Stoned Steaks has really good...steaks. Better than some of the pricier ones at swanky Makati and BGC addresses, we dare say. But what has been keeping this business afloat is their eat-all-you-can promo for their sirloin cuts, which is drawing in a regular crowd.
The owners can’t complain, from a business standpoint. But, considering the care and attention they give their product, it’s understandable if they feel a bit slighted. While their eat-all-you-can promo is obvious value for money, they were hoping the quality of their steaks are more then enough to attract diners.
After all, the beef that restaurant owner Dick Balajadia serves in his Quezon City steakhouse is stellar—only certified US Angus and prime Australian Wagyu. The dedicated culinary school grad and entrepreneur also spent good money on a German-made, dry-aging contraption so he can give the meat the proper treatment in order to deliver the complex flavor serious steak lovers crave. The steaks are proudly stored right in the middle of the dining room—a shining beacon to all carnivores in their neighborhood within the Scout area where another restaurant called Romantic Baboy reigns supreme.
“We noticed also that chef-driven establishments haven’t been lucky with this area,” Dick’s wife, Mars, points out. She recalls a neighboring sandwich shop that has folded (“I actually liked that place,” she says) and a now-defunct ramen joint, both with well-known names to back them up.
The QC market is also notoriously conservative and set in their ways, and the couple points out long-running establishments along Tomas Morato that remain quite the forces to be reckoned with. “For press conferences, the networks still prefer Mario’s and Annabel’s,” says Dick. With this kind of resistance to new things, promos are the way for newer establishments to get their foot in the door. By way of eat-all-you-can sirloin steaks grilled over volcanic stone grill, Stoned is hoping to captivate the market enough for a go at their other offerings.
Perhaps, on their next visit, guests would want to start an exemplary steak dinner with some baked oysters. The roasted bone marrow is meant to be an appetizer slathered over bread, but with the mushroom liver sauce it comes with it can be a lavish topper to their steaks.
Hopefully, they will be intrigued by the 28-days aged premium cuts of beef, that signature funk emanating from the smoke as the fat sizzles on the stone grill. The Angus truly benefits from this aging process, with its inherent brawn amplified by the nutty, earthy flavors the technique imparts. At first bite, one would definitely need to take a moment as you would upon first sip of fine wine. Same with the Australian Wagyu ribeye, which is actually pleasantly not as fatty as their Japanese counterparts. But, the richness is definitely there, and so is the pleasure derived from tender meat melting in your mouth.
The Balajadias have this spiced salt they sprinkle over the steaks which is really all that’s needed on good beef. But, if sauce you must—then the chimichurri and the blue cheese sauces are the best options for the job. Sauces seem to be something they do well here, and it’s also evident in their luxurious draping of creamy foie gras over a juicy burger.
If that’s not enough to embed Stoned in one’s memory, they give it their best effort with the banoffee lava cake. Melting all those flavors in the cake’s center is actually quite genius, making us wonder why people were freezing them in the first place.
Underestimated and definitely under-appreciated, Stoned Steaks is one of those gastronomic gems buried under Quezon City’s budget-conscious eateries and time-tested options. But, what people need to realize is that they’re paying very little for the level of quality they are getting. That, to us at least, is money wisely spent.
Stoned Steaks is at 55 Scout Rallos Street, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City.