Last week, I decided to submerge myself into the ultimate Center Of Now experience, and spent a night in The Palace Downtown. While I was there, I had dinner at Asado, one of the best steakhouses in the UAE, and an Argentinean one at that. “Asado” literally translates to an Argentinean way of cooking or barbecuing beef and other meats- in case you’re wondering.
While Asado is one of the best places to enjoy a meal with a Burj Khalifa and fountain show view in the winters on their outdoor/patio seating, we managed to score a window-side table that still granted us a bit of the view; and we also got to enjoy the live Argentinean music being played by the house band. Had we gone on a Sunday, we would have witnessed Tango dancing instead of the house band and I can’t decide which one I would have liked better.
The first of many things I loved about Asado, was the comprehensive description we got of the types of steaks we could choose from and what qualities each cut is best for. It’s very important for a novice who appreciates a good piece of meat once it’s cooked but has trouble picking between the different types on a menu, to be given an explanation like this. Here’s what we learnt about the four available options:
- The Sirloin is taken from the rear end of the cow, and while it has a high fat content, it’s less than that of a Rib-eye
- The Rib-eye has the highest fat content that allows for marbling and makes for arguably the most juicy and flavorful steak, even without marinade.
- The tenderloin is the most lean and the thickest
- The sliced tenderloin (which was half the thickness of the tenderloin), was marinated in chimichurri sauce.
We decided to try some of the Rib eye and some of the sliced tenderloin.
First off, my most favorite part of any meal arrived on our table: The Bread Basket. I’ll fully confess that I’m not picky when it comes to bread and eternally grateful for all the carbs in my life, but this was one of the highest ranking baskets of bread that have ever made it to my table. The salted butter was some of the best in the world, and the same brand that St.Regis serves at Brasserie Quartier. The crusty olive bread, and even the sourdough were incredibly soft, pleasantly warm, and so, SO good. The crown jewel, however, was the tapioca bread. Suitable even for the gluten intolerant- but enjoyable for all- these warm and chewy balls of warm salted bliss made me want to cry out of joy.
For the appetizers, we chose a couple of empanadas; the salmon and tuna ceviche; and Asado’s blue-eyed baby: the Cabrito Baby Goat. Said Baby Goat is slow-barbecued for 3-8 hours, had minimal seasoning and is a must-try for those who like to taste the integrity and quality of the meat itself. If you order the appetizer portion, you get meat from the ribs; if you order the main course portion, you get the shoulder or the leg. We ordered the former, and M devoured the whole plate of tender, melt-in-your-mouth shavings of meat.
I had an oddly-timed craving for salmon that night, and ended up being the weirdo who orders salmon at a steakhouse. I have no regrets though, because this was a super fine piece of salmon-grilled to tender, buttery perfection- and I stole chunks of M’s sliced tenderloin anyway so I got to eat my cake and have it too. With a squeeze of lemon and the celeriac mousse on the side (which I wish there was a lot more of), this moreish salmon reminded me why I love salmon in the first place.
Let’s talk about M’s steak now. Because this was a tasting and because we wanted to try smaller portions of a larger variety, Asado were kind enough to oblige us with half a portion of the sliced tenderloin, and what we wanted for to be half a portion of Rib-Eye but turned out to be a full portion. I absolutely despise fatty cuts of meat, and M regretted ordering the Rib-Eye too because he wasn’t too pleased with the amount of attention he was having to pay to trim all the fat away; but for those who loved a nicely marbled steak, this is the way to go . The sliced tenderloin on the other hand, floored us. Succulent, juicy, buttery lean meat that just melted in our moths, which I of course drenched in more chimichurri. I also loved the Bearnaise sauce which oddly had a whiff of coconut milk in it. I’m sure I was just imagining it but you all know how much I love coconut.
Since I’m a good, honest-to-self girl, I firmly declined dessert and vowed not to have sugar so close to bedtime. Much to my clearly visible pleasure, the chef decided to send out some dessert anyway, haha. Dulce De Leche Pancakes. Heart won, brain lost.
We wrapped up the meal with cups of Argentinean Mate tea. Getting to try a new kind of tea excites me so very much; SO much – in fact- that I ended up burning my mouth with the first sip, haha. In my defense, I could not gauge how hot it was because the cup was thick and insulated with wood, and I had to drink through a straw- which of course I’m not used to when it comes to tea.
Service was – true to The Palace standards- absolutely stellar. I am yet to have a single less than phenomenal experience at this fine hotel. Thank you for having us, Asado 🙂