UPDATE 31.03.2019: I spent a lot of time in Frankfurt recently, staying at a hotel within 5mins walking distance from another Block House. As I’m also currently trying to move towards a keto diet, I ate at Block House about one dozen times over the past few months. Presuming the quality of Frankfurt Block Houses is similar to each other, I upgrade my rating from 2.5 to 3 out of 5. Half the time the steak was prepared extremely well (due to the fact that the meat was decent quality, but nothing special, the overall taste was just good, not special), 40% of the time it was slightly above average. 10% of the time it was slightly below average. You can watch the people in the kitchen prepare the food, and there were clear visible differences between the preparation of good steaks and average steaks. The good steaks all involved the staff pouring water over the steak while they were grilling it and they paid much closer attention to the preparation, spending more time moving and turning it.
Located directly next to the tube station exit West End in Frankfurt’s wealthy eponymous neighbourhood, this branch of Block House was my choice tonight for dinner.
I will be upfront, the Barbarians do not even usually like chains (there are 50 Block House branches in Germany and abroad today, the group owns many more restaurants, hotels, and other businesses), and one thing we will never like is chains that literally strive to mimic McDonald’s success model but adopt it for full-service restaurants, as Block House do.
When I entered the building, I knew I was not going to fall in love with this place, so it’s a bit unfair on them, I admit. However, I would like to think I kept an open mind about what was going to expect me. I was hoping that the food would be somewhat pleasant, the service great, I was willing to give this place a caveated good review, well, CAVEATED in capital letters, but still.
However, I did not succeed. As soon as you sit down on your very basic seat at the way too low table and study the menu, you get the strong feeling that the prices are absolutely not in line with what’s on offer here. €25 for a steak at a place with no table cloth that exudes the dull atmosphere of the all-inclusive buffet bar restaurant at hotel El Ranchero III on Ibiza? Really?
The brown shrimp salad as a starter for €8.30 sounded ok. Beef ribs were on special this month for €17.70 with a tiny tad of coleslaw and sweet potato fries. I ordered them. To finish it all off, I had New York cheese cake for €4.10.
I would rank each course 2.5 out of 5 for “decent, but not particularly good”. However, considering the fact that if you shop around you can have a beautiful dinner at a real restaurant for that type of money, I’m only willing to give it 2 out of 5.
Their huge success is a mystery to me. Then again, McDonald’s has been raking it in for decades. System catering works. Not for the clients, but certainly for the owners. It worries me that plenty of people seem to think of Block House outlets as actual restaurants. Next on my list of places-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-but-will-eventually-blog-about: Maredo Steak House. I’ve had a few meals at different outlets of theirs over the years, and they are probably slightly worse than Block House. For every one of these outlets a real, often owner-operated, restaurant with a unique style of cooking of their own and with real people behind it had to die.