Hours: 11:30-14:30; 17:30-21:30
What is simultaneously as gratifying and simplistic as a piece of perfectly cooked meat? I've been through this, but it warrants repeating. Steak somehow manages to go beyond appealing to our basic five senses, but reaches a plain where it causes a more visceral reaction in all of us meat lovers. Like trained dogs we salivate and begin to ooh and aah as that slab of meat (in all of its medium rare glory) winds its way towards our dining plate.
How many of histories most important conversations have occurred across a dining table? How many of those very same conversations involved steak? I'm willing to bet a rather high percentage. Of course, I have absolutely no evidence to back this up, but i'm playing with a gut feeling here, and really, it is my gut after all that has gathered us here on this page... so it's something I've learned to trust a long long time ago.
This is all to say that food plays an important role in our lives that goes beyond mere subsistence. It is something we congregate over, it is something we look forward to, and it brings us (well, most of us) so much joy. It's been a while since I've ran my fingers over a keyboard to tout the virtues of food... again, I thought it worth repeating. It's what makes writing this blog so much fun.
With that out of the way, let us get to the point of the review, and that is the steak and accoutrements offered at Fresh & Aged Italian Steakhouse (located in Neihu).
I'm slightly out of practice in writing reviews, and I'll freely admit to experiencing Fresh & Aged over two months ago now. I still have a clear idea of what I felt at the time, but I plan on keeping this review to the nuts and bolts and give an attempt to be quick about my overall opinion about this particular establishment.
Fresh & Aged Italian Steakhouse is going to cost you a pretty penny. But that is always okay as long as that one underlining question is answered... is it worth it? Well, in this instance, I'll have to be wishy washy and give it a resounding... kind of?
The restaurant is a sight to behold and offers a brand spanking new modern atmosphere for its diners to drink in. They have private booths (that will cost a little extra) and ample seating in the main dining hall as well. Fresh & Aged offers a variety of non steak options on its menu (such as fish/pasta/soups.. etc.) in addition to an extensive salad/dessert bar buffet.
Liked the atmosphere, loved the salad bar.
Soups left a lot on the table. Emphatic thumbs down.
For my money, the best part of the dining experience involved the salad bar/buffet. For some reason, it always seems like this is the case for me. These steakhouse/salad bar deals ends up with me eating copious amounts of food from the salad bar (while of course devouring the steak as well). This maybe has something to do with my love for variety and eating my money's worth, but whatever the case, I found that the salad bar at Fresh & Aged delivered the goods.
There was a good selection, and it was fresh and colorful. The desserts were yummy, and I really had no complaints with what was offered in this area. The best part? The salad bar is included in the dining experience at no additional charge.
As usual, this is the star and the main point of my review. A steakhouse of course is selling its steaks, and in my opinion.. I've had better. We ordered a t-bone and rib-eye to share among ourselves, and I thought all the steaks shared the same issue, a bit too chewy, some parts of the steak were burnt and overall, just an underwhelming experience.
But honestly, I'm only judging on what I expected. If this was offered in a different type of establishment, I would have something different to say, but in this environment for this price tag (roughly 2000NT+ per person).. I found the quality to be lacking.
Some pasta and meat cut off the bone.
A few dessert options.
Fresh & Aged just went through a grand opening (re-opening?), so there is room for tweaks and such. I have yet to experience the same level of Steak perfection here in Taiwan that I've found in the U.S. It is true that I spend the bulk of my dining time enjoying the food and delicacies that Taiwan does oh so well, but that doesn't mean this area should be deficient.
There is also a grocery downstairs that is a part of the ownership group of the restaurant. They offer a host of meat and seafood products for you to peruse at your own leisure.
So let us sum this up quickly shall we? Did I enjoy my time at Fresh & Aged? Yes, yes I did. But it also left me feeling like something was missing. The price tag was handled by my ever loving sister and aunt, so perhaps the disappointment was mitigated someway by this. But whatever the reason, I am willing to give Fresh & Aged another go if the opportunity arises. After all, bad or mediocre steak is still steak after all.
Overall Fresh & Aged Italian Steakhouse Receives:
-Til Next Time-
Speaks to life in general.. kinda. Trying to be philosophical and failing probably.
MEAT! All you can buy and more.