The Beast

Steak + King Crab 

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This is a killer combination.

Over the past 20 some odd years, I have discovered that there are a few things that are sacrosanct to Jeff:

  1. Fly fishing
  2. White bucks
  3. King crab

Case in point:

Jeff bought me a pair of fishing waders for my first birthday that we celebrated as a couple.  He stubbornly wears white bucks as they are his favorite footwear staple.  He took me repeatedly to City Crab when it opened nearly 20 years ago in NYC and has forced me to serve Maryland blue crabs at every summer party we’ve ever hosted in our back yard.

So it should come as no surprise that Jeff’s new favorite place to eat in London is The Beast.

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You have to respect a place that offers no substitutions or “off menu” ordering.  You come for what is gamely called The Beast Experience: Prime Nebraska ribeye and Norwegian king crab.

The menu is as no-nonsense as the restaurant.  At the entrance you literally pass a “beast” of sorts, a huge bronze bear sculpture.  Then you are sent downstairs via lift where you are greeted by two giant display cases.  One features enormous hanging meat carcasses under bright lights and the other displays eerily large crabs suspended in water backlit in blue light.

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The Beast is decorated sparsely by three tables for 40, each as long as a Tube carriage, sculpted from heavy wood and set aglow by pewter candelabras. One reviewer commented that the decor is “akin to the epicurean love child of Hogwarts and Eyes Wide Shut.”

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The wait staff is friendly and taunts you with sizes and weights of the food you’ve come to feast upon.  To set the mood, they place the crustacean tool kit on the table to remind you of the arduous task that lay ahead with the monstrous crab legs, each large enough to feed four people. Then come the knives, silver sharp serrated blades that can expertly slay the slab of meat served on a solid butcher block.

There are side dishes, of course.  Savory buttered carrots, sweet roasted fennel bulbs, and a colorful veggie assortment.  But they are merely second-string extras in this production starring the beef and crab.

Cloth bibs, monogrammed with The Beast logo, are provided at each seat.

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Everyone wears them, making me feel a bit like the character Ron Swanson from the TV series,  Parks and Recreation.  Ron always wears a bib when visiting Mulligans, his favorite steakhouse, to dine on steak, bacon, and other manly “turf”.

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Once done with the daunting meal, there are hand basins at the side of the room, with aromatic soaps, lemon chunks, and sturdy towels to wipe away all evidence of beef and crab carnage.

Though the menu was a hit, I know that the real thing that made Jeff’s night was the company.

The most sacrosanct thing of all to Jeff

is a night out with his girls. 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paul Stafford February 27, 2015 at 8:06 pm

This reminds me of one of my favorite SF restaurants, the very aptly named House of Prime Rib. I wonder why there aren’t more places that do one thing and do it extremely well?

We must come visit you and The Beast!

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