restaurant review

Good steak, service in the neighborhood: Renewal of The Steakhouse at ANA InterContinental Tokyo

2 Comments
By Maki Yasuda

The Steakhouse at the ANA InterContinental hotel underwent a renewal at the end of last year and is now reopened as a friendly American-style restaurant (a welcome change from its previous incarnation as an "international" grill). They are promoting the renewed restaurant with the tagline “the neighborhood steakhouse,” meaning for it to be a casual, versatile eatery that hotel guests and non-guests alike can use for all sorts of different occasions.

The restaurant’s interior has been completely refurbished, so now there’s a semi-open kitchen by the entrance, decorated with chalk-on-blackboard signs with phrases like “specials of the month” and a diagram of a cow mapped out with names of different cuts of steak. Displays of wine bottles and recipe books also make a respectable effort to create an authentic foodie ambience. There’s counter seating by this kitchen area that looks bright and attractive, while the rest of the restaurant with crisp white tablecloth-covered tables goes for a clean modern look in natural colors of beige, white and wood; and in the central dome-shaped skylight area is an impressive deer antler chandelier in the trendy rustic-chic style.

The "neighborhood" theme seems to be working so far so well, seeing from the range of diners who were there when I visited for dinner one recent weekday night. At one table, a solo foreigner, most likely a hotel guest, quietly enjoyed his steak with a newspaper by his side; at another, a mixed group of American business people shared laughs over burgers and beers; and at the next table over, some young Japanese guys, likely from a nearby office, enjoyed their food with many glasses of wine. Casual enough for dining alone in comfort, but proper enough for business entertaining, the steakhouse does score high points on versatility.

While the hotel’s website says that The Steakhouse offers “great value dining,” I take it to mean that there is pretty good value to be found depending on how you order, and the impeccable hotel-quality service does count for a lot. Just to give you an idea, the crabcake appetizer is 2,500 yen, clam chowder is 1,600 yen, and a minimal 3-course dinner set - soup or salad, steak and dessert - is 6,000 yen (other set courses are 8,000 yen and 15,000 yen). One could, however, also make an easy dinner out of the Steakhouse Burger, 2500 yen, which I bet is popular as a quick bite to grab with a beer among office workers in the area. Worth mentioning is the bread for the table and selection of delicious spreads that comes with it, which changes on a daily basis; on my visit, it was tomato focaccia with herb butter, beef rillette, and pumpkin cream cheese.

Drinks are in no way cheap, with wines by the glass 1,900 ~ 3,200 yen. Considering this, the “wine and beer free-flow plan” at 4,000 yen is great value indeed, which is probably what the group of Japanese guys were up to at the table next door. The wines on the menu are almost all Californian, which they proudly describe as “boutique wines”; but that is not to say "rare," as most of them are famous labels that you’d most likely be familiar with if you like Californian wines (Au Bon Climat, Cakebread Cellars, Duckhorn, etc).

The meats on offer are select cuts of American beef and Iwami beef from Japan, which are grilled to perfection on charcoal in the open kitchen. With your main, you get to enjoy 10 varieties of flavored salts; wine flavored salts like Cabernet and Pinot Noir, and also truffles, lemon, and smoked salts. Another unique service is the “Knife Library,” a beautiful wooden box holding various kinds of knives that is presented to you before the arrival of your main dish. Choose from a selection of French, Italian, Japanese, and German knives, to suit your mood and meat. As for myself, I went for the Japanese knife by Tojirou, a maker renowned around the world for its sharpness, to have my Iwami Wagyu Tenderloin (tip: I highly recommend you get this steak if you’re having the set menu that let’s you choose it).

One curiosity on the dessert menu is the “doughnut” (I mean, really a doughnut after a steak dinner?), which I went ahead and ordered. Well, I can tell you that it really is a full-sized doughnut - actually more of a cronut - topped with a substantial scoop of cinnamon ice cream, artfully covered with streaks of chocolate sauce; very naughty and delicious. For a lighter ending, you can get fresh berries with whipped cream, or choose from several kinds of mousse.

Every Friday night is jazz night at The Steakhouse, when a trio of sax, guitar and bass hold sessions with the first one starting at 6:30 p.m.; and you even get a complimentary Manhattan cocktail with the musical entertainment. If you’re looking for great value, it seems Friday night is the time to go.

The Steakhouse ANA InterContinental Tokyo hotel 3F 1-12-33 Akasaka, Minato-ku 107-0052

Reservations: 03-3505-1185

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.(L.O.) / Dinner: 5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.(L.O.)

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2 Comments
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Very nice, well-written review.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In other words, it's a great place to go so long as someone else is paying.

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