Dining the Danes into submission: worth a detour any day
There was once a time when restaurants specialising in steak were considered a man’s domain. When tucking into half a kilogram of prime beef was not exactly lady-like gesture, and staring at restaurant walls laced with trophies of wild game was rather off-putting.
However upon entering Retour Steak on Ny Østergade, my traditional opinions on steak restaurants were quickly challenged.
Retour boasts the atmosphere of a neighbour’s dinner party, the wine of a top class French cellar, and the food of a five-star steak restaurant. Instead of walls filled with trophies, there were wall-length mirrors and chalk covered blackboards. It was warm, inviting and surprisingly packed for a Tuesday night.
In my humble opinion, Retour should be just as well known for its wine as its food. Classing itself as a French restaurant, it has an impressive list of over 35 wines from top class European vineyards – needless to say it was rather a daunting task to choose one. Forgoing the option of asking for a recommendation, we branched out and ordered a glass of the NV JL Vergnon Conversation champagne and the 2011 Buntsandstein Rebholz Riesling.
The champagne was energetic with nice citrus tones and some subtle vanilla flavours, and while it wasn’t as energetic as most champagnes, it was great value. The Riesling on the other hand had a strong aroma, freshness and power to it.
Retour once again showed its sophistication by featuring a range of top quality seafood on the starters menu. This is one restaurant that realises the value of its prime steak dish lies in the ability to enjoy it with a hearty appetitive so the seafood is rather light and features good juxtaposing flavours.
I ordered the boiled lobster … and I wasn’t disappointed. Served literally ‘claws and all’, it had a significant amount of meat, was very juicy and packed with fresh flavour without the fishiness.
My dining partner [Ed: a future edition of Dating the Danes!??] on the other hand opted for the lemon sole. This was one impressive dish due to the accompanying ingredients – served with picked lemon, slices of cauliflower and rugbrød and set on a base of herb mayo.
The customer service here should also be noted. The waiting staff were attentive and down-to-earth and let the food sell itself. Any pretentious up-selling of wine or food was off the cards and all our meals arrived within ten minutes of ordering them.
When deciding between the 350g steak or the 500g, we opted for the smaller size and I’m glad we did. It came served with home-made fries and the creamiest béarnaise sauce I’ve ever tasted – they don’t call the chef here the ‘King of Béarnaise’ for nothing! It was a simple, hearty and filling dish to say the least and at only 225kr, it was a steal.
Now, as one who was bought up with a steak-loving connoisseur of a father, I know what a good medium rare steak tastes like. Retour cooked our steaks to perfection without killing the flavours – a rare find at steakhouses these days.
Being the dessert lover I am, I couldn’t resist ending the meal with a little something sweet. The dessert choices on offer here are inventive and easy on the pallet.
We devoured the late summer berries with salted caramel ice-cream. This dessert was something quite exquisite – as much a savoury experience and it was a sweet one. The berries were set amidst crème fresh mixed with herbs, nuts and biscuit pieces, while the ice-cream came on its own plate as to not steal the show from the berries.
I must conclude this is one restaurant where French sophistication has given new meaning to the term ‘steakhouse’. The meal was as much about the wine as it was the steak, while the seafood starters and adventurous dessert made for one top class taste experience. So inject some warmth into these brisk autumn nights and tuck into the Retour experience.
Retour Steak København
Ny Østergade 21, Cph V;
Open daily 12:00-00:00
Top Dish: Steak
Price Range: 350g ribeye with fries 245kr, 500g: 345kr