Prime 68 | May 26.2014

By Aysha Majid

A sophisticated setting, Prime 68 is like a 1950s movie, ready to take you in its arms and sweep you off your feet. Quite literally high flying (it's set on the 68th floor of the world's largest hotel) with buffed marble, starched white table linen and a view worthy of an Oscar. Art Deco chic, the emphasis is on steak, with various cuts of USDA Prime, Blackmore Australian Wagyu and Argentinian Aberdeen Angus. Although we're in elegant surrounds, this smart spot is devoid of uppity pretense with a relaxed, Americanised inclination.

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We're tempted by a complimentary creamy amuse bouche of mushroom soup, while the wine pairings already begin to intrigue, with the sommelier's spot-on suggestions. My scallops sit perfectly plump with a smooth puree, drizzle of pomegranate and beetroot vinaigrette, contributing a splash of piquancy and colour.

Two large plates of foie gras arrive, compliments of the chef. I've stayed away from foie gras for several years (unless it's the ethical kind, which is very slowly finding its way onto the market) however…should I be faced with this ironically mellifluous, fattened duck or goose liver in a situation beyond my control, I should feel 'ok' in the twisted reassurance that it would be a tragic shame to waste. This is one of those cases... Washed down with a glass of Nederburg, the rich and creamy foie marrying perfectly with the syrupy marmalade hints of the wine (my guilt still lingering)…

The steak arrives with a tall stack of light and crisp onion rings, followed by latticed asparagus. A loyal fan of béarnaise I'm persuaded to try an additional garlic and ginger sauce with my fillet. Now I don't say this lightly, but this perfectly rare steak before me just may be one of the best I have had to date. Flawlessly marbled, the sweet flavour of the thin, tangy sauce surprisingly compliments the meat like wine goes with cheese and the ethereally light rings, perfectly al dente asparagus and a wash of red Frank Phélan Saint-Estéphe 2008 (very reasonable and well balanced) just tops it all off.

Pudding comes in the form of a very lemony brûlée, the grated rind offering a sharp kick shaking me out of my impending food coma. Mezrob, the restaurant manager oozes New York enthusiasm, enlightening us with the lowdown on his favourite dishes. Having been loyal to the venue since its launch he undoubtedly has a strong influence on the thoughtful honing of what transpires as a kind of bespoke experience; from the wine aired in specialised decanters to a Prime 68 cork keepsake and choosing your own majestically displayed steak knife. Work is done closely with the head chef in devising the menus and adding special quirks and details that go the extra mile. Staff are young, informed and encouraged. This restaurant is not easy on the wallet (my Blackmore Australian Wagyu, six ounce fillet was AED 440), however when you weigh up the personalised experience, good food and staff, elegant atmosphere and outstanding view, you may be able to justify the splurge.