There are three Starwoods properties in the ancient Chinese city of Xi’an, which has a rich history of over 1,300 years. Unlike other hotel brands, which offer the similar typo of cuisine wherever you go, the good thing is that all three of those properties have something different to offer when it comes to providing a selection of fine cuisine. Since I am huge fan of steakhouses, I decided to go and check out the ‘Steakhouse’ at the newly built Sheraton Xi’an North City Hotel. Designed by Wilson Associates LLC, this hotel is one of the newest ones in the city and with 491 guestrooms and suites it is one of the largest too. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor, and provides an ample amount of breathing space for busy professionals or tourists to enjoy their evening with good food and in a nice environment.
Indeed, set in an airy environment, the Steakhouse provides modern and contemporary dining experiences offering one of the finest prime cuts in the city. As any expert veteran chef will tell you that it’s not easy to find good quality steak in China. Even if the meat is imported then it tends to lose its taste and juices while in transit during airfreight and being frozen for such a long time. Believe you in me, I have seen the good, the ugly, and the utterly horrible steak in my time in China. Therefore, with that in mind it was time for me to see what the Steakhouse had in store.
We entered the restaurant, which was surprisingly empty on the weekday evening; to be welcomed by an air of calmness and an ambiance that portrays nothing but luxury. The highly experienced Chef de Cuisine, Kadafy Hosenally, was on a mission to prove that not only was he good at cooking but also making people smile with his well toned light humour. The Steakhouse is a place that strives to provides the best of Australian beef, as well as promote local Chinese beef for its steak too in the form of Qingdao beef. Everyone in the food industry will tell you that premier British or Australian beef is some of the best in the world. However, the problem with steakhouses in the west, I believe, is that they are provided in nationwide chains which makes them look shabby, and are not cooked of the right quality or given that 5-star luxury care that the dish deserves. So, this is where restaurants such as the Steakhouse are excelling because they provide a highly experienced chef along with right correct environment in which to eat the food in (you don’t need to shout across the table to be heard here!), and the right ambiance.
We commenced by tucking into the ‘Caesar salad tossed in homemade dressing with shaved parmesan cheese’. This was classy food. Normally when you enter into a steakhouse in China you wonder so many things relating to the quality of the service, the ambiance, the background music, and above all else the food itself. The crunchiness of the salad felt as close to mum’s cooking as you can get- but not quite there (yet), and the ingredients that were used to blend in the rest of this dish were of acceptable portions.
The ‘Mediterranean seafood soup’ was filled with fresh seafood, vegetables with a hint of saffron. It seemed to come across as having the flavour and texture of a freshly blossomed rose. The only disappointment was having a single piece of prawn, and that made the presentation look a bit bland. On the whole it was worth every bite to savour. Presentation is not everything sometimes.
Then arrived the dish that I was waiting for the whole evening to try- the 10oz rib eye. Rather than try the Australian Wagyu beef, I decided to opt for the Chinese one. Coming from premier Qingdao grain in the north of China, the same place where the popular Qingdao Beer is manufactured, the steak came without flavour, not tough, served medium rare, as asked. Likewise, the service, sometimes by Chef Kadafy himself, was lovely. I was very amused by his jokes and I think this man is a credit to the restaurant’s well being. The fact is that you can’t argue when you are presented with a good steak like that, and it goes to show that Qingdao beef is not bad too.
And then onto the finale. Mango mousse cake served with lime mango salad seemed to do the trick. I could have easily gone for the equally dashing tiramisu, but then again I have tried tiramisu for times in memorial so I thought I would try something different. I made a good choice. It may not be as colourful as one hopped it to be, however the taste is out of this world. It’s not spongy or soggy, and not too hard on the teeth either. All in all we left the restaurant with smiles, and it’s all kudos to the team for trying their best to bring as much of quality rather than quantity into the Steakhouse.
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