Bob's Steak and Chop House

Bob's Steak and Chop House @ 737 Bourke Street, Docklands
13 April 2011

We recently attended a media dinner at Bob's Steak and Chop House in Docklands. We were intrigued by the notion of an American steak house operating in Melbourne - a relatively novel concept. With numerous restaurants operating across America, Texas in particular, Bob’s has a strong reputation for delivering superb steaks in a refined environment. The new Bob's in Docklands is the first venture by the business outside the USA.

In charge of the Bob's operation in Australia and New Zealand are Sanjay Chimnani and his partner Shine Dinghe. Speaking to them throughout the evening, we gained an insight into their vision for a Bob's restaurant in Australia - a restaurant that merges the best aspects of the American steak house dining experience with excellent local Australian produce and, more particularly, Hopkins River beef. They cite Melbourne's Rockpool Bar and Grill as one of their templates - one look at the dining room fit out confirms this with the heavy use of accented wood tones simultaneously conveying refinement and warmth. However, while the Bob's environment did bear some resemblances to that of Rockpool, its food was somewhat simpler, and definitively more American - clearly a deliberate choice.

Our meal proceeded as follows:
Crab cake - Crab claw meat and red pepper, pan-fried and served with honey mustard sauce accompanied by a 2008 Morooduc chardonnay

 Chop House salad - Cucumber, tomato, red peppers, onion, bacon and hearts of palm, tossed with mesclun mix and served with Bob's vinaigrette accompanied by a 2010 First Drop arneis

Grain and pasture fed Hopkins River tenderloin served with creamed corn, smashed potatoes and sautéed spinach and mushrooms accompanied by a 2008 Grosset Gaia cabernet merlot

Petit trio of crème brulee, carrot cake and lemon and lime tart accompanied by a 2005 Castlenau de Suiduraut Sauternes

It was an enjoyable meal that cast aside common preconceptions about American food being abundant and of poor quality. The crab cake entrée - which was well flavoured, with the delightful sweetness of the crab meat being retained throughout, and accentuated by, the honey mustard sauce - and the creamed corn - which was playfully filled with fresh and sweet corn kernels - were notable highlights.

For steak, we were served two small tenderloins - one each of grass fed and grain fed. It was interesting to compare and contrast the differences - the grass fed variant had courser fibres and earthier flavours while the grain fed example was richer and more tender. Which version is preferable is ultimately a matter of personal preference. 

While both steaks were relatively well cooked and succulent, for our tastes, when compared to Charcoal Grill on the Hill's scotch fillet - our benchmark when it comes to steaks - the Bob’s steaks lacked flavour and were a touch dry. For us, the Bob's steaks’ main shortfall was that they did not have the slight charring that covers a Charcoal Grill steak – a product of their cooking through the American style broiler – which intensifies the flavours of the meat. Still, having one's steak bested by the mighty Charcoal Grill steak is certainly no shame.

We thank the proprietors, Sanjay Chimnani and Shine Dinghe, for their hospitality and for hosting a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Food: 6.5
Service: N/A*
Value: N/A*
Overall: N/A*

*As this was a special media event, service and value cannot properly be assessed and so ratings for those aspects, and hence an overall rating for the restaurant, cannot be provided.  

-PiCi and BC-

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