What first attracted me to visit the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah was their current ‘Dine Around’ package, which promises three courses spread over three of their on-site restaurants (Lexington Grill, Umi, and Marjan…my inner foodie loves a diverse evening). My dining partner and I deviated a bit from the plan (enjoying two courses at Lexington Grill), but our first stop was at Umi (although to be fair, the evening actually started with drinks on the terrace at Camelia, also recommended). At Umi, which takes on a modern design with cool blacks, a literal wall of sake, along with traditional sushi and teppanyaki bars, we worked a bit with the menu and a bit ala carte (yes, being a food blogger does come with its privileges). After reviewing what was available, we decided on Wasabi Rock Shrimp, AED65 (because, of course), Wagyu Tataki, AED98 (order your own portion, because as polite as I was trying to be, the truffle ponzu sauce was everything) and the Prawn Shumai Truffle Sauce, AED60 (which, while I loved the presentation — individual twee steam baskets — was my least favorite of the three, mostly because I find dumplings to be a bit chewy and flavorless
I’m probably doing it wrong).
After another delightful cocktail at the bar at Lexington Grill, we were about to settle into our private booth for dinner, when Chef Eric came out and asked if I would like to see a specific freezer in the kitchen (the things we get excited about as foodies). Donning a fashionable hair net, I stepped into one of the only dry aged beef chillers in the UAE (there are a lot of licenses involved) to better understand the process. While we ended up not choosing one of the dry-aged beef cuts, it’s definitely one I would return to try.
Stepping back out and seated once again, I spoke with the sommelier, who suggested a glass of red to accompany the meal (the cellar is one of the most robust in the emirate). While our wine was poured, the kitchen delivered an amuse bouche to start the meal (while I think the presentation could be improved, the taste and texture were memorable). Full from our starters at Umi, we decided our best plan was to order the Chef’s Selection of Finest Meats and Seafood (AED288 per person). This option includes a ton of protein: Prime Tenderloin, Beef Short Rib, Maine Lobster and King Prawns. While the perfectly sized tenderloin was cooked to order (a spot on Medium Rare, and just blue enough Rare for my partner), it was the sweet and tender short ribs that were the star of the selection. For our sides, we ordered potato mash (both with truffle and without, AED25, the portion is really just for one person) and tomato salad (AED25, and a large enough portion for two, plus a great note of freshness on the table). For our sauces, we order my classic, creamy Bearnaise and my dining partner chooses the Anglaise. While I think we made the best choice of what to order, reviewing the menu, there are plenty of plates I would love to come back and try.
For dessert, we go off menu, and Chef Eric brings us something he’s been working on. As we discuss the merits and overt cliche of chocolate fondant, we sampled a bleu cheese cheesecake (!) with a mild fruit gelato and dressed with honey. Admittedly, I love when chefs try something new, but in reality, it doesn’t always work out. While I don’t mind a savory desert, this one needed acid (probably in the form of lemon curd) to make it work. Still, it was fun to play Masterchef for a bit, and Chef Eric took our comments in stride.
Would I go back? You bet! As this marks the third steakhouse I’ve been to this year, Lexington Grill is well up there in design (versus my still favorite Gatsby themed interior at Butcher & Still) with points for moody lighting and intimate seating. Lexington Grill obviously competes in terms of food preparation and delivery, but while the short ribs were out of his world, overall, Graze still edges out the other two steakhouses (maybe it’s the magic of the Josper grill). Of course, really, the biggest winners are the diners at these three restaurants. A well-prepared steak, outstanding service, great company and a glass of wine? Who could ask for anything more?
On a final note, I was delighted to see AmStur on the menu! I love when great brands get together.
If you find yourself in RAK, I would reccomend either Umi or Lexington Grill for a memorable night.