My ten ounce prime US tenderloin steak, a weighty bone-in hunk cooked medium rare, was just about perfect 9 Reviews
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My ten ounce prime US tenderloin steak, a weighty bone-in hunk cooked medium rare, was just about perfect. We wouldn’t have settled for anything less; after all, Manhattan Grill edged the Time Out Best Steakhouse award a few months ago against extremely tough competition. Our visit was merely its regular check-up, to ensure that our all-conquering hero has a clean bill of health. But the buoyantly tasty steak was the highlight of a pleasant but sadly unmemorable meal.
Our last-minute booking was duly rewarded with the table closest to the kitchen, overlooking the lobby. However, when we arrived to take up the worst seats in the house, Manhattan Grill was surprisingly quiet, especially for a Thursday evening. We felt a little adrift from everybody else, a problem the sizzle and roar of the open kitchen couldn’t compensate for. It’s certainly a classy restaurant, all chrome, glass and dark wood, but on this occasion it lacked the busyness and buzz of a venue meant to evoke the bustle of Manhattan. And the jazz music was played at such a low volume it hardly registered.
The appetisers were pleasant rather than exceptional. On my side of the table, coils of thinly-sliced mango deftly constructed into a four storey tower contained a too-small portion of gratinated goat’s cheese – a tasty if uncomplicated dish. Arriving on a tray that took up most of the table, my partner’s freshly shucked oysters were joyously fresh and the red trout caviar was a sweetly contrasting accompaniment.
Our main courses came with two side dishes; caramelised saffron onions and onion rings with a stilton dip. We struggled to detect the saffron in the first dish and the rings didn’t come with their prescribed dip. An apologetic waiter brought out the miniscule bowl of cheese ten minutes later. Straying from the steaky spirit, my partner opted for the spit-roast duck. The fine piece of meat was ably accompanied by seared foie gras and a potato crêpe – textures to neatly contrast with the succulent meat – but paled in comparison to my juicy, light and slightly nutty tenderloin. My dessert, so enthusiastically recommended by the waiter, was rather dull; an apple jelly of heightened fruitiness shrouded in cream. My tablemate’s cherry almond tart was warm, crunchy and sweet but familiar and unexciting.
Service was reliable if slightly overformal – the question ‘will that be all, sir?’ was delivered with an almost sardonic pompousness – and the wine list is immense, but it is unreasonable that so few of the bottles are priced under Dhs200.
We’re sure that Manhattan Grill is still capable of serving up exhilarating meals – perhaps this was just an off-night – but with its stellar past performances lurking in our memory, we couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed.
The bill (for two)
San Pellegrino Dhs22
Laborie merlot Dhs215
Mango salad Dhs55
Tenderloin 10oz Dhs170
Spit roast duck Dhs110
Onion rings Dhs25
Saffron onions Dhs25
Apple jelly Dhs40
Cherry almond tart Dhs40
Total (including service) Dhs792
By Time Out Dubai
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