On to recommendation #1: Asado at the Palace Hotel, Burj Dubai. Nevermind that it's set in a hotel that is on a man-made island sitting in a lake up against the tallest building in the world - that just makes it a nice bar. What makes this place special is that once you eat the food, you couldn't care less where it is. While it may or may not be authentic Argentinian (guys, my last name is Mueller - what do I know?), it's authentic deliciousness. As a steakhouse, it's a bit on the pricy side (like most good hotel restaurants in Dubai), but the service, wine list, and ambience all get high marks. The meat itself is paraded out to you like a dessert tray at the end of a meal, and the wait staff is eager to tell you all about the 300-gram raw hunk of meat that you're staring at intensely. Sidebar - what's proper etiquette for staring at raw beef? "Well, that appears to be, umm, red - good, good - mark of a good steak."
Moving on. We had the chateaubriand - a bit like cutting a steak from the cow, setting it aside for later, and eating the whole cow. That said, fantastic. I'm assuming this is similar to much in Dubai, but the steak was pretty underdone, and needed a couple more minutes of heat (my dining companion, Miss Katie herself, is a bit of a sissy for raw meat). The wait staff was more than happy to oblige, and it came back well-cooked and accompanied by both a mustard bar and a selection of salts. Well played, Asado - well played.
All said and done, here's the bill breakdown:
1 bottle of Pelligrino: 60 dirhams
1 bottle of red wine: 230 dirhams (prices weren't that bad)
3 empanadas: 35 dirhams
1 giant steak: 435 dirhams
And as a final treat, Julio Viola, head chef of Asado, has provided his recipe for the Chimichurri sauce served with our steak:
Chimichurri Steak Sauce
flat parsley 200 gr
thyme 10 gr
spring onion 50 gr
garlic 10 gr
chilli flakes (Argentine dried chilli, which isn't spicy) 5 gr
salt 5 gr
black pepper 2 gr
corn oil (olive oil can be used to refine the taste) 100 ml
white vinegar 30 ml
PREPARATION: Finely chop all the ingredients and combine them to make a sauce. Let it rest for at least 8 hours to fully develop the flavor.
(Recipe courtsey of Julio Viola, Asado Argentine Restaurant Head Chef)