As Abu Dhabi’s residents for more than half a decade we’ve had the pleasure of dining at virtually every steakhouse in the capital, except for one! For many years 55 & 5th The Grill situated within the beautiful beachfront property of the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, has evaded our dining prowess.
Our only previous encounter with the restaurant had been as part of the hotel’s Epicurean Friday Brunch where the oysters, foie gras and carvery stations (and an impressive cheese room) are located. Yet under the cover of darkness the restaurant presents an altogether different feeling, one of seductive exclusively and one that we would definitely mark down as a ‘special occasion’ spot.
As the resort’s signature venue, 55 & 5th The Grill is inspired by the address of the original St. Regis hotel in New York. Bucking the usual steakhouse trends of over-used leather, cow hides and polished wooden flooring, 55 & 5th is more contemporary and less masculine than one might expect. Illuminated in electric purple hues, the venue boasts impressively high ceilings hung with light fittings resembling falling pearls. A grand piano stands in one corner and the thoughtful configuration of tables means plenty of space and privacy, with a number of private dining areas situated upon a raised podium.
Our meal begins with canapés presented upon a silver platter that showcase an elegance missing from so many fine-dining establishments in the city. The venue has been thoughtful designed and key elements are integrated throughout the space, with the cross-hatch textures found upon a feature wall, utilized for the menu covers. Located up a narrow flight of stairs is a wine loft come private dining room, where wine lovers will discover hundreds of bottles beautifully backlit in glass cases recessed within the walls.
Candlelight and a jazz soundtrack further enhance the mood but 55 & 5th The Grill is not just another steakhouse. The menu deviates from the norm and while many popular steakhouse classics appear (steak tartare, foie gras, buratta) there are no oysters or carpaccio to be found. Instead a refreshing selection of new options such as chargrilled octopus and a delightfully creamy baby pumpkin soup with parmesan emulsion (AED 60) are offered.
When we finally get around to writing a post on the best burrata’s in Abu Dhabi the simple burrata (AED 75) with pickled pepperonata, heirloom tomatoes and truffle oil will feature prominently. The Italian cheese is expectedly sweet and creamy, offset by the acidity from the tomatoes and elevated by the subtle addition of truffle oil. The plate is visually appealing with spiralized peppers adding bursts of colour and an almost artistic look to the dish.
The Egg 62°C (AED 80) is a dish we are unlikely to have selected for ourselves, but arrived upon the insistence of the chef. Perhaps not the most striking dish when it comes to appearance, the egg which is slow cooked for one hour, offers remarkable flavour combinations. A velvety egg yolk complements the unusual combination of cool Alaskan crab, avocado, sweet pecan nuts and veal bacon. Harmonising together as one perfect dish that is perhaps the most significant choice on the entire menu.
While Abu Dhabi steakhouses have adapted a trend of interactive cookery and table-side touches in recent years, 55 & 5th The Grill is no different. Four breads (squid ink, corn bread, olive and sourdough) and various butters are offered and while many tend to overdo things with an abundance of salts and sauces, these are not required at 55 & 5th The Grill. The meat is so profound that it requires no additional seasoning!
Our Australian 200g Tajima Cross Bred Wagyu Tenderloin (AED 385) transpires to be a plump cut, gloriously tender and served at a perfect medium rare, accompanied by a sweet buttered corn, French fries Espellette and sautéed mushrooms (AED 55 each).
With the bar set so high with the savoury choices, the deconstructed cheesecake made for an overwhelming finish as we moved from the sophisticated confines of the dining room and out onto the terrace. A space flanked by palm trees and the sound of the ocean which takes on a magical quality with the arrival of nightfall.
The New York Cheesecake (a steakhouse staple) is deconstructed amongst a variety of textures. Gels, meringues, soils, fruits and sorbets all help to bring balance and texture to the show-stopping final course, but despite the excess surrounding the dessert, the simplicity of the white chocolate cheesecake is undoubtably the star of the show.
55 & 5th The Grill represents a modern take on the steakhouse and one that succeeds admirably. With such a concise menu, the dishes remain focused while the quality high, while a new pricing structure ensures value for money and brings 55 & 5th The Grill into the realms of affordability.
After six years in the capital we cannot believe it’s taken us so long to dine at this New-York inspired tribute to all things meat and based upon this initial visit, we look forward to an imminent return to enjoy the braised bbq wagyu beef cheeks and 24 hour cooked lamb shoulder. You could say that our appetite has been well and truly whetted.
Out & About UAE were guests of 55 & 5th. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.