Smoky Latino delight

WHILE A good steak is the Holy Grail for most men around the world, no restaurant does it quite like Asado. Literal word for ‘BBQ’, the aptly named venue features an authentic Latin American style of preparing meat, flown all the way from Argentina daily.

By Mohamad Kadry (Staff Reporter)

Published: Sat 14 Jun 2008, 12:11 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:18 PM

While the bill is sure to leave the economically-conscious patron daunted, each morsel will leave an impression of exotic, far-away lands, right in the heart of Old Town Dubai.

While Argentineans number a mere 1,500 in the UAE, this did not stop them from creating a world-class eatery that is fast becoming the most talked about venue in town. There is good reason for the hype, because while dinner is sure to impress you, the view is second-to-none. Built at the foot of Burj Dubai, currently the tallest structure on Earth, connoisseurs can enjoy their meal in the ambience of its intimidating shadow, surrounded by a man-made lake and communal hotel pool lined with palm trees.

While the outside patio hugs you in its crevasse, what you will find inside will leave you yearning for your riding boots and cowboy hat. It is no mistake that the designers of Asado wanted to create an unique atmosphere for their Argentinean-modelled restaurant. The designs are quintessentially masculine, with the use of hard leathers and dark think colours. One gets the feeling that they are walking into a smoking den, or even a posh ski resort in the mountains of South America. No detail was overlooked, as antlers hang in the place of chandeliers, and rather than art adorning the walls, there are boot straps and ponchos. The rugs use emblazoned Latin American designs reminiscent of old Western movies, and metal centerpieces replace the usual frou-frou flower arrangements.

When you’re ready to order, be prepared to be overwhelmed by savoury options that will leave your head spinning. Start with the appetisers, and choose the “Traditional Argentinean Empanadas.” They come in beef, veal, chicken, corn, ricotta cheese and spinach, and turkey ham and cheese.

I opted for the veal, simply because I had never tasted the politically incorrect meat before. But when these small, tender cubes of potatoes, grapes, and veal were set before me, I was ready to give up any of my political conscious for another bite. Typical Argentinean guests usually order the ‘matambre arrollado a la criolla,’ which consists of thin slices of typical veal roulade stuffed with bell peppers, carrots, quail egg, parsley and turkey ham. Are you a soup lover? Try the ‘sopa de calabaza asada con charqui,’ because if the roasted pumpkin doesn’t get you, the dried beef and garlic oil certainly will.

While cute appetisers and thick hearty soup are all well and nice, the real Asado patron comes for the steak. Be warned, while vegetarian dishes do exist to cater to Dubai’s diverse palette, Asado is meant to deliver the finest steaks in town, and it is my belief that vegetarians are only hurting the restaurants feelings by opting for salad instead of sirloin. That said, Asado really does live up to the hype when it comes to the juiciest, marbled cuts in the city. Opt for the ‘traditional Argentinean cut matambre de ternera,’ a 250 gramme cut of veal that cooked to perfection and served with stacked fries that resemble building blocks.

What Asado offers is authenticity, albeit in a posh, leather-bound environment. The staff is accommodating and knowledgeable, and the ambience and flavour of the guests (frequented by many Latin Americans) is a refreshing change from some of the other drab, boring venues in the city.

Although perfect for a business lunch, the night scene changes greatly with the sounds of tango and other native tunes played by a live band and performers.

The meal will run you Dhs 200-400, depending on choice of course and beverages, but if there was ever a time to splurge, do it at Asado.

The Palace Hotel, Old Town Island, Downtown Burj Dubai (04 428 7888). Open daily 7pm-12midnight. All major credit cards accepted.

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