In 2011 fire caused serious damage to this building during renovation works. But here in 2013 the completed Fosters & Partners designed building houses the modern 173 room ME hotel, and this slice of New York Americana transferred to London.
STK grew in popularity from its Meatpacking District base in Manhattan, and then spreading further up the island to Mid-town in a second incarnation. Having frequented the Mid-town version of this Steak-house come-cocktail lounge bar I was eager to try London’s version. The décor is present and correct, with sweeping circular booths with faux white leather and dark walls. On Friday and Saturday you have a DJ kicking out the music until late in the night, but on the Monday we went it was all about what culinary tunes the chef could deliver.
While the menu’s primary focus is the obligatory STeaK, it also contains a good range of fish and other very palatable dishes. To nudge the proceedings off we went for the ‘lil’ BRGS’ and the Seared Scallops as recommended by our very attentive hostess. The need to abbreviate things as with the ‘STK’ alongside the ‘lil’ BRGS’ is present and correct, but we’ll forgive them this considering the Little Burgers are made with Wagyu raised beef, and come with either foie gras or a truffle sauce.
Whilst we were waiting for the starters a lovely in-house baked bread arrived with a fantastic parsley dipping sauce. That alongside a fruity Chilean Sangiovese from their extensive wine menu really set the taste buds dancing in anticipation.
We dived straight into the burgers and the succulent meat was soft, rare and juicy; and the buns held their shape even alongside the delicious creamy truffle sauce. The Wagyu beef was terrifically tasty and these lil BRGS disappeared in a fair rate of knots. Very good starter. The Scallops were seared perfectly, succulently juicy with a cauliflower purée and jus gras serving as perfect accompaniments.
While the menu dispelled the notion that these guys know nothing about anything but steaks, as a red blooded carnivore I couldn’t resist. The options are numerous – grilled, aged USA prime beef from across the pond available in small, medium & large, encompassing Fillet, Sirloin, T-Bone, Rib-Eye and of course the Wagyu. This all with the options for 4 toppings, and 8 specialist sauces to boot… not an easy choice but ultimately the Large T-Bone with the Meatpackers sauce, and the Rib-Eye with STK Bold sauce were the ultimate decisions. The sides choice is also fairly diverse but we went for the Parmesan Truffle Chips, and the Yorkshire Pudding with onion sauce.
The steaks arrived smelling incredible and tasting just as good. The meat was extremely lean and any small amount of rind was so succulent it could be consumed ad infinitum. The sauces were a great addition to the rare meat, enhancing and giving a well-rounded flavour worthy of the best steak meals. The T-Bone was frankly enormous and had been aged well, as was the Rib-Eye. The only thing stopping us was how many belt notches we had, but the steaks in addition to the two great sides we ordered left us more than satisfied. The side of chips came in a well constructed Jenga like stack and the Yorkshire arrived on a mini-saucepan with the onion sauce on top… simple, delicious, and filling.
Despite the required belt loosening we persevered after we were gleefully presented with the dessert menu by the hostess. We chose the Raspberry Mille Feuille and the Chocolate Brownie dessert. The Mille Feuille had two wafer thin biscuit snaps encasing raspberry ice cream, covered in fresh raspberries, a raspberry foam and some more raspberry’s on the plate for good measure… oh and some raspberry sauce as well. Great to look at, and multi-layered flavours to boot. The chocolate dessert was equally a spectacle, and if it wasn’t decadent enough already the waiter poured on lashings of hot chocolate sauce on delivery
Sat there full to bursting we had to finish off with a small glass of Port to help the digestion and cogitate on what had just happened. Well, the meal was delicious overall – the service was very attentive indeed, and the portions generous and well considered. The sheer variety on offer on the menu means there is a choice for everyone, and surely anyone would be satisfied with the results be it for a business meeting in this great location off of the Strand, a date night or a a good catch up with mates. One thing to remember is that it isn’t the cheapest, but what quality places are? We felt like we did have value, and a return performance might well be in the offing.
£120 pp – With pre-drinks, wine and 3 courses.
Tel: (0)20 7395 3450
336-337 The Strand, London, WC2R 1HA