Jonny Edbrooke gets the lowdown on a new meat-centric place in District 2 that’s outside the expat zone of Thao Dien, Meat Me Wood Fire Steakhouse.

Song Ha Street, on the other side of the Hanoi Highway from Thao Dien, is starting to come alive, and the carnivoursly-named Meat Me is one of the first Western restaurants to open there.

With the infamous Donald Berger, of Don’s Hanoi fame, setting up the menu, we expected something pretty good, and we weren’t disappointed.

This cosy establishment, as its name implies, is mainly about meat, and damn good meat at that.

Simply decorated with wood-paneled walls and flooring adds to the warm and inviting steakhouse feel.

The open kitchen greets you next to the main dining room, with a small private room to the side and a larger room upstairs for private functions.

The menu is varied, as long as you like meat with sets, which are great value, all the way up to a 1 kilo tomahawk Australian wagyu rib steak.

Welcomed by the Don himself we sat down for our appetizer, oysters from Chef’s Creek in British Columbia, a delicious start to the meal, full of flavour with a bit of crunch and just the right amount of brine, well worth its price tag of VND95,000 apiece.

Next was one on the non-meat dishes, we went for Canadian Atlantic lobster baked with cheese thermidor at VND1,298,000. The lobster was delicious, perfectly cooked with the cheese not overpowering the taste of the crustacean.

The other non-meat dish on the menu is tea-smoked Faroe Islands salmon with onions, capers, dill, cream cheese and grain bread crips, at VND198,000 per 100 grams.

We hit the set menus next, wanting to try a selection.

We started with a 200 gram Australian grass-fed ribeye and 200 gram Australian lamb chops (trimmed of excess fat). Both come with the soup of the day, herb cheese toast, baked garlic cloves and a choice of Phu Quoc pepper or Bourdeaux red wine sauce.

Now where Meat Me really stands out from other steakhouses is in the cooking. Both the steak and the lamb chops were cooked to absolute perfection over a wood-fired barbecue, with the fragrant smoke from the walnut in the pit adding an extra rich flavour.

The wine list is extensive, we opted (actually Don recommended) the Montes Alpha chardonnay for our starters and a MaryLuz pinot noir for the meat.

Meat Me hasn’t forgotten its smaller customers, with a kids’ menu featuring favourites such as cheeseburger and fries, sliced steak with mash, “chicken-fried” beefsteak and fries, with each dish coming in at VND70,000VND.

Hopefully we will see more quality restaurants over on the other side of the highway.

For now, all I need is for someone to build a pedestrian overpass over the highway to I can get back to Meat Me more quickly.

82 Song Hanh, An Phu Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
www.facebook.com/meatmevietnam