February 20, 2015 Beirut Lebanon

The Grill Room: Meat has a Fine Dining Address

Non-smokers friendly

RATING:83/100

Welcoming: 5/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 6/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 8/10

I was here for the new menu's launch and promised to come back for a detailed review. So here I am, just a few weeks after to experience one of Beirut's finest grills: The Four Seasons' Grill Room.

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Up on the second floor is a wide restaurant welcoming you to the finest breakfast in Lebanon, as well as to a classy lunch and dinner. A superb and professional welcoming rarely found in the country, round tables for enjoyable discussions, exceptional bread... The Grill Room experience is guaranteed satisfaction. 

It was 9pm when we arrived at The Four Seasons. A hosted welcomed us with a large smile. Seeing me taking picture she offered to immortalize the moment by photographing me with my wife; bravo! Other restaurants would have forbidden me photos.

At the table, every detail is mastered to perfection. Water is served by priority, women first, older people then the younger generation. The menu followed, by order of priority. Fine wine glasses, colored water cups, a fork, knife and a butter knife. A bread plate on the other side was an wonderful piece of art. 

The bread, I could write paragraphs about it. This homemade bread cooked in a metallic mold. A flaky envelope, an airy heart, lots of seeds for the brown version and purity for the white, a fluffy touch on the tongue, a moist feel... Just spread the butter and enjoy life.

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The place’s little details:

  • You enter a long room with a private bar on the left, a couple sofas on the right in front of the terrace.
  • The main dining area in the middle facing the display of wine bottles.
  • At the end is a circular room with its circular table that give a breathtaking view of the sea and Zaitunay bay.
  • High ceiling gives the space a relaxing feel.
  • In the middle, on the wooden wall, four cow heads remind you that you are in a grill restaurant
  • Wood separators are decorated with Arabic calligraphy.
  • Relaxing brown carpet with squares make walking around feel like floating on cotton.
  • Round and square tables depending on the customer’s preference.
  • The chairs are so relaxing with their arm rests, you’ll feel like you’re enjoying coffee.
  • A large glass facade separates the space from the kitchen.
  • Behind it are wine coolers with a choice of 200 different European bottles.
  • Dim lights makes your dinner cozier.

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The details at the table:

  • Paderno branded professional meat knives which helps cut your pieces with style.
  • Two forks on the left and two knives on the right with a butter spreader on a small bread plate.
  • The bread wood platter with its knife add the required style.
  • The tables have two levels.
  • The center part is higher hosting the bread basket and its side bowls Leather covers cover all the tables, protecting the wood while adding a more relaxed feeling for the hands.
  • Burgundy color is everywhere

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The menu:

  • Salads
  • Appetizers
  • Chef's grill selection (for two people)
  • The rotisserie
  • Meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Side vegetables
  • Side potatoes
  • How the meat is done 

I liked a new proposition of the menu:

  • The chef's grill selection is a choice of meat and seafood combined like a starred chef's tasting combination. How they do it, explanations along with the color of the meat, is an innovation I haven't found before in Lebanon.
  • Organic has found its way onto the menu.
  • The choice of salads and appetizers is interesting, like the duck confit risotto.
  • Rotisserie is the new trend.
  • Your choices of meat range between 180 and 400 grams.

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A detail I loved:

  • The wine list is offered via an app. A large iPad is handed to you so you can choose from a large selection. I appreciated the range of Lebanese wines, more than 36 distributed by region.

Unfortunately two things happened:

  • We ordered Marquis des Beys 2009 which was not available, so the 2010 bottle landed. Not professional.
  • The risotto has garlic in it, the side orders have garlic, the burger has garlic with the truffles... Garlic is almost everywhere and I don't like that.

Food, as good as always:

  • The tuna Nicoise I ordered was fresh, generous and tasty. A mountain of greenery, Roma lettuce, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, green beans, quail eggs and the tuna. Potatoes and black olives as well, a nice combination. Five thick pieces of fresh tuna, slightly grilled on the side and seasoned with the rest of the salad. That's a good dish.
  • Spinach and asparagus was also good, very generous as well, fresh and innovative.
  • You should have seen the Burratta. A ball of mozzarella Burratta cheese served in the middle of a round plate with red and yellow cherry tomatoes and basil leaves on the side. Salt, olive oil and a pesto sauce we asked to be removed because it contains garlic. Even without it, the salad is a recommendation.

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The starters were all good, everyone on be table enjoyed their first plate despite the delay in serving. 

  • The Four Seasons' burger was part of my Top10 list and surely still is, but it now has a new presentation. Cranberries decorate the plate around it, a bun covered with white poppy seeds, a cheese slice melting in the thick meat, a bed of potato fingers and on top, the poached egg. I never imagined that a potato could add that much flavor, the egg that much finesse and the chunk of meat was also incredibly good. That's a burger to eat with a knife and fork without the thick, condensed, cold and bready top. Pick up your fork, cut a piece and start feeling it layer by layer, one on top of the other. The smoothness of the egg, the juiciness of the meat, the tenderness of the thick fries and the sweetness of the blueberries. It's a fine dining version of the burger.
  • We were six, all took the meat, it was good, very good indeed. A meat, tender like butter, with a grilled after note, a red heart that's not bloody, melting under the teeth in style. Impressively good to say the least.
  • With that we had the potato purée, the butternut cream, the grilled mushrooms, the hash brown potatoes, the fries... All the side orders were good.

Dinner at the grill room is a grill experience par excellence. A fine dining approach, professionalism and meat that's the finest the country has to offer. Now it was time for dessert.

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I remember once a restaurant called Alexandre by Michel Kaizer, one of my finest starred experiences to date, where dessert was offered on a tray and looked more like a tower of desserts. At the Four Seasons, a wide selection of desserts approaches the table. An exotic fruit tart, a mixed berry tart, St Honoré, chocolate cake, chocolate macaroon, chocolate mousse, fruit salad, berries soupe, granola with caramel and chocolate and individual bites of orientalist sweets.

The desserts were presented and everyone made their choice. Chocolate macaroons served in a portion of three. Flavorful chocolate macaroons that are chewy, not crunchy. Good enough. The granola chocolate flakes molded in balls are crunchy and tasty for sure. I loved the light saltiness and the buttery chocolate. The red berry tart has a crunchy dough and that's a good start, generously filled with berries, but lacking in flavor. I'd surely add more cream to add flavor and taste. The tart I had is exactly like eating a biscuit with fruit on it. 

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The best part:

  • Dessert was offered. We ordered three items which were not charged. I loved this gesture. 

The minus:

  • The music is really annoying. The high volume made hardly talk with each other. From time to time the beat felt like a drum in my head.

A pleasant experience it is. Been here, done that, appreciated the restaurant and will surely be coming back for more. Every visit is guaranteed enjoyment.

 




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been there? what was your impression? (10/10)

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