On a hot Saturday afternoon we had very little to do when we decided to overcome the lassitude and make a long pending visit to the Wise Owl Steakhouse with my Zomato voucher. To start with, few months back I was overtly excited to learn that Kolkata has got its first steakhouse in a locality that is so close to my heart and that’s flanked by several notable eateries on the either side of the street. And then when I received this Zomato voucher I was somewhat on cloud nine!
Steakhouses being not so common in this part of the country, people tend to misjudge and misread these places, their charm and their offerings. These rustic heavens for meat lovers are rare in the culinary landscapes of Kolkata that used to revolve around Indianized Chinese, North Indian, basic South Indian, Mughlai, and west Bengali cuisines until the recent gastronomic revolution that is sweeping the city for good. Steakhouses or chophouses are eateries that specialize in serving individual portions of meats, primarily beef steaks that are served along with sides like mashed potato, sautéed veggies, baked potatoes, etc. Most steakhouses also offer other cuts of meat as well such as roast prime rib, veal, etc.
If we go by history, then these steakhouses date back to London in 1690s, serving individual portions of meat called chops. These places were in general open only for men. Then the steakhouses started in the US in late 19th century near New York in addition to the existing bars, motels and Inns. And now Americans flock to these places, whether they are expensive chains or a local joint whose décor hasn’t changed since the Progressive movements of late 19th century 🙂 Whatever the case maybe, steaks are a happening thing and an institution in the US. Chophouses also started serving diversified food items apart from beef steaks, like pork chops, lamb kidneys, strips of beacon, baked potatoes, apple pies, etc.
Anyway, coming back to Kolkata, our very own laid back city of joy got its first chophouse that was so unlike the restaurants spread across the city. Wise Owl Steakhouse is the palace of meat we are talking about. The place is located on Purna Das Road just above the Wise Owl café which has earned goodwill in last few years.
When you are approaching from Gariahat you need to take left near the Triangular park where you will find the Raymond’s showroom to get into this Purna Das Road. You can park your car easily in front of the Wise Owl café on the street, but not for free :). You need to walk past the café and take the lift to reach the top floor, and then you need to take the stairs to get to the roof to check-in to this western country looking steakhouse.
The ambiance is surely out of the box when compared to other Kolkata eating joints, but very apt and common when we think about chophouses. It is open air, covered on top with asbestos, with wooden flooring and trademark rustic coarse-looking wooden chairs and tables with planks clearly visible giving that vintage artsy look. The overall ambiance is very close to a country ranch eating joint with the woody warmth filled in all the nooks and corners. But this ambiance reminds me of beer gardens and it’s a pity that you won’t get beer with your steak here (it was not available at least when we were here), that’s mainly because of a school which is there beside this property. The music which is being played is also perfect, mainly they were playing John Meyer when I was here for the lunch. All in all, the ambiance created with these custom-crafted furniture, wooden flooring, open kiss of the humid city air (!) and mostly western country songs give the right kick to dig in to your favorite piece of meat with some not-so-hard aerated drinks to go with.
Now, coming to the crux of the matter – lets discuss about the food and beverage. To start with I quite liked the clipboard menu, kinda felt tensed recollecting my school Exam days during this March-April period 🙂 But when we opened the menu it was filled in with names and descriptions of lip smacking items. Out of those I ordered for:
a) Pork Chops
b) Chicken Breast steak
c) Sweet fresh lime soda
Well, let me be frank, the portion of the regular pork chops was huge! I really struggled to finish it off. These were real slow cooked pork chops, grilled to finish with mushroom and crème sauce spread all over it. I was pretty hungry when the food came in and with the first bite it felt that I was there at the right place at the right time.
Though I was keen to hug the chef but I unconsciously went on to finish my meal 🙂 The pork chops were served with butter-herb tossed veggies and mashed potato. Though I felt the mashed potato could have been creamier but anyway the entire dish was just close to perfection. The pork fat was served in generous quantity along with the meat, and the meat was not at all stiff and felt amazing to consume! If not melt-in-your-mouth type, but it was surely one dish I can recommend to others.
From my past experience, I found that these are best done if use baby back or the usual pork ribs that will be tender and moist. Here also the dish was flavorful and the meat was moist to satiate my soul and my taste buds. Infact I ended up consuming a bit too much fat than I usually do since it had a smoky and that ‘cooked on the grill’ aroma. Not sure, but I guess the marination with the spice rub can be done taking a bit more time. Sautéed veggies served included tossed brocolli, beans, carrots, and babycorn which went well with the pork chops. Overall, I can safely go ahead to recommend this dish to pork lovers! The Chicken breast steak glazed with herb extracts, had the mushroom sauce served separately; the stake was done perfectly with the signature smoky aroma to the chicken that made things interesting. It tasted real good with the sautéed veggies and mashed potato. Overall the steak was firm yet juicy in the centre with tender fibers. Though I felt the quantity could have been increased a bit. Overall a nice option if you are not in to try pork or beef. This visit of mine was kinda left mid-way since I couldn’t try the beef stake after all that hogging. Well now I needed some drink to wash down the stuffs and sweet lime soda with that correct amount of fizz did the trick (only one suggestion – please get the tough black straws). Oh I was so filled! Yes, that was a lovely meal to say the least!
But I would like to mention one thing – we were the only ones dining at that place on a weekend, that felt a bit weird! Not sure if proper publicity is being done, because people need to come and check out this place and the things it has got to offer. The service staffs were well informed, prompt and courteous, no issues with that.
Here are my overall ratings –
Food quantity: 3.7/5
Food quality: 3.8/5
Food presentation: 4.2/5
Value for money: 3.8/5
Steakhouses are new in the city and we should be open to this, for sure. But you need to be well-informed even when you are eating a steak, or rather a beef stake.
For example I like my beef steak to be done Medium Rare, that implies it will be overall firm but it will be warm, red and succulent in the centre that’s coming from the myoglobin protein which are there in the muscles. So you have to pretty much sure about your personal preferences and then you will find the steaks to be just perfect.
Steakhouses are here to stay and this place is just the trendsetter. I wish them all the best and hopefully they will do well in near future.
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