27 February 2015
My plans kept changing but basically my evening became open at the last minute. Geez, a Friday and I have a ridiculously early wake-up coming, so I decided to go to do something easy. I trekked across the centre and headed to the popular Ráday utca, where many restaurants are. After negotiating through a maze of increasingly aggressive beggars at Kálvin tér Metro, I made it to The Beer Cellar — to be told it was reserved for the night. Damn it, of course never listed on the website. Ugh…
I trekked back towards the Metro and went straight back, but went a little further. I decided to try a place that was highly recommended, Prime Steak & Wine. I know, why go to a steakhouse when you are in Hungary? Reason is that it also offers, alongside other sourced beefs from around the world, the fabulous local Magyar szürke szarvasmarha (grey cattle).
The restaurant was mostly empty, which is a bad sign for Friday night. And the staff was already shaky, just standing around chatting instead of being attentive. I finally coaxed my server over to place my order. Took while to get my wine as they just refused to fill up my water glass. Had to keep getting their attention. At least then the starter arrived.
This marrow and beef soup was actually pretty good. I had to ask for a tiny spoon or fork to enjoy the marrow, as they had not even considered it. Another bad FoH sign. It was solid, and the marrow was a nice touch.
I chilled out with more wine but had to keep asking for water when they just refuse to fill my glass — despite me paying for the bottle. Then my steak came…and my heart sank.
Was that a beef log they dropped on my table that looks already dryer than the Sahara?
Reason #1 why NO ONE eats filet mignon anymore (which is this restaurant’s specialty) is how utterly awful a cut it is. Reason #2 is that it’s so easy to screw up cooking. This was labelled medium-rare? Nope. Maybe partially, but it’s well-done through the top and one side. It’s obvious it was thrown into the oven that was unbalanced and cooked through badly. Right side was well-done and left side was medium. And it was all bad.
Frankly the vegetables were much better. And they still won’t fill my water glass!
I actually then complained and the staffer was giving me attitude and I just said forget it. I abandoned the rest of the steak, asked them to give me the bottle of water and the bill. I actually literally carried the water bottle out of the restaurant with me.
Having graced hundreds of steakhouses around the world, I have to say I have NEVER had such a poor experience anywhere in the world. Crap service that just got worse, plus a truly horrible steak. Pretentious crap that everyone has seen though, which is why it was pretty empty on a Friday night.
As I tweeted that night, what they did to the Szürke marha tonight was a crime. Frankly this “steakhouse” is criminally bad. What a crappy last meal in Budapest…
Prime Steak & Wine
Sas utca 18