To ring in the new year, TGI Fridays in the United Kingdom is offering vegans a brand new menu item that’s sure to turn some meat eaters’ heads. For any non-meat eaters wishing they could enjoy the experience of steak, but without consuming actual meat, the restaurant chain is serving up grilled Watermelon Steaks.
The restaurant takes a fresh watermelon and cuts it into steak-sized slices. Marinated in garlic and seasoned with a spicy sriracha blend, the watermelon slices are then chargrilled to create a steak-like texture and aesthetic.
Available now at TGI Fridays locations throughout the UK, the dish is served with crispy seasoned fries and roasted vegetables as well as a creamy avocado sauce and Friday’s iconic glaze.
A few years back, a restaurant in New York City created a viral dish they also called “Watermelon Steak” that followed a pretty similar concept. Wonder if that popularity will translate to Fridays’ new item?
TGI Fridays also launched a Vegan Stack Burger to give patrons more vegan options going into the new ’20s.
That’s what Foodbeast’s own Evan Lancaster had to say upon his first reaction to this mind-blowing “Watermelon Steak.” Found off-the-menu at Ducks Eatery in NYC’s East Village, chef Will Horowitz’s latest creation has sparked off an internet firestorm.
Horowitz’s “steak” has people talking because at first, it looks like a delicious, juicy roast. Then, as it’s carved into, the red hue of the watermelon tricks some into thinking that it’s an extremely undercooked piece of meat. Once they realize it’s actually fruit, several then lose their minds at the anomaly their brains just comprehended.
Here’s a few hilarious comments of those social media reactions:
Ducks Eatery is well known for their gourmet meats and small plate BBQ, but are no strangers to vegan meat recreations, either. They recently developed a cantaloupe burger that had folks buzzing as well.
When it comes to the Watermelon Steak, Chef Horowitz puts a TON of detail into creating one. He broke down the entire process step-by-step, and it shows just how much effort he puts into a single offering.
First, the melon’s rind is shaved off before the fruit is brined for four days in salt, ash, and spices. After that, the watermelon is smoked for eight hours, pan-roasted in its own juices with some rosemary, and carved up tableside.
Instagram user @brunchboys, aka Jeremey Jacobowitz, gave an elaborate description of how the visual and taste of the Watermelon Steak contrast to throw your mind for a loop.
“It’s such like a mindfuck, ’cause your brain wants to to think meaty and get that smokiness and saltiness. But then you go through it and it gets that sweetness of the watermelon.”
It’s insane just how much creativity and culinary ingenuity goes into this item. Horowitz’s wizardry has come with some haters, however. Several social media users lambasted the joint for its “New York vegan shit,” as one person put it.
To me, though, it’s intriguing to see a reputable smokehouse and meat-centric spot give the same approach to a fruit as they would a mouthwatering cut of meat. It’s the optical illusion paired with the combination of tastes that makes this such a buzz-worthy experience.
If you want to go to Ducks Eatery and get one of these for yourself, make sure to call the restaurant and let them know. They require advance notice if you wish to order a Watermelon Steak for the squad to marvel over.