Rodeo Grill has always had a good name in Abu Dhabi, but it’s a very long time since I’d eaten there. In fact, the last time was back in 2007 when my Mum and Dad were visiting and we drove up from Dubai to spend the night at the Beach Rotana. So when I found out that they had spent three months completely renovating the place in 2014, only reopening again in November 2013, I decided it was certainly time to revisit and see if their good reputation is still well deserved.
The place looks completely different to anything I remembered from before but is pleasing to look at when you walk in. It has a calm, comfortable but very sleek and chic feel about the place. Perfect for a stylish but casual affair, and there are also plenty of quiet corners for a more intimate romantic dinner.
Often I find in steak restaurants that I have no idea where to begin. I tend to glance at the menu, look for the steak that’s on the smaller side and pretty much decide based on that alone – I mean, anything bigger than 250g is just way to much for me I find. But at Rodeo Grill, the waiter brings out the meats for you to look at and explains the pros and cons and the whys and wherefores right there in front of you, so you’re not left to such haphazard choosing techniques as mine.
You get to learn a bit about the meat and find out which one most likely suits the depth of taste and texture you prefer – perfect for those like me that don’t normally know where to begin!
As part of their renovations, fear not – of course the menu still focuses on steak, although it has been updated to introduce new types and cuts of steak along with a general refresh of the other items available.
For a starter, I took a fancy to the Crab and Rock Shrimp Dumplings with a sweet chilli glaze and kaffir lime – flavours that I love and it worked out to be a good choice. Look at how beautifully it was presented! It was served piping hot, and the balance of flavours were perfect. Sometimes when sweet chilli is included in a dish there’s the concern that it can be too spicy or too overpowering, but this wasn’t at all the case – it was delicate and delicious.
Mr. Arabian Notes decided he was feeling like a taste of Europe and plumped for the Oven Baked Burgundy Snails in Shells, served in parsley-garlic butter. Again, beautifully presented and he had no complaints at all and happily scoffed the lot. And I didn’t try them myself, but the garlic butter smelt amazing from across the table!
Next up, it was time for the main. I’d decided after perusing the meats and chatting with our waiter to go for an Australian Blackmore, grade nine, wagyu 250g sirloin. This meat is the restaurant’s signature beef – it’s 100% full wagyu grain and grain fed for a minimum of 650 days. Well, that’s a long time but I can only say it was worth it. As far as steaks go – and let’s face it, recently I’ve had the good fortune to eat a fair bit of really decent high-grade steak in the city, but this – this… I’m just not sure where to begin… this was a steak if ever there was one. Wow. It tasted absolutely amazing and pretty much just melted off my fork and into my mouth, really outrageously delicious. Our waiter had also earlier explained to us that’s it’s not just the types and cuts of the beef they use that is important, it’s also down to their new Josper Grill which lends a smoky taste to the meat. When people say ‘smoky’, it’s hard not to imagine that back garden barbecue smoky effect, but it was only on tasting my meat that it all clicked. I could indeed taste the smokiness, but in a really delicate and sensitive way – and certainly couldn’t be further from the backyard barbecue smoky incineration I’d imagined. I’d also ordered a baked potato with cream cheese and chives to go with my steak which was also great, although I must warn you the potato was absolutely massive! They use Idaho potatoes so do be prepared to bring your appetite!
After having become firm fans of John Stone Beef at another dinner before Christmas, Mr. Arabian Notes decided to try the enormous 500g John Stone T-Bone steak. John Stone beef comes from Ireland and is all 100% pasture fed and 21 day dry aged. Happy cows make happy steaks! The steak was tender (though of course not as tender as the wagyu as is expected) and was indeed very flavourful with a deep, meaty taste – exactly what the doctor ordered!
Of course, as we have learned previously – a good steak really doesn’t need a sauce, the flavour of the meat itself should be the hero, but if you really can’t resist (as I can’t – I love a bit of Béarnaise!), then of course there’s a host of sauces for you to choose from too including Peppercorn, Mushroom, Béarnaise, Chimichurri and a very special Red wine and Cognac sauce. This sauce is reduced through slow cooking over a period of no less than three days from a whopping 10 litres to only half a litre – now that’s a high maintenance sauce! But as they say, the best things come to those who wait and that certainly seemed to be true in this case – it was a rich sauce, full of beautiful deep flavours.
As usual, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t try a dessert so I went for the Chocolate, Caramel and Sea Salt Tart…
And the husband went for the Cheese Cake Doughnuts with strawberry and chocolate sauces. Both desserts were great – I enjoyed the salty caramel chocolate taste of mine and there was a novelty value in the Cheese Cake Doughnuts – not a dessert I’ve ever seen anywhere else before! The only thing we did note was that there seemed to be more doughnut than anything else, but it was still very tasty all the same! 🙂
And just when we thought we were done, they brought out another surprise – a chocolate mini bombé filled with lemon sorbet each. An unusual touch, but a lovely little palette cleanser to end with.
All in all, yep – Rodeo Grill still has it and is still well deserving of their excellent reputation – steak is absolutely king here and whilst they do have a range of other dishes to suit other tastes – frankly I think you’d be mad to go there and not have one of their amazing steaks!
To find out more, visit their website by clicking here, or call 02 697 9011 to book.