Zuma in Dubai
Replies: 1 - Last Post: Apr 7, 2012 8:24 AM Last Post By: Chinashark
Mar 26, 2012 3:22 PM
Japanese Hot pot. Almost violently divorced from anything I've ever considered 'Hotpot' on any continent, the arrival of this smooth and homey chunk of glazed pottery held the beginnings of a rice dish that was just about to be coaxed into vibrant sparky life by the server, at the table, as my colleagues and I stared, interested in the show ... yes. But mostly incapacitated by the convicting thought that we were about to have another brush with perfection. The kind of perfection that you can run into daily. Not, thank god, the ephemeral food stylings of some rocket-propelled Soo-Pah Chef like Alain Ducasse, or Charlie Trotter, or Chan Yan-Tak, or whoever you last revered by booking 6 months in advance... no. Not like that. This place is exquisite, yes. Overpriced, yes. But it's got the flavors and sensibility that reminds you of your best home-cooked meals. Something you want, and COULD, eat daily.
Salt-Grilled Seabass. Artfully, sensually, skewered in a fashion that would, in a different environment, come off precious and manipulated, as this approaches the table you know that somebody who LOVES TO COOK is serving you dinner. You WISH your mommy had these skills.... this fish (which I watched from beginning to end on the robata) was a... new experience. Leave it at that. Simplicty woven into a chewable dream. Bits of salt flashing off a charred tomato tang that just cut that rich seabass into a new thought. A new, albeit unforgettable, taste.
Now. My trip to Zuma was in the company of several Arab colleagues who do not drink. I do drink. Not this night not with this group, but I do. And I say that to underline the fact that I did not ONCE crave or miss the winelist. No doubt- it would have brought a new platform to the heights I was climbing - but I was immersed in the food. Couldn't get away from it, not even long enough to crave a hot deep mouthful of Chateau neuf de pape to go with my lamb. The food leads the way.
Miso Foie Gras. WTF!!??? STOP the thinking, just order. You didn't come here to save the whales, did you? Was sustainability on your list of checkboxes when you called for a table? Get the liver and then call me so we can commiserate on how powerfully we miss it's presence....
Speaking of Miso. The folx who built this place apparently travel also... they've nicked Matsuhisa's (my first Nobu experience, decades ago, at the beginning of the dream...) miso black cod. That's fine... no one's offended. They do it fine, excellent even, but it's just another firework and they didn't build it. So onward....
Wafu sauce. Something, again, simple. Simple like Egon Schiele brushing a single line of black oil into a treeish landscape you won't be able to forget, that wafu brought the eloquent smoke and carbonized corners of this asparagus right off the robata and into my brain. Can't forget it.
so... great place. The internal architecture, the mesmerizing presence of this enormous but pleasing and familiar space is also something to rave over, take pictures of. But that's it. That, and the comment that green chile marinated pineapple with coconut cream is a sick twisted misnomer, a brutal trick meant to have you believing that your lucid dream was a wrap, going to post-production for some internal digestion and explanation... it's freeking not. This thing, this little frozen creamy spiced up bomb, will confuse you. You will ask for a cot and a wake up call. A centimeter of pineapple granite- a layer of icy crunching juxtaposition sheltering, then joining, a coconut cloud that is waiting for you to climb down into the pineapple.
Walk away, I tell you. Come back later. Tomorrow, maybe.... tomorrow's 'later', isn't it? Service good. Perhaps... too... familiar? at times. But good. Big value here. Try it out.
Apr 7, 2012 8:24 AM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$89.85 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$81.68 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$84.06 per night