Can't handle a 1-kilo steak? Bistecca slims down

By Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 02 2013 07:35 PM | Updated as of Apr 03 2013 08:49 PM

The new 500-gram steaks at Bistecca are meant to be shared by a couple. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA, Philippines – Bistecca, the upscale steak house in Rockwell known for its 1-kilogram steaks, is “downsizing” its portions as it recently unveiled its new menu.

Chef Miguel Gianan said the restaurant has introduced 500-gram steaks, which can be shared by two people, as well as expanded its selections of “bistro” steaks for one. The new menu also features new starters and other dishes.

“We are a sharing place. We are known for our one kilo and above steaks,” Gianan said, citing the restaurant’s most popular steak, the Bistecca 122, a one-kilogram USDA bone-in ribeye roast that can be shared by four people.

The restaurant, in fact, took its name from the bistecca alla Florentina, which is served here as a 1.4-kilogram USDA porterhouse. The largest steak on the menu, meanwhile, is the 3.2-kilogram Sunday Rib Roast, which is recommended for up to 10 people and must be ordered a day in advance.

“That's the concept of Bistecca. Filipinos love to share their food,” Gianan said, noting that, as shown by the bistecca alla Florentina, “the way the Italians eat their steak is to share also.”

But serving big steaks also requires a longer cooking time, with the chef noting that a kilo of steak would need 30 to 45 minutes to prepare. And some customers just don’t have the time to enjoy such luxury, especially on weekday lunch.

“During lunch time, we only have an hour break so with the bistro steaks, it’s more pocket-friendly and faster pa,” Gianan explained, noting that the typical lunch customers of the restaurant right now are executives who are having a lunch meeting with their steaks ordered in advance, or vacationers who are not in a hurry.

The old menu featured only four steaks for one but Gianan is introducing more varieties, including his version of the traditional German dish jaeger schnitzel but using a hunter sauce; the breakfast classic steak and eggs; the Italian tenderloin saltimbocca; the French steak au poivre or pepper steak; sirloin steak with Jack Daniel’s sauce; and bacon steak and sausage.

The 500-gram steaks are also new to the menu. Gianan boasted that these “smaller” sized steaks for two -- Certified Angus t-bone, ribeye and the premium ribeye -- are aged for at least seven to 14 days. “That's for the couples to share. The guests are looking for something quicker and then good for two so there you go. That's why we have the 500 grammers,” he said.

“The beauty of this is I age it myself. We age it for seven to 14 days, wet aging and then the butter finish. Wet aging makes the beef more tender,” he added.

Trio of fillets. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

There’s also a trio of steaks fillets, consisting of surf and turf, steak diane and a butter-finished steak, which the chef described as “really different” as this brings out more of the flavor of the beef.

Flavored salts are offered to guests. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

At Bistecca, diners are also given flavored salts (such as chili and garlic truffle) and flavored oil (such as rosemary and garlic and lemon-flavored), which they can drizzle on their steaks to give the beef another dimension.

The new menu also features new appetizers such as the King Prawn Cocktail, Chorizo and New Zealand Mussels, Steak and Sausage in beer beur blanc sauce, and Steak Poutin a la Bistecca, which is French fries smothered in gravy and cheese and topped with steaks.

King Prawn Cocktail. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

The prawn cocktail was first offered as part of the restaurant’s Valentine specials and the dish, with its refreshingly spicy homemade cocktail sauce made from a mix of ketchup, horseradish, Tabasco, Perrin’s and others proved to be a hit among diners.

Gianan also announced the introduction of a sausage bar that will include bratwursts, chorizo, the spicy habanero and Italian sausages.

Four Cheese Truffle Mac and Cheese. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com

Those who want a break from the steaks can also order the Four Cheese Truffle Mac and Cheese, which uses Provolone, Parmesan, Gauda and Emmenthal cheeses and topped with homemade bacon and arugula.

And what better way to end your meal than with a Strawberry Zabaglione. Other dessert options include the Smores (meant for sharing), its version of the bread pudding, and the choco lava cake, among others.

Strawberry Zabaglione. Photo by Vladimir Bunoan for ABS-CBNnews.com