Restaurant Review: Toscana’s "Devil Wears Prada" Smith & Wollenski Steak Promo!

If you have around NT$2,000 to spend in the next few days, I’d recommend that you’d dash at the Sherwood Hotel and take advantage of their Toscana Steak promo, which is only till this Saturday.

Up till April 14 (Saturday), the Sherwood Hotel’s Toscana Italian Restaurant, has invited the famous Smith & Wollenski chef executive Hans Aeschebacher to come all the way from the U.S. and share with us the incredible flavor of delicious steaks using the dry-aged process.

If you’re scratching your head on why we’re making this such a big deal, Smith & Wollenski was featured from the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada,” wherein which the antagonist Miranda White demands her steaks immaculately done otherwise, her poor assistants would have to get it for her again. Heck, anything good for a magazine editor (albeit a fictional character at that) should be good enough for me. 🙂

Anyway, according to the blurb at Sherwood’s own website, the dry aged beef are those hung to dry for 21 days, stored at a freezing temperature of -1~0℃, humidity of 20~30%. Only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. Furthermore, after the process, around 20% of the outside crust will be taken away. For these reasons dry aged beef can only been found in upscale restaurants and butcher shops.

So what happens next? First, the moisture is evaporated from the muscle, creating a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste. And second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to a more tender beef.

Hallelujah!

So imagine my delight when I’ve miraculously managed to secure reservations for tonight’s dinner (with some manhandling as well). My date and I went and we had a BLAST!

First up, the complimentary bread.

Just fresh off the oven, their bread is totally warm and delish! The dough is soft and the taste with the right amounts of garlic and spice. And the best thing is, look, every table gets a whole basket:

I wouldn’t mind finishing it off if I wasn’t waiting for the steak to come. It was totally yummy and worth the 5 stars I’m going to give it!

Then, there was the Chopped Cobb Salad (NT$480) which was said to be the fave dish of Jennifer Anniston and Sarah Jessica Parker:

The veggies were evenly choped and crunchy, with a corny feel (as the name suggests). The taste goes down well in your mouth, although as you can see in the picture, the salad was just dripping with sauce. Definitely not for the fat conscious but good enough for a meal.

My ratings? I felt that the Chicken Florentine salads at Macaroni Grill was more in volume, better, cheaper and healthier, so though it was pretty good, I’d only give it an average 2.5 stars especially since they cost an arm and a leg.

Next up, the highlight of my meal — their dry-aged 14-oz New York Strip (NT$1,380), which was huge and served with just a dallop of Western wasabi sauce, mustard pepper sauce and hollandaise:

That’s it guys, this is it!!! Woooooohoooooooo!!! Even at an exorbitant price, Raven’s just gotta sink her teeth into these babies and trust me, this meat was HUGE!

Check this out, despite the huge size, look at how the meat is red and tender on the inside, while the fat remains crispy on the outside, giving you a mix of crispy skin and soft meat:

Rather then pan-fry the steak and later putting it into an oven, the chef simply grilled the beef without turning over as much, thus ensring the juiciness and tenderness of the steak is seared in. The newly installed grill reaches temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit so all the flavor is retained given the high-temperature searing.

Yummy yum yum!

I savored ever single small bite and it was worth the wait. It’s not everyday that you get to taste steak from a world-class restaurant, you know.

If you’d like to imagine what it tastes like, it tastes very similar to Sonoma Grill Teppanyaki’s New York Strips, expect slightly better — The outer portion is crispier with a layer of fat in between, and the meat is more tender. In addition, it’s a lot bigger as well and more compact.

Regardless, Ruth’s Chris fillet mignon still carries the crown for the best steak in Taipei, but I think it’s just due to a difference of style. I can say though this ranks high to one of the better steaks I’ve ever tasted in Taiwan, and with NT$1,300+ for such a huge slab of meat, that’s a steal!

For that, their steak goes at 4.5 stars!

My side dish, Truffle Macaroni and Cheese (NT$350 I think) came a bit later. The servings is small (as in like a cup of rice) and the cheese is only around the top with truffles mixed in with the slightly hard macaroni shells, giving it a special taste.

The wait was too long and I was already half-way done with my steak (the lady said it was because the dish needed to be baked), but for the price, I felt that it was sub-par.

My advice? Skip the macaroni dish and order something instead. Truffle-wise, this dish fails spectacularly, but for a substitute for rice, should be good enough.

So Truffle Mac & Cheese gets 1.5 stars for me.

And lastly, there was the Warm Apple Betty which is hot apple and cherry slices underneath a layer of crepe and vanilla ice cream and surrounded with sauce (NT$350?):

My gawd — this dish was GOOD! 5.5 stars indeed!

The vanilla ice cream was the perfect complement to the dish and the thin crepe slices was just the right combo to the sweet and sour berry and cinnamon apple slices underneath. I think I would have died and gone to heaven.

Heck, despite being more weight conscious than my date, I finished off the whole plate. It was THAT good to make me say f*ck it to my diet!

So overall, there’s the following points:

Bread: 5 stars
Chopped Cobb Salad: 2.5 stars
Dry-Aged NY Strip: 4.5 stars
Warm Apple Betty: 5.5 stars
Overall ambience: 3.5 stars

Giving it an average score of 4.2 stars!

So overall, it was great if you don’t mind plopping down an average of around NT$2,000++ a head (without wine). But it was still worth it in the experience and we even got a few pics with the famed chef himself who was wandering around and asking us how our food was.

Anyway, for reservations, feel free to contact the Toscana Restaurant at Tel: (02) 2718-1188 Ext. 3001, but let me warn you, unless you have special connections, the seats are all full till Saturday night. But if you can get seats and want to bring your dame to a nice restaurant, Toscana is the place to go especially with those delish Smith & Wollensky steaks!

For details, here you go:

Toscana Italian Restaurant
1F, Sherwood Hotel
No. 111, Minsheng East Road Sec. 3, Taipei
Tel: (02) 2718 1188 ext. 3001

Enjoy and good night!

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About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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