'A modern Czech canteen'- that is how Čestr describes themselves. It's accurate, but from another perspective, Čestr is so much more. Čestr is the new tradition of Czech beef with a modern flair, served alongside famously fresh, crisp Pilsner Urquell lager.
The remarkableness of Čestr doesn’t necessarily come from novelty, but from a deep understanding of simplicity, stripping Czech cuisine back to the essentials of quality ingredients and good beef. And simplicity leaves no room for mistakes.
Finally, after hearing much to do about this steak house and sampling their smaller sister butcher shop Naše Maso, we headed to Čestr, albeit with high expectations. And our expectations were not let down in the slightest; everything was better than we imagined.
Čestr specializes in cuts of beef from a Czech breed which is also called Čestr, or the ‘Český strakatý skot’, the Czech spotted cow. This breed is known for their nicely marbled muscle, which has just recently made a comeback in Czech kitchens. The cows are bought from certified breeders, and Čestr supervises many aspects of the cow’s farm life, from its feed to slaughter. The meat is then butchered and aged by Čestr’s carefully trained chefs, specifically with the aim that not a single piece be wasted.
Serving an extensive array of finely butchered steaks, their menu is complete with a diagram showing exactly which part of the cow each cut of beef comes from. Most steaks can be ordered in 150 or 250 gram portions. We ordered an entrecôte and strip loin, both cooked to perfection at medium rare, juicy and tender.
The menu changes according to season, offering different sides and different appetizers, but employing traditional elements of Czech cuisine with a refined modern twist. They always offer one seasonal daily menu item. We found their sashimi of beef tenderloin with saké, apple marmelade, and mirin absolutely delectable. As for sides, their French fries are no ordinary potatoes. While not being the crispiest of fries but freshly cut, they’re deliciously buttery and salty. One could argue that their mashed potatoes are the best in Prague, and surely must contain a horrifically wonderful amount of butter.
As for beer, the same famous ice cold, impeccable Pilsner that put Local on the map is served here as well. The wine list is impressive, with a classy selection of the best of Czech wines as well as wines from Italy, France, and Austria.
To end your dining experience, the desserts are no less enticing or well made than their predecessors. Stuffed dough buns (dukátové buchtičky), rhubarb tart, and our favorite, the chocolate chili cake with peanut ice cream, was particularly divine. All ice cream is made in house too.
The interior is modern, simple, and Czech. From the wooden motif decorating the table tops and entrance, to the illuminated roof tiles and plates all adorned with a modern take on the definitively Czech ‘cibulák’ pattern, Čestr is alive and proud of their cuisine. In the back, you’ll notice their windowed butcher room, where all their meat is butchered, aged, and ready for your plate or to take home. An army of well trained waiters bustle about, and service is brisk but friendly.
If you’re interested in buying high quality meat like that which is served at Čestr or having a gourmet Czech style deli lunch, we highly recommend visiting their Dlouhá butcher shop, Naše Maso. Čestr is located on Legerová near Muzeum. Take metro A or B, and it’s just a 3 minute walk the National Museum.
|Pilsner Urquell||12°||Pilsner Urquell||Lager|