Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh, the blood... the blood... swimming in it... drowning...! When you order a rare steak at Morton's be prepared. It's gruesome, but if your stomach can take it, your mouth will thank you so very much.

How does a scribbler who promises stuff on "middle-class entertainment" get to write about a place where one entree alone costs more than what he would normally pay for a splendid dinner for 2 elsewhere? Simply, company sponsorship. June's company has finally wound up ops in Singapore and the ex-employees -- all 3 of them, and their spouses -- got together one last time at company expense to have a such a meal together that our grandchildren will hear of it when they're old enough.

Posh a nook that Morton's is, we riff-raff are still welcomed with the same courtesy as the other guests. There is a general smart-casual dress code, though we did notice a couple of youthful looking patrons in round-necked Ts.

Cutlery is basic, but attention immediately goes to the steak knife whose authority no one will question. It's heft and size put it in the 'lethal weapon' category, so it's not a good idea to have a disagreement over dinner. The spontaneity of a duel may be exciting but such activities usually end in tears and not a little blood.

Each table starts with a loaf of bread served straight from the oven and butter to go around. Soft, warm, solid, chunky bread. Delicious, but not what Morton's is famous for. When we are ready to order, a staff-member wheels over a cart and explains the menu in a show-and-tell of pre-cooked ingredients. What you see really is what you get.

There must be a trick to it: the staff bringing us our orders isn't the same as the staff who took our orders, but he knew who ordered what anyway. I had the crab cake for the appetizer. Thankfully, more crab than cake. June gave me a morsel of her Maine Lobster cocktail which was cold and fresh. But the steak entrees are enormous. Gigantic slabs of meat served only with a bit of steamed watercress(?) and done to order. Mine was a New York Strip Steak done rare . The only way to do a steak of this size justice is to carve little bite-sized chunks and just take all the time in the world savoring it piece by piece.

Veggies come as side orders. They're quite ordinary -- steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes -- but necessary to keep the guests from becoming total raptors and t-rexes. The carnage would be unimaginable.

Janice's filet mignon was a little charred and she fed back to the management which agreed and offered to replace her steak with another. Janice had already eaten too much by then and wasn't interested in another steak so the management decided to give us 1 free dessert to make up for it. 1 dessert, so I'm not sure what happened next. First an amazingly smooth bread-and-butter pudding appeared on our table for all of us to share, then an NY cheesecake (rich and creamy, though it also appears to melt in the mouth and thus it goes down oh, so lightly) made an appearance as well and was likewise devoured.

June's idea to finish with fresh strawberries (and cream whipped with Marsala wine) was a good one. Left a fresh, clean taste in the mouth as we wished each other well, hoped for success in future endeavours and staggered back to our respective transports and home.

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