Friday, 21 August 2009

Goodman

If I ever decide to become a chicken farmer I would feed the birds on nowt but dried shrimp feed. This would then guarantee the most profound tasting roast bird one can possibly ask for. Like the USDA Prime beef that comes from grain-fed cattle, it may well be deemed unnatural to feed either animals on stuff that nature intended otherwise; but on behalf of all the meat loving fans out there, if the end result is good then so be it. I’ve now had the opportunity to eat USDA Prime twice, first at Maze Grill and then at The Palm. It was the latter that finally made me sit up and conclude that grain-fed beef knocks the spots off the grass-fed variety. USDA Prime steaks are consistently richer in flavour and juicier than what we are generally accustomed to. The only problem I hazard is once you’ve tasted it for the first time you'll morph into a steak snob. It’s exceedingly expensive.

An employee at Goodman told me that they were extremely grateful for all the excellent reviews and raves from the press and customers alike. But they can also be counter-productive as some first time diners might find their expectations exceed beyond the pale as far as their steak dinners are concerned. Well if this review is anything to go by, then it can only be in total praise of Goodman. Some readers will undoubtedly hold on dear to their favourite steak haunts like Hawksmoor or the Gaucho chain, but Goodman is the one for me; it had such an effect on me that I brought my teenager here for her very first piece of steak.

The ceremonial lowdown

As I was intending to go to Goodman for the first time, I needed a dining companion who was well informed on all manners relating to the consumption of a good piece of steak. If Helen at World Foodie Guide is the Queen of Dim Sum, then who better to hook up with at Goodman than the Prince of Steaks aka Chris from Cheese and Biscuits. His review of our evening can be read here. As soon as I walked in, David Strauss the restaurant manager greeted me. David is well versed in managing restaurants like this one, he was in charge of one of the famous Morton’s branches across the pond for nine years. This charming man noticed my rather large camera (an attention seeking accessory to some but I can assure you that it certainly wasn’t deliberate on my behalf) and inquired if I’d been sent here by Simon. Simon? Oh Simon Majumdar from Dos Hermanos; godlike and the King of Steaks. No, I told David, I don’t know and I’ve never met Mr Majumdar but the camera was intended for paparazzing steak porn. Like Hawksmoor, Goodman offers a variety of cuts from different breeds and thankfully David was happy to oblige with my request for a platter of assorted cows to feed the two of us.

Personally when going to a steakhouse for dinner, starters are a waste of time. There’s only so much meat that one can eat. The following made an appearance:

UK grass-fed- sirloin
Irish Black Angus, 120 days grain-fed- rib-eye
USDA beef, 120 days grain-fed- New York Strip (sirloin by any other name)

All of the above were cooked to medium rare. No prizes for guessing which came out best. The Brit grass-fed was good as steaks go, but it simply dwindled when compared to the Irish Black Angus (sourced from the butchers’ butcher Jack O’Shea). The latter surpassed my other experiences at Hawksmoor, Buen Ayre and Popeseye. If you haven’t had the USDA Prime yet, then this could well be the best tasting steak in the capital with an ethically acceptable carbon footprint. Although I’ve yet to savour pure Kobe beef (forget about the much hyped Wagyu which I find overpriced and lacking in flavour), the Yankee contribution is the best I’ve ever eaten. Rich and concentrated in flavour, tender and buttery, and the most defining moment when it comes to the term melting.

The best ham comes from Spain, as is the chicken from France, crabs from Sri Lanka, grouse from Scotland and now I strongly believe, and have been justified that the best steaks hail from the States (hear someone shouting Argentina, yes it’s excellent but it ain’t USDA Prime).

The accompaniments of the creamed spinach and hand cut chips were perfunctory in the company of the illustrious meat platter.

After the steakout we were treated to, much to my schoolboy glee, a tour of the kitchen.

Costly Josper charcoal grills that are made in Spain.

If you're wondering, the kitchen has air conditioning.

Attaining a true barbecue taste.

The dry ageing room.

senium caro
(Old age flesh or to be more precise, 120 day old Irish Black Angus)

I ended my meal with a caramelized Braeburn apple tart and cinnamon ice cream.
It was more than passable and I don’t think I need to remind you that we come here for the raison d’être and that doesn’t mean the pudding.

There are two chaps I would like to extend my gratitude to for a wonderful and enlightening evening. David, a first-class host and Chris, a terrific companion; thank you gents.


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Came back here for lunch with my daughter. The teenager has never been enamoured by any red meat and since I told her about Goodman she exclaimed she was ready for first ever steak. Like myself, she was impressed with the dining room and ambience, like most typical steakhouses there’s a gentleman’s club feel about it but with the chauvinism removed. Unlike The Palm one doesn’t have to dine under incandescent lighting during lunch, an ample amount of natural daylight helps with the mood. Just to confirm that London isn’t that huge after all, that bloke on the left with the red T-shirt is Kang from Londoneater (Yo! Kang!). The service this time was courtesy of one of the most enchanting waitresses I’ve encountered for a long time. If you’re lucky enough, Sarah is her name.

Here she is with the different cuts and breeds of beef. You can watch her excellent presentation I videoed here.

Saturday lunch

As tried and tested by her Dad and seconded by Sarah as her favourite cut, my daughter adjudged her New York strip to be a triumph. If a kid’s going to try something for the first time, then give them the best; it’s my prerogative, I’m her Dad. This time around I’m able to pay more attention to the sauces that were presented with the steak. All four of the béarnaise, pepper, mushroom and reduced red wine jus with Stilton were very good, but the latter stood out. The chips were laudable and the spinach we finished with relish.

The next choice of burger from the non-steak mains that also included lamb chops, chicken and salmon had to done for the most obvious reasons that only foodies can ascertain to. Now the Goodman burger comes adorned with lettuce, pickle, tomato, onion, Foodstories kinda bun (brioche) and of course chips. Extra toppings available are sautéed mushrooms, cheddar, bacon fried egg and more fried onions. Oh, all the toppings are included in the price (£12) and there are no restrictions imposed on one’s hoggishness. Has to be one of the best-loaded burgers in town that’s wallet friendly.

Before I could utter a word, daughter said the burger was better than Haché’s, I agreed. Carlsberg don’t do burgers, but if they did then they would be deeply unhinged because this amazing joy to behold can be found in Maddox Street instead. It’s sweet to see an establishment like Goodman taking their lesser dishes as seriously as their steaks. Not that I’m into nagging, but give the cow a bit of dignity, order the burger medium to appreciate it to its max.

Goodman comes highly recommended. It’s certainly one of the best finds of the year for me. The service, the food and the passion were good enough to convince me that it’s not that expensive but surpassingly good value for money. Goodman, cheers and I shall be back.

A separate praise of the Goodman Burger here.


26 Maddox Street
London W1S 1HQ


www.goodmanrestaurants.com

20 comments:

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Haha, Queen of Dim Sum! Glad you liked Goodman. I only went for a special FT lunch offer when it first opened, but didn't get to choose from the expensive cuts. I liked chatting with David and the chef and being shown the beef room downstairs though. Look forward to returning now that you've approved it!

tehbus said...

Astounded by how knowledgeable the waitress and your daughter are in all things steak. After so many reccommendations, going to have to take the plunge and head there soon.

Helen said...

Excellent! Glad to hear they had a brioche bun on there! It nips in under the £15 Hawksmoor burger too. I NEED to eat here. Although steak comes first, of course.

Kang said...

Goodman is definitely great steakhouse, although not cheap at all, me and my colleagues went and they were all very happy with their slabs of Prime USDA goodness! Also the chips there were surprisingly good as well.

Indeed London seemingly a small town for us to bump into each other so randomly :D

I have to agree with you on the best hams from Spain - definitely the moist oily iberico stuff is to die for, I have yet to try bresse chicken...is there anywhere in London to eat that?

Lizzie said...

I've never had USDA prime. Sob! I must go there soon.

bellaphon said...

HYL- Thank you. Now that you’ve mentioned the FT offer, I forgot to write about Goodman’s three course set lunch for £15.00!

Tehbus- Sarah the waitress used to work for the Gaucho mob, I think she’s one of the best persons to follow as far as good steaks are concerned. As for my daughter, The Ramones are more important to her than a piece of sirloin. Thanks for stopping by.

Helen- I’ve had the burger twice now at Hawksmoor and Haché beats it every time. As for the Goodman burger; well that’s just exalted. When you do visit this place with a crowd, order the full Monty burger and share it as an appetiser.

Kang- Goodman is real world compared to The Palm, the equivalent NY Strip at the latter is 50 quid! But then again The Palm is very good indeed, it gets berated for the clientele it attracts and of course the prohibitive prices!
As for London being a small place, I’m sure I’ll bump into HYL at some point at one of the dim sum houses, but then again she wouldn’t recognise me as I keep changing my outlook!
If I decide to have a Bresse chicken, then I’ll ask Tom Pemberton nicely at Hereford Road to roast us one. The only problem is, it’s going to cost more than a grouse (£50+ I reckon!).

Lizzie dear, I waited for more than forty years to have mine. You’ll have yours before you start going grey! Right Kobe beef next!

gastrogeek said...

Oh Lordy, what a meaty feast! I must add this to my list of places to visit. Have you tried the 28 day hung steak at Criterion? I'd really recommend it. It's a hefty £58 (it's meant to serve 2) and is worth every penny.

Bea said...

You should read Omnivore's Dilemma on the perils of feeding cows something other than Grass.

The majority of cattle are actually grain-fed, not grass-fed in the States, because the feed is cheaper, and it requires less land per cattle to raise (since they stay in industrial farms, not free-roam.)

I grew up on grain-fed beef, and think the taste is superb, but after hearing the impact on the animals' welfare, plus the damage to the environment by having grain-fed beef, I've cut down on it a bit.

That being said, one of my favourite dinners ever was at Morton's back in the day... :)

bellaphon said...

Rejina- Hi there and thanks for your recommendation. I've always had the impression that the Criterion only attracts accidental tourists, but since MPW (legendary status but dodgy endorsements!) is no longer involved, I think it’s worth a try.

Bea- Thank you for stopping and the book rec. I've read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and that still hasn’t deterred me from having a sneaky Big Mac every now and then. For all my sins, I’m knowingly irresponsible that way. A farmer once told me cattle that are fed on corn or grain are less ‘windy’ than the ones that feed on grass!

theundergroundrestaurant said...

:(

Monkey Gland said...

Posted on Goodman today too. I REALLY wanted to love Goodman, I really did. Hawksmoor still pips it in my opinion.

bellaphon said...

MML- You shouldn't be reading this post in the first place, tut tut.

Monkey Gland- Thank you for stopping by. I enjoyed reading your blog and am extremely pleased that you're a coffee geezer as well. Just to add my tuppence' worth, whenever I order off-piste I insist on the waiter confirming the price of the dish before I go ahead. The large platter of meat at £60 was one such example that was pre-negotiated. I intend to go back to Hawksmoor soon and will follow up accordingly.

Monkey Gland said...

Yeah, caught out that time on the specials. Yes, happy to admit I am a coffee geek too. Look forward to the Hawksmoor write up.

bea said...

See, now I'm craving a grain-fed steak. It's all your fault! :)

I think it's such a wide and diverse topic, studying our food system. It's so complicated, it's hard to know where to make heads or tails of it. I think most of all, if we eat to enjoy every bite, instead of just stuffing our mouths with whatever's in reach, it would go a long way to reducing our food wastage.

It's frightening to walk down a grocery aisle and see things like pre-processed fish fingers--the fish could have been used for something wonderful, or perhaps not been bothered to be catched and be food for sushi-grade tuna but we'd never know. :(

bellaphon said...

MG- Watch out for more of the domino effect of coffee bar reviews on this blog. I have written about Hawksmoor, it didn’t bode well with the fans.

Bea- I’m more worried about the honey bee decline, that’s really s**t hit the fan time! :(

Jacob said...

Hey Sarah that waitress is my mum :D
I love the sirloin its my favourite!

Jacob

bellaphon said...

Jacob- I'm delighted with your comments, thank you. You're a lucky fellow to have a Mum who is eminently cool.

Little Miss Random said...

Hey there - texted you as I went to Goodman on Friday. It turns out one of my friends chose that place on account of your review, which I thought was really cool. And, surprisingly enough for the not-keen-steak-eater-on-a-budget-and-a-diet (i.e. me), it was great! The ribeye with stilton sauce, and the baked New York cheesecake were to die for. Yum!

And glad to see you're back and blogging!

Patrick said...

Sarah was our waitress at Blokes Eat Beef. She was absolutely fantastic.

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