Mr Wilson Speaks No Evil at Bob's Steak & Chop House

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Steak & Shiraz

On a chilly winter evening, my wife and I ventured out to Melbourne's growing urban metropolis that is Docklands. For a change, we had a firm choice of F&B in mind to escape the winter blues. Steak and Shiraz.

To avoid more winter peril we got UberX on the blower and off to Bob's Steak and Chop house we went. Its avenue, which looks like its identity has ebbed and flowed a bit since its opening 4 years ago, has gone from handsome, posh, corporate American steakhouse to glitzy American sports bar / gastro pub. Which is fair enough when you are located on the fringes of Etihad Stadium and so many new inner city dwellings.

We were greeted warmly into a large leathery booth beneath a tower of red wine. Large classic NY steakhouse style menus were dispatched, reminiscent of Peter Lugers with robust porky plates, classic salads, and seafood heroes dominating the starters - priced between $14 for a Chop House Salad and $44 for a King Prawn Platter.

Steak and Shiraz was our motivation on such a bleak evening and we were not disappointed! All the meat is 150 day grain fed, which rarely fails to please. Choosing a steak these days can be like the footy tipping, with so much talent on offer in Australia and so many meat styles to choose from: grass, dry aged, 150-300 days on grain; all commonly available. Then you consider the cuts: fillet, sirloin (porterhouse), rib, scotch, rump, rump cap, flank, hanger, oyster blade, and tri-tip; add Americana steakhouse speak and it really can be confusing to which meat is your muse!

Bob keeps it real with good descriptions and a selection of 150 day grain fed classic cuts, whilst not offending the grass loving locals with a fillet and strip loin option. We hope to see some dry ageing and more pacific regional examples of fine local grass fed one day!

She's a beaut wine list offering a broad range of benchmark Aussie reds from all over regional Australia! Not a list you would throw around like a Sherrin, this is a credentialed list with appropriate pricing, most reds averaging over $65 to $150, special wines for special occasions perfectly matched to the food on offer.

My wife ordered the S&P Calamari and a 250G /$44 Pasture fed Eye Fillet (steak speak: Fillet Migon). I ordered Bob's Prawn Cocktail /$24 and the 600g /$64 Grain fed Bone-in Rib Eye (steak speak: Côte de Boeuf). Some sides to share of Onion Rings, Sautéed Spinach & Mushrooms, and the obligatory steakhouse favourite of Freshly Shucked Creamed Sweet Corn.

The room was dominated by a large table of executives wishing a colleague farewell, the odd colourful local, and some polite tables of two dotted around the venue. The other half of the the venue, seemingly being lit up by ESPN Boxing sports cast and the odd cocktail shaker. I imagine it being an awesome spot to watch sport with a bunch of well heeled mates who love their big reds!

Service was outstanding with excellent training and customer care demonstrated whenever possible. Our titanic entrees arrived, a perfect tower of fresh and nicely fried calamari and a kitsch martini glass of prawns.

My prawns were impeccable, freshly cooked in briny water, clean, good texture, ripper cocktail sauce with lashings of horseradish - exactly what you get at Peter Lugers. The lettuce could have had the same love as the rest with some bright herbs and shallots, but overall it delivered, and good prawns are not cheap!

The calamari's same same sweet, perfectly cooked crisp tender cephalopods with a good dollop of aioli - no frills, good ingredients, properly served - which after sampling I didn't mind paying for!!

Round 2, watching the boxing with my wife twittering furiously in the left corner, the Maître’d cleverly positioned the wine list near my Barossa bred dining companion, who, before I could blow the whistle, ordered another big red! The steaks arrived, we were in trouble, but it was the sort of trouble you wish to be in at a fine steakhouse.

The meat, a large Black Angus I spied going by the split bone on my Côte de Boeuf, was rich, tender, and flooded my head with meat juices and great memories of NY steakhouses. The Fillet Mignon was perfectly cooked medium and made the boss happy.

The sides are where the devil in the detail shines at a good steakhouse. These were indeed devils of detail perfectly seasoned, moist but not watery spinach and caramelised field mushrooms, dreamy creamed corn (so good I would return for this alone!). Our only gripe for the night was the heavyweight of towering hunks of onion ring madness - a touch too heavy on the flour.

By now meat coma was setting in, Do they have accommodation? Every steakhouse should!, I thought. I could hear my wife thinking angrily this another business idea Wilson?!

By now I was ready to give the Maître’d a left hook myself as I was so gloriously full. He politely dispatched a perfect Crème Brulée, as you do when you’re this good and proud of what the kitchen endeavours.

Seriously, it was a damn fine example of the paternal favourite. Sure, let's get cheffy more single origin Tahitian vanilla bean to take from a 9 to a 12 but this is a venue that knows it's margins and knows quality. The entree portions could be smaller w/ friendlier pricing to expose the kitchen's attention to detail and encourage wine list exploration.

The chef, you can tell by his cooking, is very proud of being a quiet achiever. The food was exactly as advertised with lots of love, which is no mean feat in this neighbourhood and present climate, I would suggest. Brands are tricky in this town, but this no doubt well backed brand deserves more carnivores in my opinion.

In Summary...

What Wilson says - I’ll be back for the footy. Fantastic food, wine & service.

When can we go - Lunch:- Sun to Fri: 11.30am to 2.30pm; Dinner:- Sun to Thu: 5.30pm to 9.30pm; Fri: 6pm to 10pm; Saturday: 5.30pm to 10pm;

Overall Rating

1 to 2 fish - Great    2.5 to 3.5 fish - Excellent    4 to 5 fish - Must Go!

Review by Paul Wilson

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