Rodeo Grill - Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi
The evening starts with a glass of NV Veuve Cliquot Brut 'Yellow label'. As I savour one of teh ebst NV Champagnes, I admire the staff in their new uniforms - very professional, reflecting the attempt to elevate Rodeo Grill to a serious contender for best steakhouse in Abu Dhabi. My order is taken. With an evening of meat ahead, I forego the temptation to have the steak tartare, and instead choose the Trio of Duck with Spicy mango and the Creamy Burrata Cheese - Grilled artichokes and olives.
|Decanting is more than just ceremony.|
|The Meat Master takes me though the different cuts.|
The Meerlust, meanwhile, is robust, full and intense. It has an unbelievably deep colour. It is fruity, woody and spicy. A great wine at a great price - an excellent wine to keep on the wine list.
Next up, I have the burrata. It has an unusual presentation which breaks from the traditional white on red contrast that you see when it is served with tomatoes. While something is lost in the presentation (lettuce and artichokes do not exactly scream 'colour'!), I enjoy the taste, especially the sourness from the artichokes contrasting with the balsamic.
Having requested my Wagyu beef to be cooked to chef's recommendation, I wait with eager anticipation. The arrival of my Laguiole steak knife is a good sign. It cannot be long now. As usual, despite a great selection of sauce options, I choose too have the beef on its own. On the side though, I cannot resist mashed potatoes with truffle oil.
My wagyu is cooked medium well, which allows me to get a real beefy taste, but of course an appreciation of the marbling is compromised because of the cooking temperature, something Autralian Chef Wong explains to me as he comes to my table. I find him fascinating. There are those chefs you meet and you simply want to have a drink with them immediately. He is one of those and I listen with piqued interest as he explains his preferred cooking temperature.
As I finish my evening, which is is my usual routine, I reflect on the addition of Rodeo Grill to the high-end steakhouse market, and I see enough evidence to suggest it will do well and even compete with a few key players. It is very much a work in progress though - nothing unusual when a restaurant has just opened or relaunched. In having a meat master and sommelier on the floor, they are offering something that diners will enjoy. And the Meat master offers more than just a theatrical performance. It is a genuinely brilliant idea. There is also a chef who checks on guests - this is also a growing trend that should continue. An element that deserves special mention is the range of beef cuts - really something for everyone. However, if waiting staff are able to perfect a few minor issues (which I have brought to their attention), I see no reason why Rodeo Grill will not become a favourite in the city. After all, the little things all add up. It is perfection one is seeking. Or at least as close to it as possible.
The low down
Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi
02 697 9000
Starters 50-95 Dhs
Cuts of beef 200-560 Dhs
Desserts 45-70 Dhs