Haute Eat: St. Regis’s 55th & 5th, The Grill

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Enter into the classic dim-lit setting of 55th & 5th, The Grill at the newly-opened St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi and you’ll be whisked away to the quiet and ultra-sophisticated setting of the original St. Regis in New York City. With its high ceilings, minimalist decor, dark wooden floors and high backed black armchairs, this is a restaurant which recalls the sharp style found in posh New York eateries. There’s an East Coast big city feeling which pervades the ambiance; 55th & 55th’s decor exudes an understated wealth, elegance, and heritage. Three discreet alcoves – each with their own chandelier – provides for an intimate and classy dining experience.

My guest and I were greeted by friendly staff and directed to one of the tables located on the upper level of the venue so that we had a view of the main dining room below. We were provided with scented refreshing towels and given a brief overview of the menu which was in store for us. We were explained that the menu is seasonal and that ingredients are used according to their freshness and availability. Such a bespoke culinary experience was further heightened when the sommelier came out to introduce himself. He wanted to know our selections in order  to prepare the appropriate wines – a full rich red wine for the meat and a light white for the fish.

Our meal began with servings of Osetra Caviar accompanied with smoked Scottish salmon and spring garnishes and Obsiblue prawns lightly cooked with sweet pea ravioli, green garlic and tempura squash blossoms. Both exuded an explosion of rich and poignant tastes. The caviar was rich and smooth with a sweet aftertaste that paired nicely with the rustic and ropey texture of the smoked salmon. The prawns were cooked just right and were nicely moist and tender while the sauce boasted of an exuberance of springtime ingredients brought out through the smooth and succulent sweet pea ravioli heightened with the addition of the crunchy squash blossoms.

The servings were elegantly small yet of undoubtedly rich additives – the perfect size for which to enjoy such gourmet preparations without becoming overly satisfied. Onto the mains, we were served an exquisite John Dorry made with Yuzu brown butter, pearl barley, kombu and bonito. I relished its smooth and satiny texture and slightly sweet and salty taste. My guest opted for the Irish Beef Ribeye of bone marrow, garden peas and Tokyo turnips which he professed was perfectly done – tender in the inside and crisp on the outside with the refreshing accompaniment of just enough veggies.

Utterly satisfied and exhibiting a sense of calm appreciation which I find often comes after one eats a meal perfectly balanced in size, ingredients and presentation, we made our way onto 55th & 5th’s grand finale – the Chocolate Soufflé. Served with Madagascar vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce – as we delved our spoons into the dish take a plunge, warm rich and enticing chocolate erupted. Intensely satisfying without overdoing it – this dessert cleansed the palette and finished the meal off in sweet serenity.

This restaurant is about quality, not quantity. It is simply put – a beacon of class, sophistication and old-school New York charm. 55th & 5th merits many returns.

St. Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, +971 24988888

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