Slice it Yourself
You’ve walked by it a million times. The glossy-metallic exterior, the sprawling glass windows, and the onslaught of plastic couples “mingling” inside. In fact, you probably shrugged it off as yet another generic “hotspot” in Beirut’s dining scene. You were wrong.
Dining at BlackRock Steak Lounge is a highly interactive experience that’s unlike anything else in town. Your choice of meat (Australian, American, Argentinean etc…) arrives on a “volcanic rock” in a nifty little tray with two side dishes of your choice. Your server walks you through the process: simply cut off small pieces and cook it to your personal taste: rare, medium or well done. The rock is preheated to over 440 degrees Celsius, so a few seconds is all it takes for a piece to switch shades. The meat is plump and juicy, and the grilling process forces you to stay alert throughout the meal (wander off for a moment and you just might overcook a slice). Still, it’s an enjoyable exercise in patience (which the Lebanese can learn a thing or two from).
The Australian and the American beef are both quite succulent (the latter is a fattier choice). As for the sides, the spinach & cream, the mushroom provencal, and the french fries fare better than the wedges and the grilled vegetables. You also get a choice of sauces and while the honey mustard is fine, the pepper is much more satisfying. Before ending the meal, I taste my friend’s fish (she’s not too fond of meat). Served with lemon slices, it’s surprisingly excellent.
For dessert, I opt for the pain perdu (shocking). While I still think Couqley and Gilt are the best in town where this creation is concerned, I’m willing to give it a shot. However, it’s not the one I’m accustomed to; instead of one big fluffy piece, it’s been sliced into little cubes which is an admittedly interesting take on the dessert. In addition, you have to pour the sauce yourself so the whole thing could devolve into a gooey mess. Nevertheless, props for sticking with the interactive experience all the way through.
Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of BlackRock‘s look. It’s sleek and appropriately shiny but it’s not my thing. Still, it’s admirable that they’ve gone to great lengths to really “brand” themselves with one consistent look across the board.
Price: Around 60$/person without alcohol. So it can be pricey.
Service: Perfectly fine. The waiters are polite and efficient.
Presentation: The meat arrives with a tiny flag on top depending on its nationality; it’s the little things in life.
Ambiance: Too metallic and cold.
Must try: The meat of course. Go wild. Don’t bother ordering any starters (they’re all unimpressive). You could try the pain perdu if it sounds intriguing.
Go with: Friends. It doesn’t give off a family vibe, and it’s not intimate enough for a date.
While the rest of the place doesn’t live up to the meat, BlackRock Steal Lounge is a unique kind of dining experience that’s definitely worth trying.
Mar Mikhael main street.