Manhattan Steakhouse's Alaskan King Crab Promotion - A Fantastic Array of Flavors
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Whenever I'm asked for a recommendation for a fine dining destination, I always include Manhattan Steakhouse, located in the Marriott Guam Resort & Spa, among my top picks. For ambiance, service standards, food quality, and value, Manhattan gets high marks. Another aspect that's not often found in typical steakhouses, high-end or otherwise, is culinary creativity and diversity. Although Manhattan has continuously maintained a solid line-up of traditional Certified Angus Beef cuts of filet mignon, prime rib, New York, and Porterhouse, along with pork chops and lamb chops, all grilled to your preference, they have also introduced creative enhancements to accompany their meats, signature entrees, and seafood selections. [Photo: A prime example of Manhattan's quality beef from a previous dinner.]
These enhancements have come in the form of ingredient promotions which feature such as specialties, often seasonally, as mushrooms, asparagus, and coconut. The Marriott's culinary team, headed by Executive Chef Michael Devlin, takes great pride in creating appetizers, soups, and entrees that incorporate these ingredients, much in the same inspired spirit that drives the "Iron Chef" competitors. The beneficiaries of this cutting-edge, gastronomic excellence are the residents of Guam and those lucky visitors who happen to dine at Manhattan during their stay on Guam.
The latest, and for many the greatest, promotional menu has as its theme ingredient the noblest of all crabs, the Alaskan King Crab! Just launched December 1, this King Crab promotion will run for two months. For this review, Zee and I were joined by my colleague and frequent dining partner, Orleyne, and we sampled most of the new menu selections.
For those who've not been to Manhattan, there's a genuine elation and expectancy once you've been seated. After all, you've ascended to the higher echelons of the Big Apple and are sitting with a view of that inimitable skyline, replete with concrete towers scraping the skies and parting the clouds. The crisp white tablecloths and solid, leather chairs add to the solid, upscale atmosphere, with soft music playing in the background, you are duly impressed and ready for that first libation.
We opened an exquisite bottle of a 2001 Symmetry, from Rodney Strong, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Along with this, we had some San Pellegrino sparkling water, just like in New York. After perusing the new menu, we made our choices and were brought a warm loaf of Manhattan's signature Rosemary bread by our charming and engaging server, Juanchito aka JC.
The appetizers appeared to low murmurs of approval and audible "wows". The Puree of sweet Green Pea Soup with Succulent Alaska King Crab Meat ($6.50) tasted as magical as it looked, its bright green color reflecting its fresh sweet pea taste, with a smooth creamy consistency. This dish was a perfect example of a puree in both execution and quality. A second soup, Bisque of Alaskan King Crab with a rich Sabayon and fired Brandy ($8.50) took a different direction in flavor and concept. I was actually confusing crab with lobster since the soup base is so similar. The fired brandy created a bronzed surface appearance, like a creme brulee. Our first spoonfuls seemed a bit salty on the palate, however, once we squeezed the lime and lemon slices provided into the mix it balanced out perfectly.
The Alaskan King Crab Legs on a panache of Baby Greens with a Lime Aioli Dressing ($11.50) had the most stunning presentation, and the longest, since the opaque rectangular glass platter must have measured 16" long! The fresh greens tossed with cherry tomatoes, slices of red and yellow bell pepper in a light vinaigrette were a nice counterpoint to the splendidly succulent chunks of King Crab meat that were layered by thick rows of that vibrantly delicious Lime aioli dressing!
The first entree to arrive was impressively titled the Flat Grilled Alaskan King Crab Legs & Our Finest Black Angus Beef Tenderloin with Marriott Scampi Butter and Bearnaise Sauce ($36). The King Crab legs were grilled with garlic and sauteed diced onions and peppers and piled atop the tenderloin, completely obscuring the beef, which was sizable on its own, but outflanked by the massive crab legs. The tenderloin had a dollop of scampi butter and bearnaise sauce...good stuff. The beef was so flavorful, it made me happy to have a "steak break" away from all of the crab - though I'm not complaining!. One of Manhattan's signature elements is the condiments platter which is put in the center of the table to be shared by diners. This has sauteed mushrooms, sweet baked cherry tomatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, and straw onions.
The Alaskan King Crab Legs by the Pound Served "Hot" with Drawn Butter and Hollandaise Sauce ($29.50) was our choice in lieu of a pound of crab, served "Cold" along with Cocktail Sauce or Vinaigrette. This "hot" preparation was appealingly presented on a triangular red glass plate, with the crab legs piled over a bed of rock salt. The butter and hollandaise dipping sauces were equally delicious with the crab. Orleyne quite preferred this simple classic considering it the best way to enjoy the sweet crabmeat.
The final entree was the Alaskan King Crab 'a la Newburg ($32). This elegant dish came with a dome cover that when lifted revealed a burgeoning pile of crab legs immersed in a blend of diced tomato, shallots and garlic, all in a creamed Brandy sauce. This was the most flavored of all the dishes we had with the crab meat's sweetness and tenderness remaining constant while the added vegetable and savory sauce elevated the overall experience. Well done. The only other crab entree we didn't try was the Gratinated King Crab Legs Thermidor Style ($32).
Of course no meal would be complete without a little dessert, right? How about Manhattan's signature Baked Alaska ($9.50), which was flamed with Grand Marnier and sprinkled with cinnamon. Talk about terrific. We also went for decadent, with the Chocolate, Chocolate Cake ($6.50) which is a dreamy, layered semi-sweet chocolate cake filled with rich velvet chocolate ganache served with mocha ice cream. For choco-holics, this'll satisfy your every need, even visually it's rich enough to bring tears to your eyes. This sentiment sort of sums up our extraordinary journey through the Alaskan King Crab menu promotion, which is definitely one that'll bring a joyful glint to my eyes whenever I think about or hear of Manhattan's King Crab promotion! Dinner is served nightly from 6-10pm. You can make reservations by calling 648-1611.