos: Iwona Kowalska
DELMONICO CUT STEAKHOUSE
Stanisława Moniuszki 10, Sopot
Phone: + 48 58 555 56 04
[mapa]Moniuszki 10, Sopot[/mapa]