Travel broadcaster Phil Blizzard discovers an up-market BBQ with tasty steaks and more, as the Warldorf Astoria showcases their signature Lexington Grill restaurant in an informal setting.
The cool breeze coming off the sea blended with the sounds of some cool cool jazz from the duo performing on the lawns outside the Lexington Grill creating a delightful ambience. The evening began with a pre-dinner cocktail from the specially prepared Jazztails menu and a conversation with Lij Heron, Chef de Cuisine.
Phil Blizzard : For the Lexington Grill this barbeque is somewhat different?
Lij Heron : Yes, it is a bit different because we’re a steakhouse, as you can see, but we just wanted to do something more relaxed for the guest. They said they want to experience something relaxing but good at the same time.
PB : Combining the outdoor environment, cool breezes, cool music, and the cuisine from Lexington, what a perfect combination.
LH: [laughs] Very true, very true. And the food here is very simple. We use prime aged Angus beef from Greater Omaha plains which is to me is one of the best beefs you can get in the world from the States and it’s grilled on our charcoal grill. You can’t get anything better than that, real natural old school simple way of cooking.
PB: I should’ve had a clue you’re from Jamaica because looking at the menu and I’ve been exploring what’s on offer today – Jamaican jerks, chickens – you’ve got your home cooking influence on board.
LH: Yes, I do. At first, I was thinking, “Should I really put this on it?” And then our GM just said to me, “Why not?” You offer something different and people know about it and everyone comes here. They’ve never had jerk chicken before, and they love it. And then we cook it right in front of you, or steaks also, highlight of the evening also.
PB : Have you got a little twist to your Jamaican jerks? Because there’s always little secrets or maybe something’s been handed down from your family?
LH: [laughs] Actually, no. Not really. Actually, a friend of mine, when I worked in Montego Bay, her mother just showed me how to do it properly. And she gave me her recipe. She showed me how to do it, and then I just fine tuned it, took my take on the recipe. From then, it just kicked off and it’s amazing.
PB: Well, walk us through what we’ve got here tonight. We’ve got the palm trees, of course, the lawns, and this row of tables with a of a mix of salads.
LH: Yes, we also offer the mix of salads and our salads that we have on the menu right now, it’s everything that’s in season. Asparagus is in season, so we have an asparagus salad. Beet root is in season, so we have a roasted beet root salad with oranges.
PB: I can say I started with that, beautiful with the mix of the orange, wonderful.
LH: Yes, and simple. Mushrooms are in season right now, so we have a lot of mushroom salad. It’s simple food done properly, and everyone will enjoy it. And then next, we have our grills. We have some sausages and we smoke our sausages. Yes, not just grill, but we smoke so you got a real nice, home feeling that “wow, mom did it” or “grandma did it”.
PB: So you’re bringing those key elements from the Lexington Grill into the barbecue and the outdoor environment.
LH: Yes, we are. And then also, we have other items on the menu. We have grilled vegetables or mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, roasted grilled veg. And then we roast them on a charcoal grill.
PB: And when it comes to seafood and fish what are you offering?
LH: We have some snapper and then we have some salmon which is beautiful also, and it’s just simple. I marinate the salmon with some salt, pepper, and some garlic. It really gives a beautiful flavor.
PB: Well, I think between us, we’ve got the best jobs in the world. You’re cooking the cuisine, I’m eating cuisine, I’m talking which is what my job is all about. And here we are, it’s a wonderful setting here at the Waldorf Astoria.
LH: It is, it is. It’s beautiful.
Phil: All in the rising Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah.
LH: I like how you put that. That’s true. It really is rising.
For more information on the Lexington Groll Jazz Night contact the Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah +971 7 203 555 or visit www.waldorfastoria3.hilton.com