Friday, May 18, 2018

Classic Steakhouse Dinner

Late last month I was at Grand Hyatt Steakhouse checking out the new menu introduced by their new head chef Fernando Gojan. The restaurant is now one of the few hotel steakhouse remaining in town, featuring a classic menu with focus on “artisanal” beef from ranches around the world, plus seafood, all the sides and desserts, as what you would see in any high-end steakhouses.

I lost track of when I was last eating here (oops, I checked – it’s almost 5 years ago) but I guess not a lot of changes in their classic steakhouse décor, with dim lighting, leather upholstery and dark wooden furniture (plus the cheerful oldies music in the background) They seated us at a large round table at the corner, away from the crowd yet cozy enough for us to talk to everyone at the table. Chef Fernando was originally from Bueno Aires and no stranger to Hong Kong as he spent some time working here before re-joining the Hyatt family for his new position. With him on board, there’s some changes to the menu as well, introducing some new dishes while keeping some of the tried and true ones (like the crabcake and icecream sundaes), and this evening we got to have a taste of some of them.

We started with a pair of oysters from Japan – both the Murotsu and Itoshima oysters were creamy with subtle mineral/sea water flavor and they went down smoothly with a tiny spoonful of mignonette. On the other hand, the Galician Mussels Escabeche was punchy with lots of acidic flavor, but balanced well with the saffron rouille and bread served on the side. The Foie Gras was served in an elaborate manner, flambe with the Grand Marnier sauce at the table by Chef Fernando, and came with the warm sautéed strawberries and toast – the portion is so generous that I doubt anyone could finish that alone. For the fourth appetizer, which is the Maryland Crab Cakes… let’s just say I am almost impossible to be pleased with this dish made anywhere other than that from my adopted home state of Maryland or ones I made at home, and this one was no exception.

We had to remind ourselves to keep our appetite in check because we knew we have quite a number of steak dishes coming, and glad we did, because they came in enormous portion and all of them were really good. Three big pieces of steak from different countries and in different cuts were presented on the wooden board then carved carefully by Chef Fernando to share among us, along with other main courses featured on the menu plus a number of sides. It’s rather hard to tell which piece of steak was better because they were all of very high quality and well prepared, but I guess my favorite – albeit a close call – was the Tomahawk Rib Rye from Ireland’s John Stone, dry-aged and delivered straight from the source to the kitchen at Grand Hyatt Steakhouse. It’s tender with a bit of a bite and full of flavor. On the side a number of sauces and mustards were served – some usual suspects and some rather special, like the truffle mustard made in-house.

We were satisfied enough just with the steak but there’s also a few other main courses – of those my favorite has to be the thick cut bacon, maple and bourbon glazed for that extra sweet taste and charred crust outside the soft and tender meat well-infused with flavor and a hint of smokiness. Someone quipped that as “gwailo’s charsiu” – I could see how that came from with the similar texture. The bone marrow was very decent too – roasted and served in the bone with parsley and parmesan crust on top for that extra tangy taste to balance that fatty flavor. I didn’t get a chance to taste a lot of side dishes, but I did like the truffled fries smothered with grated parmesan cheese, and the glazed baby carrots.

Holding true to the old sayings of “there’s always room for dessert”, we managed to have more than a fair share of sweets at the end as well (despite all the food we have had thus far this evening). The restaurant’s always famous for its sundae selection, made with soft-serve icecream prepared in-house, so we have all five of them to share plus a couple other desserts as well. The Williams Pear Helene Sundae was my favorite with the refreshing pears and pear brandy mixed in the mixed soft icecream and whipped cream on top, and I also liked the apple crumble, served with a scoop of vanilla icecream too. They were probably two of the less stuffy ones so I found them manageable after all the food we have consumed this evening.

I won’t consider myself a “steakhouse person” per se, but if I am craving for a piece of big, fat meat, I will definitely keep this place in mind.

(Dinner was by invitation)

When? April 24 2018
Where? Grand Hyatt Steakhouse, Lobby Level, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Dry-aged John Stone Irish Tomahawk Rib Eye Chop 36 oz
Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV
2007 Chateau La Serre, Saint Emilion Grand Cru AOC

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