Bangkok Post reviews
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: September 27, 2013 at 8:26 am
Shhhhhh... we're staking out the New York Steakhouse to uncover its secrets
Service staff, dressed as paperboys, uses baby strollers to conceal alcohol.
Bangkok's gastronomic scene is getting more luxurious, fun and... well... maybe I shouldn't say this... confidential.
Recently, JW Marriott Bangkok's New York Steakhouse was turned into a secret dining venue to offer the city's first Sunday brunch with a deliberately "non-culinary" theme.
To celebrate its 12th anniversary, the much-loved Steakhouse is bringing diners back to the enigmatic mood of Prohibition era New York. Dubbed "The Secret Society Brunch", the weekend feast (supposedly only known among a small circle of discerning gourmands) is inspired by the US ban on alcohol from 1919 to 1933. The fine-dining restaurant, which opens for lunch on Sundays only to guests with a "secret entry code", is decked out as a private saloon where fine wines can be enjoyed surreptitiously alongside the steakhouse's long-treasured fare.
Yet, no decent business would survive if it's really a secret. And someone wants the news to spread.
"This whole new product is a celebration, an aspect that we want to give back to the culinary society here in Bangkok on our 12th anniversary," JW Marriott Bangkok Food and Beverage director Bruno Rotschaedl said.
"Unlike other brunch venues where there are open spaces and people walking in and out, in order to offer something different, we find the location of the steakhouse perfectly matches with the Prohibition concept _ exclusive and cryptic. Hopefully when people know about it they will be interested and want to experience it."
The seafood tower starter.
Here's how it works, should you be interested in joining. First, when you call in for a reservation you'll receive a secret code. Upon arrival at the steakhouse's closed door, a "paperboy" will be standing there waiting for the password. Saying something like "Are you open?" or "We've already made a reservation" won't get you in, so you better get it right.
Once you've passed that hurdle, you'll be escorted to the reception area. A lovely, retro-style corner is there and you can pose for pictures while waiting for the table. (And, no doubt, immediately share the "secret" on Facebook or Instagram.)
One thing I really like about the new opening hours is that it gives you the opportunity to lunch at the legendary dinner-focused steakhouse with your little loved ones. Especially during brunch hours, children are welcome (though the place isn't exactly kid friendly nor suitable for toddlers) and dress codes are less strict (smart casual jeans and shorts are allowed).
Even though the dining concept is more casual, executive chef Michael Hogan said the quality of food is still the same and will meet the high expectations of discerning regulars with the best beef, lobsters and oysters flown in from the United States.
The brunch is priced at 2,400 baht and features four courses. It starts with a platter of chilled seafood, then the New York Steakhouse's famous Caesar salad, followed by a main course and a dessert; the latter two can be picked from various options in the menu.
For our party of four, the seafood platter, which followed a complimentary serving of warm, house-baked bread and seasoned butter, was presented on a three-tier silver tower together with three kinds of dipping sauce, namely cocktail sauce, chilli sauce and shallot vinegar.
The prime Angus steak with foie gras and port wine glaze.
The tower featured Alaskan king crab legs, rock lobsters, tiger prawns, oysters and bouchot mussels on beds of ice, while warm delicacies such as baked scallops and sauteed baby octopus were exhibited on the top tier.
Next up was the Caesar salad, made fresh from scratch at our table.
There are seven choices of main course on offer. Options include Tournedos (prime Angus steak with pan-fried foie gras and port wine glaze), Surf 'n' Turf (prime Angus steak with baked lobster), pan-roasted snow fish, roasted rack of lamb, 225g steak and roast prime rib.
All steaks there are Certified Angus Beef, and main courses come with unlimited sides, namely creamy mashed potatoes, baby carrots in honey butter, green garden peas and the steakhouse's extra-thick, home-cured bacon. The New York striploin steak and the tenderloin steak that my husband and I had were excellent. The pleasantly hefty, well-textured and robustly flavoured qualities of American beef were there and, except for a little bit of salt, neither steak required a condiment. (The sauces you can choose from are morrel mushroom, Bordelaise wine, green pepper, Bearnaise and the steakhouse's secret-recipe Bourbon barbecue.)
Baked Alaska with mixed berry.
My nine-year-old had the snow fish, and was really happy with the plump fillet that came crusted in black peppers and served in a fragrant garlic and vegetable broth with fresh herbs.
Of the four dessert selections, we found the chocolate lava cake lusciously retained its reputation as one of the best in town. The newly introduced baked Alaska with mixed berry, which presented raspberry sorbet and hazelnut gelato floating on Californian berries and topped with torched meringue, was delightful.
The speakeasy-inspired brunch also offers a nice choice of Australian red and white wines, as well as a limited selection of cocktails. Prices are 1,350 baht for free flow, or 950 baht for three glasses.
Service by staff, dressed like blithe 1920s paperboys, was up to the anticipated five-star standard.
The Secret Society Brunch will be held every Sunday from now on. Reservations are a must. But make sure you remember the secret code.