S.T.A.Y is one of Lebanon's latest fine dining addresses located in Souks of Beirut. The word S.T.A.Y is an abbreviation for Simple Table Alleno Yannick, a many times Michelin star awarded French chef.
The dinner started with a very tasty amuse gueule; small bread and sesame bread sticks. They were very nice, soft where needed and crunchy where needed. As a first impression, it's a total success. The restaurant decoration is very nice and wide and tables perfectly positioned to leave every group with a certain feeling of privacy. Ceiling is covered with a reflective mirror giving an impression of floating in space. I appreciated the table setting - the silver and small cutlery, the white dressing table, the plates... especially the decoration at the center of the table. I also liked the square butter presented with a fine small silver knife. After taking the order, we were served a wide choice of crunchy fresh bread in a basket with the finest local olive oil (Zejd) from Aakar (North Lebanon) presented in a closed bottle on the table. The warm bread dipped in that oil was a total success as well.
We ordered a nice french bottle of wine, Chateau la Croix du Duc, Bordeaux 2009, to accompany our meat dishes. At S.T.A.Y, I enjoyed some of the finest crafted and perfectly decorated plates, starting by the foie gras with a sweet fresh brioche delicately cut in circles followed by homemade ravioli adequately cooked and floating in a mousse. I liked it... Plus I loved the idea of serving some of the meat dishes in a metallic rustic casserole. As for desserts, they are supposed to be their specialty since they are prepared live, by the minute and served on long snake like shapes of a meter and half a meter, each serving a mix of five and ten different choices on individual holders made to be taken and positioned in front of your eyes. Unfortunately the desserts were a bit too creamy and too sophisticated making you forget about the most important part: TASTE. Everyone at our table agreed that they didn't like the desserts. They missed the taste, that sharpness of taste, the capability of feeling every ingredient separately. They are so complicated that you spend your time chasing the pieces inside the plate.
What I loved about it:
- A professional French head waiter taking care of the smallest details and the order as well.
- A nice big white lighted chesterfield covered, dessert bar in the middle of the restaurant with two chefs crafting live pieces of art.
- The speed of serving.
- An amazing plates presentation.
- Very fresh ingredients.
- Wine glasses are crystal glass and finely thin, a very few restaurants in town offers this privilege.
- Professional high quality meat knifes
Unacceptable things in the restaurant hosted by a Starred Chef:
- A menu printed on a piece of paper.
- Waiters cloths are not up to this restaurant's standards.
- Very bad and inappropriate music playing the background, which gets unbearably higher after 11pm. It was s unacceptable and very noisy for a fine dining restaurant.
What do I think honestly: S.T.A.Y is a very nice restaurant that I would rank in my top five list in Lebanon, but unfortunately not at number one. S.T.A.Y should be the first and best with Yanick Alenno in the kitchen but it misses something. It misses the ability to make you want to come back. It misses a touch, a taste, a kind of professionalism somewhere.