I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, or short and meaty as the case may be. Last week the much famed Danish restaurant MASH (Modern American Steak House) opened its shiny new doors in the heart of Soho, and being the carnivore that I am, I rushed down to check it out.
Located in the former home of Titanic on Brewer Street, MASH has a real old-world New York vibe to it, complete with big red leather booths, matte black tables and lots of smoky mirrors. The vast underground space looks like the set of Boardwalk Empire in many ways with its traditional steak house vibe yet with its modern buzz it also felt very Gotham City-like with its huge modern art deco bar area and enormous eatery. Despite it being one of the largest restaurant spaces in London with 350 covers, there was still something intimately cosy about MASH making it an ideal venue for dates, business meetings, celebratory groups or passersby who just fancy a drink in the bar.
So, onto the main event itself – dinner. Like all good stories, this one starts with cocktails. On arrival at MASH, once coats and handbags were checked in and we were escorted down the spiraled staircase and into the bar area, we immediately hopped onto the bar stools to sit back and admire the notable drinks menu. I decided to opt for a classic Bloody Mary and this was mixed to perfection with plenty of lemon juice squeezed into the thick tomato mixture which had just enough spice to give my taste buds a kick but without killing them off in preparation for the meal that was to come and what a meal it was…
As there were a group of us we were lucky enough to pick a few of the starters to share as deciding on just one dish would have been quite a tough challenge as everything sounded divinely simple yet so tempting. My favourite appetizer was the ‘Fried Squid with Chili and Lime’. These were by far the largest squid I have had this side of the Atlantic and the lime and chili provided the perfect mix of comfort, spice and citrus. These delicious bites were like a sort of Brighton fish n’ chips served up on a glorious beach in Mexico. Although still very enjoyable I was less keen on ‘The ‘Snails with Garlic’ which were not what I was expecting at all, as instead of the escargot coming in their shells laden in garlicy butter which would have been ideal to dip in the deliciously crusty homemade bread, they had instead been evicted from their homes and were delicately presented having been mixed with a garlic infused puy lentils – as I say, tasty but not really my thing.
Onto the steak. With a selection of different cuts of beef from around the world — including Denmark, Uruguay, America and Australian Wagyu – helpful staff were on hand to explain what made each cut and origin so unique. I decided to go for a 250g Danish rib eye which provided a distinctly carnivorous experience as the whopping piece of meat had been hung for 70 days to allow for the flavour to fully develop and the meat to tenderise. I was not disappointed. The thick cut meat was beautifully soft with a thin river of marbled fat running through it which created the perfect meaty butteryness. Cooked to medium-rare perfection (they don’t allow their steaks to be cooked any more than this and why would they?!) with a lovely char from the grill the melt in your mouth steak was just dreamy – beautifully intense and rich. Alongside this, we mixed a selection of side dishes including chili fries, creamed spinach and the house salad. The helpful sommelier (MASH’s founders were in fact sommeliers rather than restaurateurs so they know a thing or two about the grape) steered us away from red wine which I assumed one should eat with steak and instead suggested I went with the New Zealand sauvignon blanc Seresin which was very fruity and the citrusy-ness cut through the rib eyes fat seamlessly.
Having shoveled all that down our gullets, unfortunately we did not have room to squeeze in a pudding but the menu again included much loved favourites such as New York cheesecake, crème brulee and pancakes so instead as the lights went down and the music went up we decided to retire back to the bar area and opt instead for one of MASH’s signature ‘after dinner cocktails’. Carcass Blazer was my drink of choice made with aged rum (and lots of it), apple liquor, bitters and caramalised pineapple. This was immense; something totally inimitable and a wonderful alternative to many restaurants standard digestifs.
This was certainly a lean back, belly rubbing, groaningly good meal and although having only been open a week it was busy, buzzy and lip smacking good. Make your reservations here.