Hot Stones, Clarke Quay
I kinda knew that this whole thing was a bit of a gimmick, but I was feeling a bit carnivorous tonight, and I thought that I had remembered eating something similar a very long time ago that was decently enjoyable. So I stopped by this place tonight (Clarke Quay #01-06, 6333-4868, with another location at Boat Quay) with the intention of checking it out. The idea, of course, is that this flat slab of a rock is heated to a scorching hot temperature and brought to you so that you cook your steak in front of you with it. I ordered a ribeye, and in less than five minutes, the hot platter was brought to me with a bloody red ribeye on it sizzling away. I was getting my hopes up too; the aroma coming from the neighboring tables was whetting my appetite. I proceeded to flip the steak and cook away, a bit akin to Pepper Lunch.
Unfortunately looks (and smells) can be decieving. While the meat was very tender, I took just one bite of it and I knew that something was wrong. The meat simply had no taste whatsoever; it was almost as if the beef was not aged or something. This was particularly important to me, as I'm a guy who hates putting sauces on steaks, opting instead for the natural taste of the beef. This was seriously one of the most bland things I'd ever tasted.
In light of that, I reluctantly tried dipping into the sauces in an effort to save the meal and get some more flavor out of it (maybe that's why the meat was bland, since it's common around here to cover steaks with sauces anyway). But none of the sauces agreed with me (sadly, the best one I could find out of them all was a wasabi-based cream). I tried salt too, but that didn't quite do the trick. I even tried using pieces that had more fat in them and scorching the fat as best I could to get more flavor out of it. Alas, none of these worked. Maybe I should have asked for some butter or something.
Oh well. I was warned ahead of time that this place was no good, but I guess I had to see for myself. And indeed, I did (even the potato salad on the side was bland). The only thing that I could see going for it was how quickly the food came (it's not like they needed to cook anything in the kitchen), but this advantage was quickly offset by the guy at the register who forgot to process my credit card at the end of the meal. I waited around naively for about ten minutes before getting up and walking up to the register myself, after which the guy realized that he had forgotten about it.