MASH: Modern American Steak House, Soho
The beady-eyed among you will note that I have already mentioned MASH in the 'My Favourites' part of the site, so it will come as no great surprise that this is a glowing review of this glam steak house just off the Soho side of Regent Street. It is easily up there in the top three with Goodman's and Hawksmoor, but no one I ever speak to about it seems to have heard of it and this is astounding. Sure, it has a fairly modest exterior, but venture down the stairs and you will happen across a huge cavernous dining room, and a beautiful one at that. Marginally less overtly masculine than Goodman's and Hawskmoor (excepting the lovely Air Street one), MASH is an understatedly glitzy playground for meat lovers where cosy, private banquettes surround a frankly dramatic bar. It's actually worth coming for a drink alone as the cocktails are pretty special. This photo does absolutely no justice at all but you can kind of get a feel for the place.
I've been to MASH four or five times since its opening two years ago, and do usually indulge in an aperitif, but on this occasion we'd just been to see Jersey Boys (a lot of fun) so we headed for our table to peruse the menu whilst enjoying some good bread and butter and the smoked salt that I always look forward to here. Oh and we ordered ourselves a nice bottle of Portuguese red (around £30).
For my starter, I'm ashamed to say that my sheer greed got the better of my conscience and I was able to put aside my feelings for the poor goose and ordered up the foie gras with aplomb. If you've read my post in which I ate all of the animals in Mallorca then this may not come as much of a shock. The foie gras arrived with a berry fruit and wine reduction, sauteed blackberries, hazelnuts and endive which all worked to set off the richness of the lovely little liver. Quite the steal at £9.50, no?
Rich ordered one of our tried and tested favourites, the veal sweetbreads. I've written at length about how much I enjoy these nuggets of creamy offal, so it will suffice to say that they were as good as ever and that one of us has ordered them at each of our visits. One teeny note would be that there could have been a touch more colour and crunch to the outside which would have emphasised the unique texture of the inner. But still, nitpicking.
It would be criminal to come to MASH and not indulge in a steak. The selection is extensive in both origin and cut, from Uruguayan to an Australian Wagyu, without being daunting thanks to the explanations on the menu and from the impressively knowledgeable staff. They really are so helpful and have patiently talked through options and nuances to me every time, helping us to arrive at a decision based on their own opinions and tastes without trying to upsell. There is also a huge display of meat hanging within the restaurant, which I failed to photograph, which can aid you further in your decision.
This time we both went for the Danish Dry Aged, which is supposed to be noted for its flavour. I ordered a 300g rib-eye (the best cut, in my humble opinion, no fillets here thank you) which comes in at £33 and Rich felt that he could take on the stonking 500g long bone. Both rare, obvs. It is testament to the chef's skill and his smoking hot grill that he was able to achieve such a deep char and satisfying crust, as on cutting into the steaks both were defiantly rare and bursting with a redder than red colour and minerally iron tang. Yum yum yum.
The 300g rib eye:
The beastly long bone, which was far superior in taste, but then meat on the bone always is. Damn my slightly more feminine appetite. Although if the size doesn't make your eyes water, then the price tag may do at £48.
The best bit about MASH is all the sides, so do try to order as many as you can justify. Once on his birthday, Rich genuinely ordered every one. It was obscene. Tonight we showed a little more restraint and ordered the best ones, which are the creamed spinach (divine, but just lacking the bite of the Hawksmoor's), the mac'n'cheese (contender for hall of fame, see latest post on Hoxton Grill) and the chips which were happily crunchy yet fluffy. The bearnaise was a mistake; no one needs that much dairy on a plate, and something sharper was required to cut through the richness of the rest of the meal.
The star of the show though is the bone marrow. A perfectly roasted bone filled with unctuous, herby, meaty marrow is just the thing to spread over your juicy steak. The parmesan (?) crouton was superfluous though.
Needless to say, we declined pudding.
Each time we've been to MASH the bill has been skyward of £200, and this meal would have been no exception*. Yes, its quite an outlay but if you have a special occasion coming up, or are just a massive carnivore then it is very worth it. Alternatively, they are now offering a pre or post theatre three courses for £25, which you simply cannot argue with.
Great time had by all and I think I'll need to do a good few Meat Free Mondays to make up for this...
* This meal was very generously gifted to me by the lovely people at MASH, but I have gratefully handed over my credit card there many many times and will doubtless do so again.