x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Grilled to perfection

Just over an hour’s drive from Dubai, and with panoramic terraces overlooking manicured gardens and miles of coastline, the Waldorf Astoria’s restaurants offer dining escapism.

The Lexington Grill restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah. Courtesy Lexington Grill
The Lexington Grill restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah. Courtesy Lexington Grill

Cured charcuterie connoisseurs, lend me your ears. A dry-aged beef facility will be delivered to the new Waldorf Astoria hotel in Ras Al Khaimah before the year is out. Waldorf’s Lexington Grill will soon be serving its own version of the delicacies often known as bresaola, cecina and ­biltong.

Is the restaurant still worth a visit in the meantime? Without a shadow of a doubt.

From the moment you set foot inside the Waldorf Astoria, you’re put in a New York state of mind. Sympathetic nods to the iconic landmark hotel of the same name in Midtown Manhattan are everywhere, from the art deco-inspired furnishings to the geometric prints and grand sweeping ­staircases.

Saunter down the vast marbled corridor that is Peacock Walk and you’ll arrive at Lexington Grill, the property’s signature steak restaurant. Set in a horseshoe shape, angular glass partitions, lashings of dark wood and cosy, recessed banquettes define the space.

For starters, my companion and I tucked into mouthwatering Alaskan snow crab, Atlantic smoked salmon and littleneck clams. We further feasted on a burrata salad garnished with a rainbow of red, yellow and green tomatoes.

Next came the pièce de résistance, dubbed Chef Lij’s “selection of finest meats and seafood”. Served on a griddle plate were Maine lobster and tenderloin cuts of US prime Greater Omaha Black Angus beef. Upstaging them both, however, were chunks of barbecue beef short ribs. The top-secret, smoky marinade was out of this world and the meat, having been marinated for 24 hours, melted in the mouth.

Perfectly portioned, well-seasoned and succulent; so good was the shared grill that we all but forgot to taste the Bordelaise and Béarnaise side ­sauces.

As I am a steak fiend who craves the treat of a fillet on a Friday night, the menu by the 30-year-old Jamaican chef’s won’t fade fast from memory and will take some ­beating.

Moreover, if you hanker for dry-aged beef and can’t wait until he rolls out his own range, the restaurant currently has a selection of US Great Plains’ Black Angus cuts.

Should you have room for dessert, I would say there are three front-runners: the classic apple crumble, the Lexington Key lime pie and the ever so naughty-but-nice Valrhona chocolate fondant.

While the hotel’s interior has touches of a bygone era, the culinary offerings of its 10 outlets appear thoroughly modern. Another case in point is the Waldorf salad that I sampled for lunch at Qasr Al Bahar, the eatery next door to the Lexington Grill. Beautifully presented in custom-made tableware by RAK Ceramics, the micro-diced apple, shaved celery and caramelised walnuts managed to turn the classic 1896 dish entirely on its head.

Just over an hour’s drive from Dubai and with panoramic terraces overlooking manicured gardens and miles of coastline, the Waldorf’s restaurants offer dining escapism. Channel your inner Gatsby, don a fringed dress, grab your pearls and ­enjoy.

A meal for two at Lexington Grill, Waldorf Astoria, costs Dh900. The chef’s selection of finest meats and seafood is Dh245 per person. For reservations, call 07 203 5555

rduane@thenational.ae