Nusr-Et – an expensive cut of steak in Dubai

Nusret Dubai - Four SeasonsWhen the rumour mill started that Nusr-Et was set to open a restaurant in Dubai (at the Four Seasons), I couldn’t understand the appeal of a steakhouse import from Turkey. Don’t get me wrong, I relish Turkish mezze and fell in love with the city of Istanbul (or Constantinople as some like to call it). But Turkish cuisine, to me, is not synonymous with steak. Plus how would it compete in a city overflowing with good steakhouses?

32-year old Nusret Gokce started out as a butcher when he was 16, and is now the owner of six Nusr-Et restaurants across Turkey, with one set to open in London (at the Intercontinental Park Lane). Since 2012, his investors are the same owners of neighbouring Coya, La Petite Maison and Zuma. But this young lad who hardly speaks a word of English, and has garnered quite a following on Instagram, is doing the rounds of every table at his new Dubai restaurant, and has been since the December opening, flying to and from Turkey weekly. Commendable. And I don’t mean just popping by for a quick (Turkish) greeting, but taking over recommending what to order. I do love it when someone who knows their food takes control…well for a while, until I slow him down to cross check his suggestions.

He does in his broken English explain that the beef carpaccio starter is such a large portion, a salad would suffice as our second appetiser. And oh my is he right – it arrives on a huge round platter enough to feed four. Our waiter rolls the slivers of beef with the parmesan crisp, rocket and olive oil, all sandwiched in between – and then slices it into four generous rolls. Marrying all the flavours and textures together, it’s the ONLY way to eat carpaccio in my opinion, and I question why the Italians never thought of serving it this way before. I can’t get enough of this dish.

A quinoa salad bursts with juicy chunks of pumpkin, avocado, cherry tomatoes and orange segments. It’s very rare for me to enjoy anything with quinoa (I think it’s the most over-rated superfood ever), but at Nusr-Et they manage to transform a bland ingredient into one oozing with flavour.

Onto the reason we’re here, steak glorious steak (chicken, fish and veggie options are on the menu, but don’t be fooled, Nusr-Et is a red meat lovers paradise). Now there have been claims that Nusret marinates his beef in questionable ingredients, but he is adamant that all cuts (Australian and Japanese beef, Kobe Wagyu included) are simply charcoal-grilled with a dash of sea salt and a sprinkling of ground pepper. Our two steak orders arrive on separate wooden butcher’s blocks, and are served medium rare at our request – but given Nusret’s surprise, I expect he is used to diners demanding their steak medium or even well done. If that’s the case, you may as well steer clear of any red meat in my opinion. I had pictured a version of tagliata di manzo with the Nusret ‘spaghetti’ steak – but instead of beef strips, we have three delicately sliced tenderloins, with a little curling of fat which gives a wonderfully succulent and delicious cut that added zing. The Lokum steak is a seared fillet – again three cuts and in recognition of its name really is a Turkish delight – sweet and tender. The beef in both dishes just melts in your mouth, and I can truly see how he has garnered such a huge following. Both dishes are each heftily priced at AED350 giving Wolfgang Puck’s Cut a run for its money, but with the portions so generous you can easily share.

A side order of triple-cooked chips would benefit from a little more crispiness. Al dente Brussels sprouts are mixed with diced veal bacon – a quirky and well-executed accompaniment.

Nusret spaghetti steak - Dubai restaurantsNusret's pistachio baklava - Dubai restaurants

The pistachio baklava is Nusr-Et’s signature dessert and slices are served straight from the baking dish. This is no ordinary baklava though. Our waiter literally sandwiches a layer of Turkey’s famed vanilla ice-cream from Gaziantep (made with goat’s milk and sans eggs), amongst the coarsely ground pistachios and slivers of filo pastry. Crunchy, crispy, velvety and not too sweet, baklava is usually decadent and heavy, but there’s a lightness to this version, it’s one dessert worthy of any bucket list.

On a Thursday evening at 8pm until we leave near 11pm, Nusr-Et with its solid, utilitarian wooden tables and leather-backed chairs is completely and utterly bursting at the seams – interestingly bar us, with solely Arab expats and Emiratis – and there’s a wonderful ‘market’ vibe (note, I returned past midnight, and past a few Pisco Sours at neighbouring Coya to take the photo above). Service from what appears to be an all-Turkish cast is a little abrupt, yet very swift and slick – but we don’t feel rushed at all. Sadly though getting a reservation involved hours of constant calling with no one picking up the phone – eventually 24 hours later some soul did – unacceptable.

A price per person of AED515 and upwards without vino (a Californian Syrah wine, Renegade goes for AED490 and that’s on the lower end of the wine list) makes Nusr-Et one of Dubai’s most expensive restaurants competing not only with Cut as I indicated earlier, but Pierre Gagnaire’s Reflets and Pierchic – and yet the dining experience here is super casual. Does it offer value for money? With generous portions of excellent food, a delightful buzz, and reasonably good service, for sure it does – but at that price Nusr-Et becomes a special occasion restaurant for most of us, or else one for those with expense accounts and deep pockets. Given stiff competition, I am not convinced there’s room in this segment long-term once the hype has died down, for what is essentially, a casual steakhouse. And for that instead of a high 4 out of 5 knives, I am dishing out a 3.5 FooDiva knife rating.

Would you pay so much for a steak given it’s probably one of the easiest dishes to cook at home? What’s your favourite steakhouse in Dubai?

A bientôt.

FooDiva. x

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 3.5
  • Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Beach (next to Dubai Ladies Club)
  • +971 4 4074100
  • Steakhouse, Turkish
  • Yes
  • AED 515 per person
  • Open daily 12noon - midnight
  • Posted under
    Dubai, Hotels, Jumeirah, Licensed, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants, Steakhouse, Turkish

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23 Responses to “Nusr-Et – an expensive cut of steak in Dubai”

  1. JayEim February 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    WooHoo……Argentina eat your cows out.

    Now we have a Turkish steak house…..anytime soon we’ll have Turkish Peruvian thingy (insert here some unpronounceable name) and low and behold all rise for the incoming of Turkish Tapas and Turkish Curry House…..Dohhhh!

    I suppose we are to expect anytime soon Austrian restaurant offering Iman Bayaldi and Vienese Dolmas!

    When I was 16 yo, I use to eat loads of Mille-feuille, surely this qualifies me today to compete with Pierre Hermé and start my Patisserie on Via Condotti….Dbl Dohhhhh.

    And what’s with the Pisco Sour…it must be the new Prosecco.

    A steak is a steak for crying out loud. You can sing When the Saints Go Marching In ( to the cows and give them a diet of Foie Gras and massage by Sumo wrestlers… will still be a Steak!?!?!(*^% with or without a marinade of Crystal bubly and Alba Truffles with a sprinkling of Zaafaran……Don’t mess up with my steak plueasse!

    And if some still call Istambul = Constantinople, some, even more, still call Gaziantep = Entab

    “Oh Lord I want to be in that number when the Saints Go Marching In”

    • FooDiva February 23, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      I am rolling with laughter as per usual Jay. For some reason this town thinks a steakhouse is a license for wacking up menu prices as high as Burj Khalifa. But what is even scarier is how busy Nusr-Et is – whereas Pierre Gagnaire’s Reflets which really deserves those high prices given the tremendous culinary skill in creating his dishes will only fill the restaurant on occasion. We clearly are not the norm in Dubai.

  2. Johann Z February 23, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Being carnivorous and a fan of good steaks – I will have to try this out but it will probably be a one off visit in view of the stratospheric prices you have mentioned.

    • FooDiva February 23, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      A special occasion restaurant for sure Johann. Also try Prime68 if you haven’t already – mind you they have a Dhs700 Blackmore 9+ rib-eye so be warned 😉

  3. Dave Reeder February 23, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London: three course lunch, two glasses of wine, water and coffee for 55 pounds. Dubai is having a laugh these days…

    • GA February 23, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      I am with Dave on this one, every review and everything I have heard about The Four Seasons has been about the pricing in all their outlets being over the top. I heard it is 45 AED for a coffee in their coffee shop. They won’t be getting any of my hard earned cash that’s for sure. For steak I like West 14th, but to be honest with you there are too many to choose from. Its a dish that is easy to cook at home and you can buy a really good cut of steak from Prime Gourmet and do it yourself.

      • FooDiva February 23, 2015 at 10:05 pm

        I love West 14th too, it’s my go-to affordable steakhouse…and you get vino! Agree with you on Prime Gourmet too Debbie 🙂

    • FooDiva February 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      That really puts it into perspective doesn’t it Dave?! Some restaurants here are laughing all the way to the bank.

  4. IshitaUnblogged February 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I had been curious about Nusr-et, specially after Debbie had met the man and what she had to say about the man. It is too expensive really to be a casual steakhouse. I wouldn’t mind spending that kind of money at Pierchic or Reflet though. May be I will take up the PR invite lol!

    • FooDiva February 23, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      Nusr-Et is a wonderful experience that pretty much ticks all the boxes, but I agree, given the choice at that price level I would head to Reflets instead. With its menu changing so often, every dinner there is a magical meal.

  5. The Man in the White Hat February 28, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    A bit late to the party, but…

    Between Coya and now Nusr-Et, the Four Seasons isn’t really going for the affordable night out end of the licenced Dubai restaurant market, is it?

    Not sure if there were as many expensive cars with three digits or less in their number plates when you were there as there were during my Coya visit, but even conceding that (in my admittedly limited experience) the food is generally really good, at these prices I wonder how sustainable their Restaurant Village is in the long term. They’ve surely priced themselves out of a constant flow of repeat customers in any real volume, which makes me think that they’re either consciously dependent on tourists and business visitor trade, or are deliberately planning to churn through the next round of on-trend outlets every 2-5 years, relying on good marketing to bring in customers to the new outlets as the old outlets fade away and close.

    Maybe I’m being overly cynical, but I just don’t see how they can make this work otherwise; not at those prices, anyway – not given local demographics.

    • FooDiva March 2, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      All the restaurants in the ‘Restaurant Village’ are contracted out and not operated by Four Seasons. I don’t think that’s a bad thing as they clearly recognise their strength is in running hotels, leaving the restaurants to restaurateurs. I wish more hotels would follow their lead. It pains me to write this but I think we’re the minority Mr White Hat. Given how busy Coya and Nusret still are nearly three months into opening, there’s clearly a market for expensive, well executed food – whether that’s diners on expense accounts or affluent Emiratis, Arab or western expats. In all fairness these operators have shown they can indeed run restaurants given the ongoing success of Zuma and La Petite Maison. Time will tell…

  6. Helen March 5, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Interesting ‘steak talk’ though I do not eat steaks and if I did, I will never spend that amount of money on a piece of meat!!!!
    On another note though, just for clarification, the Greek name Constantinople is the original name of this great city which was changed into Istanbul after the Turkish occupation!

    • FooDiva March 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Yes that’s why I referred to Constantinople given many Greeks still refer to the original name Helen 😉

    • Zeliha April 30, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      LOL! Turkish occupation??? This was really funny…

    • oguz goker February 17, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Turkish occupation :)) you aware istanbul is a turkish city since 1453 🙂

      i think we should talk about british occupation in london or german occupation on berlin 🙂

  7. Megesz Lek March 7, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Since we are on the topic of “turkish” steak house, i happened to visit another similar concept to Nusret in Dubai.
    The Place called Butcha and according to my Turkish friend, Nusret himself used to work for this Brand in Turkey as a butcher , apparently he learned his trade there.
    The restaurant is the opposite of Nusret when it comes to prices ,great steaks and great value for money. Basically you can get the same quality if not better for almost half price, why, because they are located at The Beach, near JBR.(note this is not the South African Butcher Shop and Grill on JBR walk) and they are not on a property of a hotel, therefore no wine list. They dry age their own meat in house, have their own butchery upstairs with their very own buthcers, not too many restaurant’s can afford to have their own butcher as they don’t cook, they only focus on the meat products. You can also buy many different products from their retail counter, all made in house. Steaks are grilled open flame in their show kitchen or open plan kitchen. If you dont want all the fine dining fuss and high prices but looking for a good steak, go and check it out. Truly worth it.

    • FooDiva March 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Oh wow thanks for the heads up Megesz. I was at The Beach today and didn’t see it. Where exactly? I’ll be honest if I am gonna eat steak, I want a glass of Shiraz with it 🙂

      • Megesz Lek March 8, 2015 at 1:19 am

        Hi Foodiva, you just need to look for a colorful life size cow at the entrance 🙂 but more accurately it is next to Cheesecake Factory. I’d suggest to fo on the weekend . I live near The Beach and it doesnt have much buzz or atmosphere during the week.
        I am afraid no wine , but you’ll enjoy the steak for sure…you can thank me later 😉
        The place is not on the waterfront side, its where that big round fountain is.

        I have written a more detailed review about the experience on Zomato if you want to know what to expect .

  8. Natasha April 20, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I was struck by FOMO; I couldn’t get a reservation at Nus.Ret which made it all the more imperative that I get in. I couldn’t understand how a spot with no publicity could get so packed and be so lackadasial about answering its phones. I also didn’t believe they were always full. Well, I went on a Monday at 7pm- and it was packed. I managed to get a spot on the counter; the decor, service and pricing (wow!) didn’t endear me to the space. But then the meat came. I was won over. Despite having been back twice since, I don’t know whether to recommend this spot; it seems to have polarised opinion- but I have to say, the food itself is spectacular. I have eaten steak all over the world and when it comes to meat, this is the finest I have eaten in any establishment. I’ve worked my way through the menu; the lokum, spaghetti steak, rib of beef, carpaccio, burger, calamari, quinoa salad, pistachio ice cream baklava- and not had a dud dish yet. As an overall dining experience, I wouldn’t recommend it, but for a foodie who forgives everything when a divine dish is brought, I certainly would.

    • FooDiva April 23, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Your comment is a review in itself Natasha 🙂 I’ve only dined there the once, and would return (for the carpaccio alone)…at someone else’s expense though!

  9. no need July 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    1 starter 1 steak 1 glass wine 1 water

    i paid around 700 AED which is around 170 EUR ,,, do you know one of the best restaurant in the world which 3 michelin stars and over 20 dish will cost 190 EUR?

    seriously W*F!!!!

    • FooDiva July 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Indeed ridiculously expensive for a casual restaurant. I have just returned from Italy where I dined in many a Michelin starred restaurant with prices per head much less than what we have here. Sadly the food import costs drive prices up here, as does the alcohol of course. When you take into account a waiter’s average salary including housing allowance, visa costs etc, labour is not cheap here either.

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