A tale of two steaks

This Ramadhan i’ve had cravings for simple meat dishes for iftar. So despite the fact that my wallet can’t really support this type of indulgence, i’ve had steaks at TGIF Bandar Utama and also Tony Romas @ The Curve

The experiences i had at both places were like night and day.


mediumrare.jpg

TGIF’s steak did not look like this, Tony Romas’ did

Tuesday last week i visited TGIF Bandar Utama. I expected the place to be full during iftar and i wasn’t wrong. I was put on a waiting list, i was told that a table would be available at 8.30pm.

This in itself wasn’t too bad, what was bad was the fact that other parties that arrived after i did were given tables even though they didn’t have any reservations either. How do i know this? A group of four young pretty 20-somethings were standing behind me and i clearly heard them say amongst themselves that they didn’t think they could get a table because they had no reservations. A moment after i had put myself on the waiting list, i walked away, when i turned i saw that they were being escorted into the restaurant. 

Was it because they were pretty (the person controlling traffic was a man) or was it because i wasn’t persuasive enough?

In any case, i returned at 8.30, and was told that although they had free tables (i could clearly see them from the entrance), their kitchen was at capacity therefore i had to keep on waiting. This was when i started kicking up a fuss, threatened to ask for the supervisor. It was ridiculous — you have free tables, you asked the customer to come back at 8.30pm, and when he does, you tell him to carry on waiting? And, the manner of explanation wasn’t very polite either. I wasn’t standing for it.

As i tapped my foot waiting for the supervisor to appear, i was suddenly ushered in and seated at a table, and my order taken. Seems that my hardball tactics worked. 

The wait for the food wasn’t very long, but for the quality of the steak i ordered, it might as well have been forever.

Rib eye, 10oz, medium rare with garlic butter sauce. Fries and broccoli on the side. 

The steak was very poorly done. Medium rare leaves some room for the middle of the steak to be pinkish and juicy with blood. But it was unevenly cooked, with the edges of the steak being properly cooked according to specifications, but the center portions of the steak being horrendously undercooked and virtually stringy raw.

That plus the disaster of the garlic butter sauce — don’t be fooled folks it looks nothing like the picture in the menu. There was SO MUCH sauce on the steak, it virtually drowned out everything good about this cut of meat. The flavour of the sauce just overwhelmed everything else and i don’t think i can be faulted for thinking that i was eating a garlic clove rather than what is supposed to be a prime cut of meat. 

The broccoli was a mess too, with too much salt and butter.

Overall, the meal was just too salty, and i left it unfinished. 

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the bill, i quickly left, swearing not to spend my hard earned money there again.

I needed something to take away this poor experience, and i needed it quick. Last Friday night i went to Tony Romas @ The Curve to find redemption in my faith in a good steak. I’m happy to report that they delivered in every way.

I didn’t have reservations, so i expected to be on the waiting list. No problems. 8.30pm, but the person taking my reservation asked for my number and promised to call if a table opened up earlier. I gave her my number but really wasn’t hoping for much, the place was packed and looking at the line behind me, there were many others waiting to get in as well.

At 8.10pm, i get a call telling me that a table was available and being held for me. What a pleasant surprise!

I was seated, and my order taken. The wait for my meal to arrive was a bit longer compared to TGIF but it was worth the wait. A 10oz New York Strip, medium rare with a baked potato and pesto salad on side.

The steak itself was magnificently well cooked. Evenly cooked throughout the length of the steak, with just a nice hint of pink running through the middle. Juicy, tender and simple, allowing my palate to enjoy the flavours of a good piece of meat. Outrageously good steak.

Unlike my visit to TGIF, i was very happy to be parted with my money and will definitely go back for more.

I’ve been to both TGIF and Tony’s before in the past, but never have i ordered their steaks before. Based on these visits, it clear that one does steaks so much better than the other and provides a superior customer service experience. 

Don’t hesitate. When the beef bug bites, Tony Romas is the way to go.

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