“Bite in it!” Reviewing one of Shanghai best steakhouses “The Strip”

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

The boys and I had were out yesterday, and out for a business celebration. We knew there would be no limit to the spending, no end to the night. For a “grandiose” start we all agreed to go to the best steakhouse of the city. Of course Morton’s or Roosevelt Prime came first and it wouldn’t be untrue to say that both compete for the best meat in Shanghai. But I had reviewed both already on WoF blog (see previous posts), and one was missing to the collection: THE STRIP PRIME STEAKHOUSE. Stand by stomach, here comes juicy meat!

STRIP PRIME is located at the sixth (lounge and casual dining) and seventh floors (upscale steakhouse) of Shanghai Ascott hotel on Huai Hai Middle Road. Because it is now being re-organized, re-shaped by a new operation team I won’t be talking about STRIP lounge/restaurant since some modification might be brought to the concept in a few weeks. However the 7th floor STRIP PRIME restaurant will remain untouched -as it very logically should- and so I will let my palate memory to relate our evening there.

The place is now managed by the ex and very experienced Italian team from Muse 97 (ex Park 97 by Lan Kuai Fong), a handful of very talented FnB mercenarios conduced by Nicola Brienza, a veteran of the restaurant, clubbing and modeling industry, a very good friend of mine. Nicola joined Furama Resorts group few weeks ago, a group that owns several dozens of FnB projects including STRIP PRIME. The recent change of management brought a new life to the place and it was packed when we arrived there yesterday. The 6th floor lounge was hosting a nearly 200 pax event dinner, private rooms and tables at the 7th were all occupied but we had no trouble getting ours from another of the Italian mob, restaurant manager Fabio. All was perfectly sat up to start celebrating a very important contract just confirmed in Hong Kong last Friday. A Champagne rose by Moet & Chandon was our first wish but we were told that the pink bubble was not available now. If to go for a brut we needed an upgrade and eventually had a Veuve Clicquot. Sante and pre-dinner mutual congrats!

Our order:

– The Original Caesar Tableside
– Prawns Two Ways, poached & beer battered, house tartar & cocktail sauce
– 4 filet mignon, angus cut (224gr)
– Sides: Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes Bleu Cheese Crumble, Roosevelt “Famous” Black Truffle Mac & Cheese and George’s Onion Rings in a Skillet
– Chocolate Fondant, Chocolate Marquise, Apple Tart and a Pudding

Again, I like to believe I’ve tried just every Caesar salads of the city and did a bit of benchmark. THE STRIP’s Caesar salad is cooked from the trolley, mixed in front of you after a staff would have introduced you every ingredients that make it a Caesar salad. I have to say I wasn’t too impressed. I guess I had been spoiled few years ago, as a very young Caesar salad novice, going to the Westin’s Prego Italian restaurant and was to see the Caesar salad Master dipping all the ingredients and the salad in a whole parmesan cheese wheel and scraping the bottom so it would come in big and thick chips and… Jesus… it stills haunting me after all these years and I have a bit of expectation now: to be surprised visually and tastefully. I’m always being careful to my calories but I couldn’t content myself with a light olive oil dressing on a Caesar salad. Well, STRIP’s Caesar was alright, just not stunning and I am always expecting a bacchanalia of anchovies -not just a singular, sometimes half a fillet- on the top, little croutons, no parmesan cheese chips, one or two garlic cloves, boiled egg. Same for the prawns. I am not too easily impressed. But then came the meat, and the sides and suddenly it was heavens on Earth…

We literally stopped talking -quite a challenge for a table of French-, and as I am writing these lines, stomach full with another stunning dinner that I should relate you another day, I am still feeling the gum of my mouth watering and my teeth begging for a bite with this typical itching that seems to say: “Give it to me to chew that right now!”.

The angus cut fillet mignon, a beautiful piece of 224gr for only 300RMB (46USD) is, I guess, the same that the one you will get at ROOSEVELT PRIME, that used to be managed by the same group and that makes me think that THE STRIP works with the same suppliers. Well… guys don’t change that! The crispy of the grilled angus, the tenderness of the medium rare flesh made me forget the presence of a béarnaise sauce on my side. Enchanting, delightful, and hugely satisfying were the sides. The black truffles mac and cheese is still driving my sympathetic nervous system crazy in the coronal section of my foodist brain. Hopefully the fat absorption doesn’t last so long…

The above to comfort the point I wanted to make: a good steakhouse does good steaks first and we all forgive a good steakhouse for not expending its range of perfection to just every items of the menu. Don’t give me wrong, all dishes were good. Good but not unforgettable. But the meat… THE STRIP PRIME serves one of the best meats in Shanghai people and my epicurean’s mind already dictates me to go back to the STRIP, to skip the entrance, and to go straight to the point: double of meat and sides washed with a good red wine (Cloudy Bay 2009 was our choice yesterday and we never regretted).

I wouldn’t let you going back to your the normal course of your life without mentioning about the deserts. It was hard to match our satisfaction level by then but they did, and easily. Chocolate fondant and the pudding were my favorites and were just beautiful.

We left satisfied, happy and convinced that we had a very serious challenger to Morton’s and Roosevelt in Strip. Well, it would be hard to compare anyway. Each venue -and I should also add Moon’s Steakhouse in Xin Tian Di and Swiss Hotel- provide different atmosphere, environment, and people too. I like the very authentic high-end american feel at Morton’s, the perfection in the service and the gameplay (at Morton’s you will be introduced every cut and ingredients and the staff’s knowledge is out of the league). Roosevelt is more conservative, attracting seniors and more local than the three others. The room or/an the lights are a bit too sad to my taste. Price wise Strip and Moon’s are much more affordable that Morton’s that allows you to go there on a regular basis while Morton’s would be a perfect destination for a celebration, a romantic date or a face-giver business dinner.

The Strip Prime Steakhouse (Shanghai, PRC):
6-7/F, Hong Kong Plaza, 282 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Hu
淮海中路282号, 香港广场6-7楼 近黄陂南路
6091 9893

Below: a night at The Strip Prime Steakhouse, forgive the low quality of the images below (that often happens when shooting with a cel phone in a dark room). Last picture is obviously not mine but it is very close to the plate that we were served and I thought my own photography would not show the reality -the beauty- of the dish.

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