Fiona Mannion visits MASH Restaurant in Soho
Make no mistake, MASH – the Modern American Steak House – is not about all things potato. Rather this new opening in Soho prides itself on delivering the best in the American steakhouse tradition with an innovative edge – and the result is distinctly Mad Men in look and feel.
This Danish company have carried out an impressive renovation of an art deco basement on Brewer Street. Gliding down an elegant staircase brings you to an expansive restaurant kitted out in dark woods and pinky-reds, which on reflection is quite nicely reminiscent of a steak itself.
There’s a large rectangular bar at the front, perfect for an aperitif and pretending you’re in 1960s New York. I take this to heart and order a dry Manhattan to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind. My date goes for a fruity rum concoction that must be one of your five a day and is coated in a Christmassy shower of cinnamon. In fact, the bar is well worth a visit on its own.
Once sitting comfortably in a booth for dinner (and who doesn’t love sitting in a booth?), we have the chance to get a good look at the other guests. Given the prices, I was expecting a predominantly corporate entertaining crowd, but it’s good to see there are just as many tables with groups of friends.
The starters are reliable, the squid excellently cooked with a tangy kick offered by the chilli and lime. The snails have a reassuringly firm texture – but the real star is their wickedly garlicky vegetable accompaniment.
But let’s face it, this place isn’t about starters. A message driven home by two huge glass cases that act as a gateway to the dining area and display legs of meat and hunks of steak. The menu offers cuts from Denmark, America and Uruguay. Incidentally, there are also three fish dishes on the menu.
We try a Danish sirloin (only fair) and a Greater Omaha NY Strip (fairer still). And they deliver. Perfectly browned and caramelised on the outside, pink on the inside and buttery in texture. There’s a choice of four sauces and we try the garlic and thyme jus as well as the béarnaise, but barely touch them as the steak is good enough on its own.
The fries are tastily light and crispy, although the green salad a bit of a disappointment. But hey, who needs greens when you’ve got onion rings and macaroni and cheese on the menu? If you can fit in desert after all that, the chocolate cake and ice cream offers a comfortingly traditional choice.
MASH has created somewhere with an elegant glamour and excellent and friendly service. It’s perfect for corporate dining or for when you’re feeling like a little bit of old school Americana. It’s not cheap, but then neither is Roger Sterling.
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Read our guide to the best restaurants in Soho.