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The Prince of Pork Chops & A Note About “Too Good” Service

posted by in Continental, Restaurants

tomahawk chop

It’s otherwise known as a “tomahawk chop” because it resembles that Native North American small axe, but at this restaurant, it’s delivered with an unbearable amount of attention.

On the menu of I’m Angus Steakhouse, it’s called a US-Duroc Pork Chop, the “Black Angus of Pork” because of its heft (15 ounces) and because it’s cut from the rib section of the loin with the upper part of the rib bone attached. Also known as a pork rib chop bone-in, this particular cut is regarded by (US) butchers as the prime rib of the pork loin (where the best pork chops come from).

Good fried or baked, it’s outstanding when grilled as they do at I’m Angus, the steakhouse of the Werdenberg group, mother company of Säntis, Carpaccio, Chesa Bianca, etc. A relatively intimate restaurant with just seven tables lorded over by an open kitchen and a much larger (smoking) space at back, this restaurant is one where I immediately know I’m going to be taken care of.

Perhaps too well taken care of.

The second my bum hits the chair, a server classically clad in all black, scurries towards me with a stool for my bag. I decline because I’ve got a bag hook for it. Water seems to instantly appear in our drinking glasses and as I open my menu, here’s another server: back erect, pen at the ready, her eagerness to serve practically luminescent on her face. Uneasy, Franco and I scan the menu and order quickly. When our server notices we’re not having wine today, I swear I see her chin droop. Bread is served with a flourish of “A soft roll today, Ma’am, Sir,” followed by, “and some butter, herbed and spicy.” Being rabid water drinkers, our glasses are refilled when they’re only half-empty. My table napkin is about to slide to the floor – and I only notice when a server suddenly materializes by my side: “Your napkin, Ma’am.”

It’s of utmost importance for every server to intuitively understand the dance of “deliver and disappear” that must be adjusted for each customer; any more or any less and good service crosses the fine line to obsequiousness. “I’m not sure what’s worse, being paid attention to or not at all,” muses Franco, after his glass is filled for the nth time.

And on it goes in this vein. When Franco takes out his camera (a most ballsy move), four pairs of peepers bear down on our table simultaneously from across the room as if by weird psychokinetic force – MISSION: ELIMINATE CAMERA! Any second now, there’ll be a blinding white light and then, bye-bye Franco’s camera. (Thank god it doesn’t happen that way).

Quit Playing With the Pepper
When our mains arrive, the servers perform that song and dance number of swooping down on the puny pepper mill (which is sitting on our table), holding it aloft like a Beretta, and ceremoniously asking, “Care for some fresh pepper?”

I hate this part.

I don’t understand why there’s such a big to-do in most restaurants about grinding pepper. Any idiot could do it. And most pepper mills I’ve seen aren’t anything I’d certainly pay attention to, with the exception of the one at The Spaghetti Factory at Glorietta; that one was like 18 inches long and so big that I half-expected peppercorns to come spitting out of it like a machine-gun. But anyway, yes, I don’t get the pepper hanky-panky bit at restaurants. I want to grind my own pepper, please. Why not ask me instead if I’d like some freshly-ground salt? I love salt more.

cross-section of porkchop

Despite eating under the ingratiating act-like-your-grandmother’s-watching-you stares of at least two servers, Franco enjoys his dish and I enjoy my tomahawk chop. Almost two inches thick and about twice as wide, my first slice releases wafts of porcine perfume. Oozing juice, evidence I believe of a good long brining, it’s tender and almost too subtle – until I scatter some fresh rosemary needles and a grind of coarse salt to accompany each bite. Such a simple addition makes the flavor bloom most extraordinarily. I appreciate the quartet of mustards offered: blueberry, tarragon, Dijon, and something I understand to be Burgundy.

im-angus-004

Next time I’ll order the Tomahawk Beef Steak and eat it with my hands. (Evil laugh).

I’m Angus Steakhouse
See website for details and menu.

10 Responses to “The Prince of Pork Chops & A Note About “Too Good” Service”

  • This one’s got me craving for a good piece of meat right now :D

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  • I think most restaurants don’t let customers use the pepper grinders because the grinders often end up being stolen. Still, I’d prefer to do it myself, too, and even more important, I’d prefer they wait until I taste my food before they ask!

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  • That pork looks good Lori!

    I know what you mean about over the top service- it can get uncomfortable when there’s too much overt fussing by wait staff. Service should be as invisible as possible and not turned into a show, imho.

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  • i ate there last night. the prime ribeye was excellent. ditto with the over attentive servers. ok lang, i just minded my meat. pork looks awesome! creamed spinach looks tempting as well :) hwehwehwe

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  • when im hungry and if the food tastes as gorgeous as it looks, im oblivious to people around me.. the wait staff can turn cartwheels across the floor for all i care. but what really irritates is when i need something and i have to wave my hand like stupid to call a waiter’s attention… better to be waited on zealously than for one to be ignored seconds before they notice you exist.

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    Chinkee Reply:

    Ditto.

    Both times I was there the service was quite good and did not get the feeling I was being stalked. The only thing that annoyed me was when they told us not to smoke in the smoking area because they overbooked and the two other diners requested for a non-smoking table. since we requested to be seated in the smoking area, why should we be asked to stop smoking, right? not our fault they overbooked.

    anyway, the steaks were very good and perfectly done, and my friends and i had a great time. and that’s all that mattered.

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  • hmm i should try this soon. the only tomahawk ive tried is 145 fahrenheit’s 46oz tomahawk chop :)

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    restohunter Reply:

    went to I am angus last night after reading this blog. Was very surprised to see the rsto half empty considering it’s own by santos, plenty of parking space and Friday night.

    Anyway we had rib eye, t bone, sea bass and duroc pork for main.

    Is it worth the visit ?

    Our steak was one doneness above our order. The Madagascar green peppercorn sauce is the only thing that give flavor to the steak. Otherwise it’s tastless and not juicy at all.

    The Duroc pork is juicy but it’s over cooked. It looks more like turkey meat than pork.

    Sea bass I did detect the flavor. They did not musk it. Very good.

    Garnishing – your side and a quarter of a small tomato. Why quarter of a tomato ? Puzzling.

    I like the steak knife. Very nice but not for sale.

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  • the pork rib chop is calling my name…..

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  • I agree…”too good” service is bad service. You should never be afraid to take pictures of your food!

    [Reply]

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