Beefy tidbits from my dinner at St. Maxim (Veggie friends, would recommend skipping this post!)

Wanted to share a few pictures from my dinner last night at St. Maxim, at the Mall of the Emirates. Traditional steakhouse – super stodgy. Stodgy music. Stodgy decor. Stodgy tableware. Stodgy old-school bibs (literally, they make you wear bibs at the start of your meal!) Sto-dgy.

BUT, they part ways from their stodgy brethren by touting one key difference. You get to cook your own meat on the stone. How awesome is that for a steakhouse? You say: Big deal, you get to cook your meat in a Korean BBQ joint. Or even in a fondue place. Or even Chinese hot pot. And I say: True that. But don’t forget, this is a traditional white table-clothed steakhouse, where the servers would secretly snicker at you for ordering your meat well-done rather than rare. Because rare, as a French chef once told me, is the only way to enjoy a steak. And worse, as Anthony Bourdain reveals in his awesome book, The Kitchen Confidential, which I’m still reading (and had referenced in another post as well), many chefs will give you the nastiest, most ancient piece of meat they can legally get rid off without killing a customer if you make the faux-pas of asking them for a steak well-done.

Whatever. I’m paying for the meat, so I will have it whichever way I so please. Not to say that I enjoy crusty blackened slabs of overcooked meat – but just that I don’t feel the need to conform to what a bunch of elite chefs in their poshy restaurants want to stuff down my throat and cut my wallet out for having done me the favor. I’ll eat what I like, so be it.

Anyway, moving off my diatribe, as I mentioned earlier, St. Maxim gives their guests and opportunity to cook premium meat, and even seafood, on the table, on a heated volcanic stone (how cool is that?!), and to whatever stage of doneness that suits their mood that day. And here’s my proof, a prime cut of Australian Wagyu beef, one of the most expensive cuts on the menu, but totally worth the palette-pounding juice-exuding beefy explosion I experienced as I dug my jaws into meat that I had cooked, just the way I like it.

Pink juicy slab of prized Australian Wagyu beef, before it receives heat therapy...
...and now sweltering in all its salty, meaty juices as it lazily grills on the stone

My only beef with the steak was that I would have preferred a tinier piece of meat. The juiciest, most flavorful parts were on the perimeter of the steak, and somehow got less so as I ate into the center, maybe because the steak had started drying out with prolonged cooking by the time I got to the middle.

Also worth noting was the halloumi salad: smoky grilled hallomi, with pomegranate seeds and orange wedges to play up the sweet-salty flavors of the Cypriotic cheese. I’d definitely order that one again if we came back.

Thick strand of gloriously grilled halloumi. Love the texture of those crunchy browned grill marks on the outside against the melty white inner flesh.

And for dessert, their molten chocolate fondant that you have to pre-order since it takes a while for them to freshly bake it.

Warm and gooey chocolate center, with cool vanilla ice cream to mellow out the richness of all that decadent chocolate on the plate.

St. Maxim
Phone: (04) 341-3415
Mall of the Emirates

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

2 thoughts on “Beefy tidbits from my dinner at St. Maxim (Veggie friends, would recommend skipping this post!)

  1. Eliza says:

    Thanks for not letting me feel like completely ghetto for ordering my steak well done. I say "Well Done" to this post. LOVE the photography… you / your camera make the food look every bit as ’delish’ as it sounds!

    1. the iliveinafryingpan says:

      Thanks Eliza! There’s nothing like personalizing (even if that sometimes means ghetto-sizing) food so that you can enjoy it to the max, though I’m sure the thought of that gives chefs heartburn (at least I haven’t posted anything about eating steak with ketchup…yet!)

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