Monday, May 25, 2009

Oh Hello, Angus!

Hard-core carnivores are very particular about their steak. Based on my observation in restaurants, nothing probably gets sent back to the kitchen more often than these slabs of beef. Depending on personal preferences, all too often steaks could be either overcooked (stiff, dry, stringy) or undercooked (bloody, pretty much still alive). Even some really good restaurants with chefs adept in advanced and highly technical preparations are not exempt from the carnivores’ finicky obsession with getting the doneness right.

A craving for good steak brought me back to I’m Angus, the new Werdenberg-owned restaurant beside Swiss resto Chesa Bianca and Italian food standard Carpaccio. Finding another excuse to get-together, I call on my college buddies Sam, Mara and Marc, all with a similar love for good food. The dark, masculine interior is the perfect backdrop for our gregarious giggles as we caught up on some scandalous gossip regarding a former schoolmate.

As we chose from the expansive selections of wines from Santis (also owned by Werdenberg Corp.) and their line-up of Choice and Prime Angus steaks, we admired some bags that Sam was carrying with her. We were all shocked to find out that what looked like punk-rockish metal trimmings were actually the pulls from soft drink cans collected in Smokey Mountain- the massive landfill that was the unofficial “pin-up” of late 1980’s Manila and inspiration to early Geneva Cruz songs. Sam has been actively working with a charity that gives the marginalized residents of the area a means of livelihood through the collection of these can-pulls, something that she is very passionate about since she strongly believes these people should be given jobs, not dole-outs. I have some pretty awesome friends.

Anticipating the heavy dinner ahead, we decided not to order appetizers anymore. Marc, though, had another dinner to attend, and just decided to order a couple of salads (the Shrimp Salad and the I’m Angus Salad) while completely ignoring the meat courses. Something that he- as he gazed upon our steaks- later on regretted.

Mara wanted something “small” and ordered the Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce and a side of Sauteed Mushrooms. I tried the mushrooms and found them to be a bit bland. The steak though, despite being very thick, was perfectly-cooked medium with a hot-pink center.

Sam and I both ordered 300 grams of the Prime Angus Rib-eye. Mine had a Mushroom Sauce and a side order of Creamed Spinach. I noticed that the spinach has greatly improved since my first visit- the consistency was thick and creamy, the flavor of the spinach very fresh and subtle. Now, how can I describe that steak without sounding gushy and pornographic? The outer layer was nicely charred on their grill (over either wood chips or hot stones), preserving the wonderfully juicy medium-rare center. The exquisite marbling on the meat made for amazing texture and that sexy meaty flavor only a good steak can provide.

Throughout dinner we had sips of this Argentinian red wine (a region that I am growing fond of, especially for pairings with grilled meats) Expresiones Reserve 2007- a Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Finca Fichman. It was a bit tight at the beginning, maybe because of it was a bit too cold in the wine ref. After a few minutes though, it smoothened out quite well. I liked it very much with the steak, and at a relatively good price of around P1,100 (restaurant price, much cheaper in Santis), its great value for money.

Too full from the large amounts of protein consumed, dessert was out of the question. We just continued chatting away as we finished off our bottle of wine. Matt- who intelligently chose not to join us for dinner, knowing that he would not know more than half the people we would be talking about- followed soon after with his friend, Ruffles. The good-looking duo, wanting to match our now happily-inebriated state, ordered a couple of beers for themselves.

Confident that I had enough food to sustain me through a night of drinking, we still moved our group (sans Marc, who has already gone off to his second dinner for the night) to a small, non-descript bar along Pasong Tamo Extension, where a mix of college students and yuppies release some mid-week stress with some “drunkeoke”- a weekly event where a live rock band plays back-up to whoever is brave enough to sing an assortment of pop and rock songs from the 70’s onwards.

It was a wonderful evening, starting with one of the best steak dinners I have had in a really long time, and ending with some laid-back but seriously-fun partying. So, was my stomach full enough absorb all that alcohol? At the beginning, yes, but not enough to save me from pictures like this…

I’m Angus
Yakal St.,
San Antonio, Makati City
Tel. no. (632) 8926206

Every Thursdays at
Club 121
Pasong Tamo Extension
Makati City


Miguel said...

I've been wanting to try that restaurant...might go there sooner than expected after seeing the Prime Angus rib eye....

Chinkee said...

Yeah, go Miguel. The rib-eye was a winner! And that was just 300 grams... I'm sure 500 grams of that baby would be even more succulent:-)

Miguel said...

Im setting up the lunch for the next 2 weeks....hmmm..

Noel said...

I'm there for dinner tomorrow night (or, tonight, actually) for another Siran dinner.

Will see how the steak is.


Chinkee said...

Mig- Cool! I'm pretty sure you'll like their rib-eye. Btw, Will text you about dinner at La Tienda this Friday with the same group in this post. Maybe you can hook us up:-)

Chinkee said...

Hi Noel! Wow sarap naman, Siran dinner pa.:-)

Noel said...

The wines were very good, Chinkee: after some bubbly, '04 St Jacques, then, of the grand vin, '05, '00, '89 and '82. The service was also very good, the place is nice (I like large, sprawling restaurants) and the food was ok. The two dishes that really grabbed me were the beef tartare and the quail with roasted ceps.

Will write about it when I can.



Chinkee said...

Cool! Looking forward to your notes on that dinner and the wines...:-)