Serving More than Just Meat: Hangzhou’s CRU Steak House

Serving More than Just Meat: Hangzhou’s CRU Steak House

 

With the large red and white wine cellar available, as well as delicious high quality dishes from all over the Western world, we feel certain you will not be disappointed in your dining experience at the CRU Steak House.

Upon entering the JW Marriott, you immediately get a feeling of elegance and class. There is an eye-catching glass chandelier cascading down from the second floor. The glint of glass creates an ambiance of elegance without being overdone.

As we entered the second floor restaurant, known as the CRU Steak House, the same glass chandelier took a prominent position in the middle of the restaurant, disappearing into the floor. The restaurant has a warm, intimate environment, furnished in dark wood with hints of red in the candles and pillows. The restaurant seats up to 88 guests, with one private room and one semi-private room available for groups.

We quickly learned that the CRU Steak House serves “pure European food” with the Swiss chef, Markus Kuhni, only serving the freshest and best quality foods imported from around the world. The BFIC crew had the privilege to sit down with both Chef Markus and Assistant Communications Manager Vicky Liu, as we were taken on a food odyssey spanning many oceans.

Typically, when you come to a steakhouse, you expect to have a variety of steaks to choose from, with choice pieces of meat served to you, grilled to perfection. However, we got more than we ever imagined; not only did we get to sample some excellent steak, but we also got to try a range of high class foods from the menu. Starting with some Pacific raw oysters, we also enjoyed Spanish ham, pan fried goose liver, black cod fish, tuna tataki, marinated salmon, as well as Angus rib eye steak and a fine Wagyu beef tenderloin.

While oysters in Hangzhou are not entirely new, the opportunities to experience them at their finest – in the raw – is something that very few Hangzhou-nese have yet to enjoy. The choosing of oysters is a tricky profession, as only the freshest and best quality will do. As we were waiting to enjoy our first ever raw oysters, we were briefed on the different tastes oysters can produce, from a delicate sweet flavor, to a heavier salty taste. These oysters are extremely fresh, having been farmed, flown in, and presented to us within a very short window of time. You will not find a five day old oyster here!

Oysters are opened and presented on a bed of shaved ice, with lemon wedges and Tabasco sauce. Many people choose to enjoy them with Champaign, but we were given a wonderful sweet watermelon sorbet for cleaning our pallets. The BFIC crew each selected a Pacific Oyster, flown in from the USA, and stared at it intently, none of us having tried a raw one before. We pried it loose with our oyster fork, and looked around the table timidly to see who would be the first brave person to raise the shell to their lips. I wasn't sure what to expect, as it looked like it might have a slimy texture, and I could still remember the rubbery cooked oysters I'd had elsewhere before.

The Assistant Manager guessed our hesitancy, and giving us a generous smile, showed us how it was done. I followed next, raising the oyster to my lips and chewed it whole. It did have a surprisingly light, pleasant taste, and the overall feeling was cool and refreshing. There isn't much sense in stopping at one, as you are just beginning to warm to the experience, so I tried a second one. After that I was given the opportunity to try a Tasmanian Oyster from Australia, so I could taste the difference. Indeed, I could tell that it had a saltier taste, but what surprised me was how clean my mouth felt afterwards; there was no harsh aftertaste. In the West, raw oysters are considered one of the finer things in life. Bringing them to the upscale restaurant that is the CRU Steakhouse, allows the people of Hangzhou to have access to this treat of the upper-class. And it's quite affordable too, with the price ranging from 25 - 46 RMB per oyster. The staff is knowledgeable and can help you select the oysters for your taste buds. While we were there, a repeat customer came over to ask Chef Markus for help, wanting to know which oysters they had enjoyed on the previous visit. It is this kind of personalised attention that shows what a high level of service the CRU Steakhouse has to offer.

When you go to any steakhouse, it is expected to find a selection of top cuts of meat to choose from, as well as a competent chef in the kitchen. You can rest assured that the CRU Steak House has both of these. There are seven mouth watering cuts of steak to choose from, as well as seven steak sauces to compliment them. The seven steaks all have different prices to fit your budget - ranging from 268 RMB to 648 RMB. The most expensive price gets you a whopping 850 grams of Angus Rib Eye steak with marbling 3+. The more marbling the steak has, the more tender and flavourful it will be.

After receiving some education in the fine cooking skills needed to create that perfect steak, we ate bite after bite of the delicious 450g Angus Rib Eye and tender Wagyu beef tenderloin with marbling score 5+. I certainly have a new appreciation for the grilling techniques that must be acquired, and understand now why it would take a chef many years of training to become a steak master. The evidence for having come of age as a steak master was presented before us in the colouring, texture and taste of the meats we were served.

Expect to also find wonderful European dishes on the menu, but you need to know that the selection will change with the seasons. Here are three mouthwatering dishes from the current menu: The understated Spanish ham (188 RMB), is a serving of delicious Iberico ham, the highly sought after black-footed pork from Spain. It has a wonderful silky texture and is paired with a tender artichoke salad and a sweet melon sorbet. The ham practically melts in your mouth. Next is the pan fried foie gras (128 RMB), or fattened goose liver, if you aren't familiar with the French term. The thin, crispy outer layer gives way to a soft, pudding-like center. It has a light, smooth taste, and the honey used in the dressing comes directly off of fresh honey combs. It is paired with a fig salad with balsamic dressing. Finally, the Chef's and my favourite, is the tuna tataki and marinated salmon (128 RMB). The pairing of my two favourite fishes on one plate was enough to peak my interest in the dish, but the wonderful infusion of flavours kept it fresh in my mind as the dish I would want to return to order. The tuna is served in the shape of a cube with a mix of capers and onions, while the salmon is marinated in juniper berries and sea salt and presented with a mustard-dill sauce. The combination is simply outstanding.

There are also some vegetable side dishes, all reasonably priced at 28 RMB. The BFIC crew got to sample the creamy potatoes with truffle oil, grilled asparagus, creamy spinach and assorted mushrooms. They were all delicious in their own right, with the assorted mushrooms taking the front stage for their fresh crisp taste, seasoned with peppercorn, rosemary, thyme and garlic. I believe my exact expression upon eating the dish was “wow.”

The full dinner menu changes twice a year. Conscious that the busy business people do not have very long for lunch, a shorter set menu is available for lunch time dining. This menu changes every month, giving you the opportunity to try more of the delicious dishes Chef Markus has created.

The CRU Steak House has a wide selection of high class Western dishes from all over the world and also has a large red and white wine cellar to choose from. BFIC highly recommends this steak house and we are certain that you will not be disappointed in your dining experience there.

The Verdict:

Service quality: excellent
Food quality: excellent
Price per head (RMB): 500+
Environment: good
Feature dish or menu: Angus rib eye steak, Wagyu beef tenderloin, marbling score 5+

Location:

Add: 28 Hushu Nanlu, Hangzhou (JW Marriot Hotel)
地址:杭州市湖墅南路28号杭州JW万豪酒店内
Tel: +86 571 89817777

This article is brought to you by Best Food in China (www.bestfoodinchina.net). Best Food in China is the first and leading English-medium website featuring reviews on food, cuisine and restaurants in China. 

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Keywords: CRU Steak House Hangzhou steak restaurants Hangzhou JW Marriot Hotel Hangzhou

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