Rodeo Grill located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Beach Rotana Hotel, has made quite a name for itself in little under two decades. You see, Rodeo Grill was the first all American steakhouse to open in the capital back in 1998 and is still regarded as one of the premier choices in the city for those looking to insatiate their carnivorous desires.
As the name suggests, cattle is the focus of the dining experience but this is not just any steakhouse. What sets this established restaurant apart from its numerous competitors is the proficient service, high quality ingredients and a penchant for doing things a little differently.
The steakhouse is generally associated with being a masculine environment, and while Rodeo Grill does feature an abundance of dark wood and upholstered leather. The feeling is less man-cave and more sophisticated lounge. Seating is designed with comfort in mind and walls are tastefully decorated with black and white prints depicting images of the American frontier. Copper accents accentuate the colour scheme and a subtle use of velvet provides additional textures. A small private dining area is available for those in search of privacy.
Rodeo Grill offers a menu of steakhouse classics with a few wild card dishes thrown in for good measure. Diners can expect Burrata and Yellowfin Tuna amongst the usual foie gras, steak tartare and lobster cocktail. We were entirely surprised by the seared Seawater Prawns, arriving in a vibrantly coloured reduction of orange, carrot and mustard seeds, that’s deceptively sweet but perfectly balanced. The Sea Scallops also deserve a mention for their delicate texture complemented by veal bacon, peas and pear. While those looking for something a little more indulgent should give serious consideration to the Truffle Fries, arriving at the table like a volcano, erupting with parmesan cheese and the distinct aroma of truffle. It’s easy to see how this has become somewhat of a signature dish for the restaurant.
When it comes to steak, diners are in for a real treat. Each table is allocated a ‘meat master’ to talk you through the various cuts and guide you into selecting the right steak based upon your own personal preferences. With the raw meats displayed table-side, expect a crash course is marbling and butchery that acts as a good way to educate those slightly perturbed by the various choices.
All steaks at Rodeo Grill are cooked in the Josper Grill, a device imported from Spain which works as a combination of oven and grill, allowing for the sealing of the meat, while smoking and grilling at the same time. It’s a process that allows the steak to remain unbelievably tender, enhancing it with a subtle smoked flavour. No gas is used to cook the meat, just charcoal and wood chips.
Whether you select the milk fed veal, Irish John Stone or the Argentinian Black Angus, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed, as the meat remains juicy. The Australian Blackmore M9+ is simply unmissable, offering 100% Wagyu, grain fed for a minimum of 650 days (that’s almost two years) that literally melts in the mouth. All steaks are served with a selection of potatoes, sides and sauces and although we’re partial to a bayoniase, it’s not entirely necessary as the flavours of the meat alone are exceptional. Complemented by refined plating that features a small stack of onions rings, a sprig of rosemary and cherry tomatoes to accompany the meat.
Desserts maintain the same level of quality and if you have room we strongly suggest the Chocolate Souffle which is unbelievably light and accompanied by a vanilla ice cream to cut through the inevitable richness. Failing that, the Cheesecake Donuts are an interesting hybrid of two wonderful desserts that we’ve not experienced elsewhere.
Rodeo Grill has some strong competition in the form of newer openings in the city but with a loyal following of regular diners, a relaxed and inviting environment and a real character in the form of manager Jomon John who injects warmth and personality into proceedings. Although steak reigns supreme, there are a number of other options available (black cod, chicken, gnocchi and lobster) but when the steak is this good, it’s hard to give anything else a chance. This is a steakhouse offering a competitive pricing structure reflective of Rotana’s reputation for good value for money and one that should definitely be on your radar.
An edited version of this post first appeared in the June 2017 issue of FACT Abu Dhabi
Location: Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area (Al Zahiyah), Abu Dhabi
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 12:30pm – 3:30pm / 7pm – 11pm
Phone: 02 304 8088
We were invited to dine at Rodeo Grill. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. Cover image used courtesy of Beach Rotana.