Few things in life are as indulgent as a steak dinner: seared, served, and seasoned with only the best. I’d love to be a full-time carnivore, but my dietician says that’s not an option. With everyone pressuring me to eat organic and go gluten-free, it’s only a matter of time before I start craving for meat — intensely.
I’ve had steak, of course, and the steaks I’ve eaten have ranged from 199-peso value meals to ones that have cost thousands of pesos. I’m not much of a connoisseur, but I think I’d know the difference. You know it once you take the first bite because the right steaks always have that extra oomph – a kind of flavor and texture that goes beyond the typical cut and cook and slather in A1 steak sauce. No, the right steaks are cooked with love.
If you’re ever around Tomas Morato (and I know you are, because really, who doesn’t go there to grab a bite every now and then?), remember that some of the best restaurants are hidden behind the Scout streets. The little byways and eskinitas that criss-cross Tomas Morato in perpendicular angles are a treasure trove of hole-in-the-wall restaurants, fancy eateries, and mom-and-pop kitchens. Today, let me share our latest discovery with you: Stoned Steaks, a fancy, little eatery tucked away from the chaos of Tomas Morato, in the (relatively more) serene strip of Scout Rallos.
The restaurant is all marble and glass and greenery, a far cry from your typical inuman steakhouse. You don’t come here for cheap meat and a bottle of San Mig Light; you come here for grade 6 wagyu and a bottle of red wine. Soft jazz floats through their speakers and I’m reminded of simpler times and lazy Sundays, kicking your chair back and enjoying what’s left in your stemware glass.
To me, the best thing about all this is that despite all the luxury, the restaurant is able to stay true to what they’re all about: meat, and lots of it. It really is that simple. You order your meat, and you get it sizzling fresh on a stone plate. Of course, while the steak is their pièce de résistance; it doesn’t hurt at all to try the other things on the menu while you’re there.
We started the meal with simple appetisers.
Truffle Parmesan Fries (P190)
I have to say their fries are probably the most sulit I’ve had: a whole mountain of crunchy potato crisps topped with a gargantuan portion of parmesan cheese.
Then, there was the mushroom soup. Probably the freshest mushroom soup I’ve ever had.
Fresh mushroom soup for those rainy days (P130)
You’re never going back to Campbell after this. How can you go back to canned after tasting the goodness of fresh portobello, shitake, and white button mushroom in all its creamy goodness? You know you’re in the right restaurant when they make things as simple as fries and soup just as memorable as the steak.
We moved on to the main course — oyster rockefeller, seafood arrabbiata, and the wagyu cheeseburger.
Oysters Rockefeller (P260)
I’m not normally one to eat seafood, but I scarfed down these oysters like it was nothing. Oysters on the rocks (literally), drizzled with drops squeezed fresh from a lemon? Almost magical.
Seafood Arrabbiata, one of the highlights of my meal (P450)
The arrabbiata had the right amount of spice to it, a little kick that doesn’t light your tongue on fire. But my favorite (next to the steak, of course) was the wagyu cheeseburger.
Taste the difference with Stoned Steaks’ Wagyu Cheeseburger (P430)
You can taste the difference right away, this isn’t your ordinary frozen patty on a grill: it is ground sirloin meat on a brioche bun and it is absolutely delightful. If you’re feeling a bit more luxurious try the wagyu foie gras burger!
Moving on… because I’m more than excited to talk about what we all came here to talk about: the steak. This is probably the best restaurant to take your fathers to this June; so remember this now, guys.
There is a variety of steaks that Stoned Steaks offers: tenderloin, ribeye, NY strip-loin, sirloin, Wagyu grade 4, and Wagyu grade 6. But let’s face it: a lot of other places have that, as well. What makes this restaurant different? Well, aside from their passion for cooking steak correctly, it’s also the way they do it.
The brainchild of Dick Balajadia and Mars Balajadia, Stoned Steaks offers an innovative way to make sure you never have to send your steak back to the kitchen. A playful twist to making your dining experience more memorable, Stoned Steaks offers you the chance to cook your own meat on lava stone plates. Aside from the control you get in watching your steak cook, this method is one of the oldest and healthiest ways of cooking, trapping the natural flavor into the meat. The flavor, and I will vouch for this, is just something you won’t get off a regular grill.
Hear that sizzle?
Let me tell you: there is nothing more satisfying than hearing your steak sizzle on that lava plate. The mouthwatering tssss as the meat hits the surface of the plate, it’s incredible, really. Served with a variety of sauces (no it’s not just A1 steak sauce here), you get to choose two out of the seven they offer: signature stoned sauce, bleu cheese, mustard, peppercorn sauce, mushroom sauce, red wine sauce, and chimichurri. (I recommend the peppercorn sauce and the red wine sauce!).
When I was there, we ate two kinds of steak one of which was dry-aged. I have to say I have never tried dry-aged steak (mostly because I’d never even heard of the process), but I’m glad I did. The taste is completely different from any other steak I’d tried. I asked the waiter why they dry-aged it in the first place and apparently it’s because once dry-aged, the meat becomes more tender and more flavorful than if it was completely fresh.
A whole new taste sensation with dry-aged steak.
Just when I thought I couldn’t eat any more, we were served with another one of the restaurant’s specialties: the stoner’s fresh catch which includes scallops, prawns, and a cut of salmon, all of which are cooked on the lava plate as well.
The best catch I’ve seen in a while!
I was surprised at how excitedly I ate these despite the fact that my skirt felt suspiciously tight. There’s always room for good food and the lobster-miso and lemon-butter sauce made all that seafood all the better.
For the finale, the team and I had some gelato. I didn’t see it on the menu, so you may have to ask your waiter about it but I know you won’t regret it.
Off-the-menu, but definitely a must-try!
I originally thought that the gelato was made in-house: it was that fresh and creamy. The vanilla seemed to have real vanilla beans in it and the dark chocolate is rich and deep.
I can’t say this enough, but this was likely one of the best meals I’ve had. The food was great, the place beautiful, and the waitstaff attentive. This was an absolute feast for the gods, and I have to say my inner carnivore was satisfied, too.
55 Scout Rallos, Timog Area, Quezon City