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Well lit, beautifully decorated, a high ceiling, green trees and black tables, lightly colored wooden panels and freshly designed plates, "The Grill" down at The Beirut Four Seasons is where we're having dinner tonight. I'm usually here to have breakfast as it's where Lebanon's best breakfast is served. For dinner The Grill offers a selection of meats, poultry and seafood accompanied with carefully cooked sauces and sides. After two long years, I'm back to experience its class.
It's had the same decor for as long as I can remember except for the main wall which has been transformed into a buffet and display area. At the entrance is where cigars are puffed while the main dining space is smoke-free.
I love how the tables are covered with black leather, the wooden stand in the middle waiting to host the bread. You can't help but look at all the details that make this place one of the best grill houses in town. Villeroy & Boch signature plates, Paderno meat knives, Schott Zwiesel wine glasses, handmade red glass cups, the soft carpet and the relaxing chairs.
One waiter can transform your experience either up or down, so when you're pampered by a professional who maintains a smile on his face, who explains the order with professionalism, who insists on offering two kinds of wine to taste so you are certain of having the best one... and more of the little things that make your experience extra special, you remember that man. So thank you to our waiter, Elie. Tonight's dinner was memorable for all the right reasons.
Dinner starts with the famous bread, brown or multi-cereal prepared à la minute. The buns are served with butter, sea salt and pepper.
Starters first: what caught my attention was the presentation and the decor of the plates. Beautifully designed like famous chefs do, even the vegetable platter looks so mouthwatering. Appealing presentation but average taste...
- I had the goat's cheese with spinach... way too salty for a salad, balls of goat cheese with balsamic vinegar of an excess acidity you cannot easily eat. Beetroot chunks come to add a bit of sweetness to the plate. I couldn't handle the mix of flavors so asked politely for it to be sent back to the kitchen.
- My wife had an amazing burrata, super molten inside out served with a colorful crown of tomatoes flavored with basil cream. Good quality and flavor.
- The green and white asparagus come in a metallic pot with a lemon maltaise sauce and parmesan chips. The quality of asparagus used is good but I couldn't feel the necessary tanginess and sweetness of a real maltaise sauce...disappointing when considering the morning chefs do prepare a very good hollandaise.
- Tuna niçoise with seared tuna, lettuce hearts, tomato confit and anchovies. The salad looks good, several ingredients presented like a masterpiece with lemon sauce in the middle. Yet is it superb, fantastic, very innovative and unique? I couldn't feel anything much except the freshness of the ingredients.
Expected more from the starters...but the meats are exceptional!
- Really exceptional, amazingly done, super tender, beautifully marinated, superbly aromatic and enjoyable.
- The meats are served with spinach, fries or purée all of which are up to the standard of fine dining restaurants.
- The sauces are spot on! Bravo for such great flavors.
- As I already mentioned, I'm sure The Grill is Lebanon's only decent grill house: it is without close competition.
I loved the vibes and ambiance, left impressed by the perfect service, enjoyed the experience from start to end. I've always liked it here and still do.
A dinner experience is not complete without dessert:
- We were offered the house made chocolates, a homemade "Tarboosh", meringue cream, dark chocolate on a bed of crunchy biscuit. It's the most expensive "Tarboosh" you could ever find; made from Valhrona 66% chocolate, vanilla from Madagascar organic eggs and biscuit Breton.
- The chocolate fondant is one of the best I've had in Lebanon, very dark chocolate cake with a molten heart and spongy envelop served next to a homemade vanilla ice cream. Not sweet but intense and balanced.
- The Four Seasons now produce their own chocolates: coffee; passion or raspberry; a fine selection you would appreciate.
Visited by the chef, the hotel manager and the F&B manager, my dinner was memorable. We paid a well deserved $80/person. The Grill is a fine, upscale and romantic restaurant that's always on my radar.