Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Quick Post: New York meets Prestwich

I don't usually do food reviews. There are too many bloggers out there, much more experienced in it than I am (and no doubt better), but an interesting conversation last week led to me writing this one.

A friend mentioned that a new grill restaurant had opened. Though my passion for good meat and steak in particular is well known; I didn't particularly rise to this. He mentioned it was in Prestwich - Mr GFB's home town. Still I didn't rise to the bait. Oh, says he, and the chef is from New York....

Tender tuna carpaccio

... at this, my curiosity was aroused. Really? New York trained chef in Prestwich? I've had steak in New York. I've never had steak in Prestwich. And though both well known for their Jewish communities, this was really the only connection I could find and probably a pertinent one, but still I wondered. Only one thing to do.... Investigate for myself....

After a trip down memory lane for Mr GFB and exclamations over what shop is now a deli and what off licence is now a shop and what takeaway is still a takeaway, we arrived at a nice little new development on Bury New Road. The Rare Grill sits somewhat dominantly next to a Sainsbury's, managing to tone it's orange sign in with theirs, but looking more glamorous.
The beef rib. Oh it was good.

Inside, it's working hard to be New York restaurant in design. Chocolate browns, meets cream, glittering chandeliers, intimate booths for your first date in one corner and an open hatch to the kitchen - you can see and smell what's going on in the kitchen.

We were seated and quickly served. A glass of house wine for myself and something soft for Mr GFB. The staff were friendly, though it was clear that they're still a little new in the role. The menu was full of delectable little meaty morsels, chicken liver bruschetta, duck breast; and those were just the starters. Mr GFB decided on a tuna carpaccio and I indulged in rate beef tetaki for myself.

We were not disappointed. The beef was as tender as butter, tasting of not just of the beef itself, but the marinade, salty soy sauce a crack of black pepper. The tuna was rich and satisfying, a smear of wasabi to set it off nicely.

Prefectly cooked. So much so, Mr GFB wouldn't share.
And onto the mains. Opting for the grill, Mr GFB had the larger of the rib-eye steaks whereas I aimed for the rib. And what a rib. Tender, smeared in a sticky barbecue sauce. It was tender, and I soon abandoned all ladylike manners and picked it up in my fingers. Mr GFB (quite used to my lack of manners) attacked his steak with gusto, adding the chimchurri sauce. His steak being tender, chargrilled to perfection but beautifully rare. Added to that the thick cut chips - soft and fluffy with a crispy outside and he downright refused to share..

Replete, but with a sweet tooth begging satisfaction, we both opted for a dessert - lemon tart for Mr GFB, tart tatin for myself. The lemon tart was as it should be, creamy centre, vanilla icecream setting it off perfectly.

Tart tatin
Unfortunately this is where we hit a couple of disappointments. Being a pudding cook myself, I thought the base on the lemon tart could have done with a few more minutes, so it was a touch more crisp and the tatin, well unfortunately that was a real disappointment for me. I expected sticky, sweet, slightly crisp filo, meeting sticky toffee and apple goodness. It was unfortunately soft, and mellow. Not unpleasant, but not what I expected either.

Lemon tart, pretty and sweet, but nicely sharp
There are a few other niggles. The table next to the kitchen could be a fascinating window into the work going on behind the scenes, but might also end up being a touch smokey on a busy evening. The staff are lovely, and will settle into their roles a bit more in time, so their over eager attentiveness is forgivable. I did want to pat the waitress's hand and tell her it would be alright.

So, down to verdict. 

Is it a good restaurant? Yes.

Was the food good? The beef and tuna are excellent. Good rare beef is hard to beat. Fix the dessert issues and it's better than good.

Was it worth the cost? Absolutely. 

Was it worth the trip? This was more of a debating point. If you're in the centre of Manchester, you'd go to Smoak or The Grill on New York Street and be more than happy. In Prestwich, (and actually for some distance around it) aside from the heaven which is Aumbry, you'd be hard pressed to find anything that comes close.

The Rare Grill will do very well and next time I'm in that neck of the woods....

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