The Rib Room

The couple at the table next to us just weren’t feeling the vibes. Silently scowling at each other and chain-smoking relentlessly, they frankly scared us, so we quickly persuaded the sluggish – if very smiley – staff to move us to another table, set in the middle of the large warehouse-like space. Things soon perked up with the arrival of what appeared to be a miniature hat stand, festooned with bagels. These met with the wholehearted approval of my companion, a native New Yorker and self-professed bagel expert. The black pumpernickel variant, she proclaimed while smearing it in a wonderfully piquant salsa, was a sure-fire winner. Things continued in a jolly fashion with a couple of starters that gave every cause for faith in The Rib Room’s kitchen. A deliciously tart tian of tomato, shrimp, avocado and caviar was only slightly marred by over-abundant dressing, while my crab cake, squatting provocatively on a bed of soft onion salad and drizzled with a tangy tomato sauce, was crunchy, firm and flaky in all the right places. The pleasantries over, it was time for The Rib Room to wheel out the big guns with a couple of chunky steaks. My friend, in true Manhattanite taxi-grabbing style, had spied and pounced upon the wagyu sirloin steak, just a split second before I saw it. Grumbling, I chose a ‘dry-aged’ US rib-eye. Happily, both were splendid. While the willowy Aussie wagyu was superlative – fork-tender, juicy and bursting with flavour, the rib eye was a cheerful, stout-hearted chap, uniformly pink throughout and bristling with can-do tastiness. The sides were unremarkable – an oily truffle mash sat quietly and largely undisturbed throughout the meal, accompanied by a slightly more popular plate of warm broccoli – the meat spoke for itself and more than justified the restaurant’s reputation as a steak joint par excellence. Desserts were neatly portioned and gratifyingly succinct. A selection of fruit sorbets were lip-puckeringly sour, and the almond praline cream mille feuille with poached pear made for a pleasing taste combination, although my friend looked askance upon a poached pear that almost required a steak knife to hack into it. The only chronic complaint throughout this superbly cooked and presented meal was the somewhat erratic service – veering unpredictably between over-attentiveness and non-existence. Similarly, incidences where orders were taken down incorrectly – despite the subsequent smooth apologies from the manager – caused unnecessary frustration with what is in almost every other manner one of Dubai’s finest steakhouses. The bill (for two) Tian Dhs60 Crab cake Dhs57 US rib-eye Dhs125 Wagyu Dhs220 Fruit sorbet Dhs30 Mille feuille Dhs30 Total (including service) Dhs522

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