January 23, 2013 Gemmayze & Mar Mikhael Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Visiting BlackRock Restaurant and Lounge Again: Improvement and Professionalism Respected

Phone Number: +961 1 567 444

Address: Mar Mikhael main street, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon

Website: http://www.blackrock-steaklounge.com

Price Range: 65-95 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 4.5/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 21/30

Architecture / Interior: 2/10

Food presentation: 6/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 5/10

BlackRock Restaurant; located in the Soho-esque Mar Mikael area of Beirut; is the first of its kind not only locally but internationally. The black facade welcomes you into a shiny U-shaped bar where a unique jazzy atmosphere welcomes both the young and the old crowd alike, looking for a unique concept in town. Opened for around a month and half now, BlackRock does just that. Imagine a premium piece of meat served on a hot rock - that's unique. After visiting Black Rock on the 17th of December, I wanted to come back again and this time I did so, with Rola Baksmaty while shooting a segment on NGNO for the next episode of Lamasat TV Show on Future TV. (The show will be aired this sunday 27th of January on Future TV at 10pm)

We arrived at 1pm and were welcomed by the manager and his staff who accompanied us through this enjoyable lunch which lasted more than two hours. Meat, foie gras, Shrimps and red wine all blended together in a cozy and enjoyable atmosphere. Although the crew was shooting, and Hani, the director was focusing on the smallest details, Rola and I made sure that this lunch is criticized the NoGarlicNoOnions way: I was honestly impressed with the improvements made since my last visit. The menu sections:

Soups, starters, salads, rocks, side dishes, sauces, desserts, coffee, water, sodas & juices, beer, wine by the glass, white wines, rose wines, red wines, champagne, vodka, whiskey, bourbon, tequila, gin, rum, spirits, brandy & cognac.

We ordered: (I know that I ordered the same plates of the last visit, but I liked their taste and color so much that I couldn't resist repeating again)

  • Duck selection (foie gras, smoked duck magret, quince jelly and figs bread)
  • Cognac blazed shrimps (shrimps blazed with cognac served with avocado and tomatoes tartare)
  • Rocks: American Tenderloin 250g with 2 side dishes (purée a l’ancienne and spinach with cream) and sauces (fennel and  honey mustard)
  • Pain Perdu: The Blackrock signature way

The enjoyable culinary experience:

  • Tasty warm fig bread served with a generous Foie Gras piece having an adequate temperature with thin tasty magret duck slices
  • Crunchy fresh shrimps covered with ground black pepper served with a cold avocado salad mixed with small diced tomato cubes perfectly seasoned with lemon juice and cognac. This plate is a success
  • The concept of meat served on hot rock is great. I loved the meat, its softness and how fast it cooks on the stone. The meat served is off first quality and melts under your teeth. A pinkish block of tender prime American beef without a drop of blood. Just 10 seconds on the grill and your are ready to devour it without the needed of adding a sauce... The manager suggested we try their new American one and he was absolutely right. A few restaurants in Lebanon can compete with Blackrock's concept and quality.
  • Bravo for the Pain Perdu. The cooking time, sweetness, taste, temperature and consistency are good. Finally! This is what I call a Pain Perdu.
I liked:
  • The bread, served to start, is warm and crunchy
  • The sea salt crystals served with the meat
  • The ashtrays without cigarette support
  • The management attention to details and overall improvements made on the place
  • The huge LCD screens displaying enjoyable shows continuously

NGNO's suggestions after first trial were taken into consideration:

  • I asked for the burger meat to be bigger: It is
  • The spinach was not of premium quality: try it now - it looks appetizing
  • The lights on the lower floor were too dimmed showing a nightclub more than a restaurant: It has been fixed. The place has fully been refurbished and the setup improved
  • The ventilation system is much better. My clothes didn't smell bad after my meal today
  • The Pain Perdu (French Toast) is now a successful dessert. Changed inside out!

Couple of minor points and the place will be great:

  • The side dishes did not improve the way I hoped they would. They are still served cold and lack of taste. Focus on them more. Work on their consistency, their taste, their seasoning and their temperature. I think that the white plate they are served on is too cold making it's content lose its heat quickly.
  • A good square fabrics napkin is a must to have in such a high-end restaurant. Paper napkins are not enough
  • Better quality napkins placed on the table is a must - they now have low quality commercial paper napkins. It's crucial.
  • I don't like the wine glasses. Too heavy and too thick
  • Waiters should have more confidence in themselves and speak lounder

On my first visit, I felt that BlackRock can and is still willing to improve. Today was the proof of that. Continuous improvements to position itself as a high end restaurant in the country's top culinary list. Go check it out for yourself.





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