Ruby Jack’s bets big on PH
Ruby Jack’s is the steakhouse for the high rollers. No doubt about it.
You can almost picture Roberto de Niro here, in a white tux, accompanied by Leonardo di Caprio. In this movie in my mind, they are downing a three-inch thick steak with the help of a bottle of 2008 Petrus Pomerol, priced here at oh, only P325,000 ($7,000).
After all, what better drink to accompany the John Dee Super Gold Tomahawk steak that goes for P5,000/kg?
Who in the world is John Dee, I asked owner Frederick Siy.
“Is this Chinese steak?” I teased him. “Or maybe from Isabela?” I asked, referencing Governor Faustino Dy. “No that’s another Dy,” Jason Go, Siy’s partner retorted, “This is from Binondo!” he joked.
Kidding aside, John Dee is an Australian brand founded by Frank Hart. It is the oldest, single family-owned meat corporation in Australia, boasting of four generations of experience in producing and selling outstanding beef products. (See johndee.com.au.)
The company has Premium-grade beef from its own grass-fed cattle. It has the Silver-rated beef, also from its own cattle, but this time grain-fed for 100 days; and Gold-rated beef from its cattle, which are grain-fed for 150 days. It also has Angus beef, grain-fed for 150 days. But if you want to splurge, it offers the Platinum Black beef, meaning Wagyu F1 beef with marbling scores ranging from 2 to 9+.
At Ruby Jack’s, you can have a sirloin or fillet of the John Dee Platinum Black Wagyu with an 8-9 marble. (Only the best for the high rollers!) Or a prime rib or Tomahawk of the John Dee Super Gold 160-day grain-fed Black Angus.
The Tomahawk is especially drool-worthy and worth the order if you are a big group. The cuts are huge and can be 2 inches thick. This arrives on a large platter and served medium rare, as recommended by the chef (you can choose your preferred doneness, of course).
Generally, Filipinos don’t like to eat their steak medium rare. But, as a testament to its quality, this beef is excellent even when served this way.
Ruby Jack’s also prides itself in serving other brands of beef: USDA prime and A5 Ohmi Wagyu. It has a meat cellar adjacent to the open kitchen and facing the corridor so you can see the imported meats on display. This is where Ruby Jack’s hangs its imported meat for aging.
But the restaurant is not for carnivores with deep pockets alone. It is also for seafood lovers with even deeper pockets!
The owners of Ruby Jack’s invested in a P1.5-million fish tank to make sure that the seafood that it serves are fresh. These include lobsters, scallops, and oysters.
Interestingly, while it does offer a char-grilled seafood platter, which one would logically order for the best appreciation of the fresh seafood, it also cooks these for flavors reminiscent of comfort food.
One dish that stood out is the Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese. This dish had me torn. As a purist, my mind was aghast at the concept of hiding the lobster under cheese and mixing it with macaroni. But as a comfort food lover, I was ecstatic with the concept of upgrading the home favorite. It’s the food world’s response to designer pajamas!
Australian Chef Matthew Crabbe, in fact, seems adept at mixing comfort with luxury. Oysters are served baked with spinach and cheese or jalapeño tartare. Boutique tomatoes from Japan’s Fukuoka region lay on top of a slab of strong Gorgonzola cheese. Caesar salad is drowned in shreds, not sprinkles, of cheese.
“The idea is to create a steakhouse in a contemporary way,” explains Chef Matthew. The creators of Ruby Jack’s, who fly here to Manila every month to ensure that their desired quality for the restaurant is being delivered, seek to recreate their Tokyo branch here in Manila. This is the first Ruby Jack’s outside Tokyo.
But they opened in the Philippines because they were impressed by the overseas Filipino workers who worked in their Tokyo kitchen, Chef Matthew shares.
Equally impressive was pastry chef Christine, whom they flew to Tokyo so that she would get a feel of Ruby Jack’s kitchen philosophy. The desserts here are truly top rank. Make sure to order the cheesecake, which is different from the American style; and the strawberry pomegranate agar, for the sophisticated palate.
“The work ethic you have in the Philippines is fantastic. It is an essential ingredient in (the restaurant industry). It’s what made us invest in the Philippines,” Chef Matthew explains.
It is no small investment.
Aside from the P1.5-million fish tank, the investors purchased Cattelan Itala Margot chairs from Italy, shipped a large Masashi Ozawa painting of a bull for the private dining room, and built a wine cellar and six chillers to contain over 1,000 bottles of wine.
I bet even de Niro will be impressed.
Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse
Upper Ground, City of Dreams
Reservations recommended. Tel. +632-8018888. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., with champagne brunch promos on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Private dining room seats 14 pax. Major credit cards accepted. Accessible by elevator via Hyatt or Nobu Hotels (quite a distance though).
More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.
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