Sunday, December 29, 2019

New Smokehouse in Town

I came to Henry at Rosewood Hong Kong with a lot of expectations when I was invited for a dinner tasting there just a few weeks ago.. A proper steakhouse was few and far between in Hong Kong, especially if I started counting out those with style but no substance. With the hotel owner eager to please and spare no expense in doing so, and with Chef Nate Green, which came with a reputation for being a grill expert from his days at Rhoda, at the helm, there's every reason to be hopeful.

The space was impressive, sharing the same floor as other F&B outlets of the hotel. The setting was said to replicate the atmosphere of Southern smokehouse grill, a nod to the hotel chain's Texan root. Right next to the entrance is the meat room where most of the steak was kept and processed in the temperature and humidity controlled enclosure. Apart from the dining room which was spacious, comfortable and well-polished in industrial chic theme, there's a separate kitchens for hot and cold dishes, a well-stocked bar with long counters, and balcony for those who wanna enjoy the view of TST East (or more likely for a quick puff) Everything you expected from an upscale steakhouse.

Over the course of the evening with a few friends sharing the long table, we managed to try a number of dishes, meat-focused of course. Of the few starter courses we had, my favorites were the "Butcher's Shop Terrine" and beef tartare. The terrine was made in-house with good mix of meat and fat and nuts, cured with the right balance of flavor with a firm but juicy texture. The beef tartare came with great flavor too, though I would prefer a creamier aioli to blend with the meat for better texture. I also liked the punchy flavor of the Crab Louie salad, with picked crab meat, tomatoes, baby gem lettuce, half-boiled egg and mixed in with creamy Oyster Louie dressing.

Chef Nate came to our table with the few main courses he prepared for us. First was the bone-in ribeye, coming from a Texan ranch and continue to go through the long aging process in-house before grilled in open-fire and finished with a bourbon flambe done at the table. Great texture no doubt, tender with well-balanced fat content (especially those towards the middle of the cut), but it didn't quite come with the rich meaty taste I expected from a long-aging piece of meat. That's when the choice of house-made sauces coming to rescue - my favorite was the smoky bernaise sauce which paired well with the rustic flavor of the steak.

The other one was the tomahawk, slightly leaner and slightly more flavorful, well-seared with a crispy crust, which I thought was the better of the two this evening. I could totally imagine the leftover made perfect steak sandwiches the next day. Rounding up our meat main courses was the brisket, with the meat coming from SoCal. A flavorful crust from the dry rub used to marinate, the slightly crispy bark and a mild tint of smoke ring right underneath the layer of fat, with the fattier-than-usual meat and served with the espresso BBQ sauce on the side. By consensus that’s the best of the three. We also had a few side dishes too – I especially like the broccolini with fennel and anchovy dressing, and the grilled whole garlic that was served along with the steaks.

Desserts followed the same theme with something on fire. The baked Alaska was done with much fanfare in the traditional way of finishing with flambe at the table, and I love the peanut butter icecream that went with it. The rotisserie pineapple was another one I enjoyed – burned marshmallows, pineapple and mango relish and tortilla icecream – came uncompromisingly sweet.

Had a few drinks that went along with our meal. Not the best old-fashioned I had to start (plus it took the bartender a good 20 minutes to make - God knows why), but the two wines poured were on-point, especially the cab from the Central Coast. Typical new world red with full body, lots of black fruits and some tannins at the end which carried well with the steaks and meats.

Overall it's still a work in progress given it’s only just opened, but I could totally see the potential of this being the place to be in this side of town once they sort out the teething issues and get into the rhythm. With the ability to source meats from all the artisan producers around and with the passionate and knowledgeable team, the place just need more time to run in.

When? December 10 2019
Where? Henry, Level 5, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
Menu Highlights? Seven Pepper Beef Brisket with Espresso BBQ Sauce
2015 Alheit Vineyards 'Cartology' Bush Vines, Western Cape, South Africa
2015 J.Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

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