If memory serves, I went to Asado for the first time around 2009/10, when the Souq Al Bahar was brand new, as was most of the area. I was struck by the stunning view of the Burj Khalifa — one of the best in the city — which I am happy to say, hasn’t changed.
Although it’s too hot to dine outside on the lovely terrace, the dark (perhaps, too dark) interior is done in polished wood, with a view into the kitchen (including not one, but two baby goats roasting over hot coals). We are invited to view, which my dining companion jumps to see. For the record, I did not particularly feel it necessary to have photos of goat carcass in this review. Once we return to the table, there is more uncooked meat to review — fancy steaks in a box with their own spotlight. After we get a good look, Chef Josefinna Vallve (lady power!) comes out personally to greet us and offer a selection of starters, leaving us to choose our mains and desserts. Before we go any further, we review the cocktail menu, and both decide G&Ts are in order (props to an excellent selection). I choose a peach infused version, while my guest tries the spicier option (she wins).
For starters, we are offered four plates, my favorite (of the entire evening) being the grilled avocado, made even better by the slightly sweet caramelized onions, lightly dressed salad, and selection of crunchy vegetables. For vegetarian diners, this won’t replace a main, but it is nice to be considered. A pair of ubiquitous empanadas (chicken and beef) also find their way to the table, amid a pile of decorative chilis. The next round sees a pan of grilled provolone (more below) and a starter selection of roasted baby goat (also see below). Of the group, I think I would most likely order the grilled avocado again.
We try our best to pause before the beautiful cut of Sirloin arrives — fortunately, there are sharing portions available, and we do our best to tackle the protein. A quartet of sauces are served, as well as a selection of salts and mustards. Really, if you are into sauces and accouterments with your steak, Asado is the restaurant to beat. For sides, we split a too salty creamed spinach as well as soggier than advertised stack of double cooked chips.
For dessert, we diverge and I go for the chocolate fondant, served charmingly as potted soil, while across the table Creme de Caramel is met with noises of delight and an exclamation of ‘You must try this!’ We cannot fault the sweets, although perhaps renaming the caramel dish as a flan or even a custard might be more apt.
A few notes worth mentioning:
- While I think the nature of our visit (an arranged review), the service was ready to FLY, such that we barely had a moment to pause between courses. I dislike having to instruct servers the exact time I want to eat, but we had to pump the brakes a few times during the meal. It’s a fine balance to determine when plates should be cleared, but generally, guests put out small cues that shouldn’t be ignored. I understand wanting to keep a reviewer happy, but there has to be some give and take. (Yes, please feel free to tell me I should be anonymous in my reviews and pay for everything myself — I’ll let you know when I have a budget for that).
- While the majority of the menu worked, I would tweak a few things — namely, the level of heat/spice/depth in the signature baby goat dish, which was also problematic to eat off the bone. Similarly, while intended, I felt the cheese (which congealed into a singularly large clump), was not a dish I would order again. For the record, I like my cheese oozy and gooey.
- While I applaud ALL the sauce, I think a bit larger servings or sauces chosen by the guests would be a better fit for a restaurant of this caliber.
- As mentioned, when the interior is too dark to see the beautiful plates of food and mini flashlights are involved, I think the restaurant needs to be brighter. There’s mood lighting, and then there are missing details entirely.
- I’d suggest a harder look at the side dishes, both of which were disappointments. In my opinion, double cooked fries should be crispy on the outside and slightly moist in the middle. These definitely needed another round somewhere in the process to amp up the crisp factor.
- Even though the location is exclusive, the price points all seem a bit over what feels comfortable to pay — I’m looking at you, AED30 per Empanada and AED85 priced starters that seem more in line at AED50. Perhaps, with the use of the Entertainer, the final bill would make a bit more sense.
Would I go back? As my dining partner and I discussed, this is certainly a step up from nearby Meat & Co and an absolutely beautiful location for out of town guests or a special occasion. While my favorite steak in the city still belongs to Graze, Asado continues to offer excellent, attentive service, proteins, and authentic Argentinian food.
Where’s your favorite steak restaurant in Dubai?
A to Za’atar was a guest of Asado. Opinions are my own, just ask my husband.