Smith & Wollensky

Smith & Wollensky overall score: 85

HOLY SHIT!  THIS IS THE 50th STEAKHOUSE I’VE REVIEWED! I’ve been here once before, but that was before I started doing reviews. I remember thinking it was in my short list of favorites at the time, so I needed to come back and give it the old once-over, JP style. The verdict: not quite as incredible as I remember, but still a solid dining experience.

Flavor: 8
The flavor here was good but it lacked a little seasoning or salt. My rib eye was cooked nicely, but there definitely was a little bit of bleed-out – like that time of the month when broads start to bleed from their vadges. I think if there was more crust or char on the meat, the juices would’ve been sealed in better. They definitely let the meat rest properly before serving, so they got it mostly right. They DO have a steak sauce here that they pop on the table after you order your food, but it tasted more like a BBQ sauce to me. Perhaps good on chicken, but it would fuck up a good steak, in my opinion.
28oz Bone-In Colorado Rib Steak
28oz Bone-In Colorado Rib Steak

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The selection here is all prime, and dry-aged in house – so it is nice quality. You can taste that in the natural flavor, and that might be why they are light on the seasoning. Some places don’t want to tarnish the purity of a nice cut. They have five different styles of filet, four of which come in two sizes. They have single sirloin cuts in two sizes AS WELL AS a sirloin for two and a NY sirloin (strip). Then there’s the Colorado rib steak, a Cajun marinated rib steak, a prime rib, and a porterhouse for two. Last, they have “sliced steak Wollensky” in two sizes as well, which is another sirloin of some kind. That’s a lot of fucking beef to choose from.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

My steak was 28oz, bone-in. That’s a good-sized slab of meat on the bone – like Lexington Steele. I didn’t ask about the sizes of the other cuts. I’m sorry about that, assholes. Plating was basic steakhouse styling.

Price: 8

Prices here range from $45 to $54 for proper cuts of steak. The Colorado rib steak, which I had, came in on the higher side of that range at $53. It’s a bit high compared to other joints. Was it worth the money? Well… I guess. I can say yes if you are a purist. If you are like me, though, and sometimes you want a little crust on your steak, then you might be better off elsewhere for this price range. I did think the crab claw was over-priced, though it was delicious. I was hoping for a little more than one claw – like maybe an entire crab.
William Price
William Price
Bar: 8
The bar here is nice, and it reminded me of Keen’s a little, though not quite as incredible. It has an old feel, it smells like a bar, and the bartender is fancied up with some nice attire and even has an Irish accent. The martini was made perfectly, and came with three unpitted castelvetrano olives instead of your normal bullshit cocktail olives. Very nice – almost worth the $14 you pay for it (before tax & tip). I will be honest though – I hate NYC’s east side, bottom to top, but especially midtown. I never hang out there, and I most likely wouldn’t go there just for the bar unless I lived in that area (which I would never do). So there you have it.
bar

Specials and Other Meats: 8

Our waiter didn’t read us any specials, so I was assuming there were none… until we overheard another waiter take a surf & turf order. I have a feeling my wife might have ordered that had we known about it. It wasn’t on the menu if it was a special – I’ll chalk that up to a service mishap. For other meats, they had braised short rib, lamb chops (which my wife ordered), roasted veal chops, and lemon pepper chicken. The lamb chops were thick and juicy, and cooked nicely – not too gamy. They came with an utterly horrific mint jelly (on the side, thank God), which tasted like melted mint gumdrops – those big, granulated sugar covered ones that you get from a crystal candy dish at your dead grandmother’s house. Mildly reminiscent of tooth paste. Fuck that shit.
lamb
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 7
To start, I had the colossal Florida stone crab, which to my dismay was just a claw and not a full crab. It was absolutely delicious though. My wife had the famous split pea soup, which was very smooth and tasty, but ultimately nothing to rave about. On the side we had creamed spinach. I had heard good things about it here, but I wasn’t impressed. I prefer a leafier creamed spinach in general, but I am not opposed to the pureed type. Here it was pureed, but I thought it lacked punch. It was nice when you slathered it on your meat and took a combo bite though. For dessert we shared a disappointing slice of the bourbon pecan pie. The nutty top part was nice, but the inside was a little too gelatinous and fake tasting. It just didn’t compare to the walnut pecan pie at Sparks.
pie

Seafood Selection: 10

There is a ton of seafood here. In addition to a full array of shellfish and regular fish for cold apps (tuna tartare, clams, oysters, shrimp, crab claws, crab cakes, lump crab meat, lobster, towers and plateaus), they also had a solid fish selection for entrees. Three to thirteen pound lobsters, or lobster tails by the ounce, plus a variety of preparations available for red snapper, king salmon, halibut, Dover sole, and Ahi tuna. There is even a special preparation of Dover Sole Meuniere. But seriously – three different crab apps available here?!?? I almost made some warm jellyfish in my pants. Our waiter told us that the seafood “bouquet” contained 12oz of lump crab meat (Is that a fucking mistake??!? That’s HUGE!), six jumbo shrimp, and lobster (I’m guessing half of a 1.5lb fucker). As I said above, the crab was awesome – just over-priced for a relatively small portion.
Colossal Florida Stone Crab Claw
Colossal Florida Stone Crab Claw

Service: 10

The service was great. Well – let me rephrase and elaborate. The hospitality was INCREDIBLE, but the service was just good. First the negatives – and these are very minor, mind you: (1) We weren’t told about the surf & turf item. (2) I WOULD have ordered a beer to go with my steak but the waiter was sort of unseen after he took our orders. I still had half of my martini from the bar when we sat. My wife ordered a glass of wine, but I wasn’t ever asked for a refresher on my drink. No biggie – it saved me $8. Now for the positives: (1) They didn’t charge us for the pecan pie dessert. It was “on the house” as a gift for my wife, since we let them know the dinner was to celebrate her birthday when we made the reservation. That was awesome – especially since we didn’t really like it all that much anyway. It even came with a candle on top. (2) They have a guy opening and holding the door for you on the way out, and he will even hail a cab for you. I thought this was nice and classy. (3) I was given a hot, damp towel after I finished my crab appetizer. Let’s see – what else… the table bread wasn’t warm, but it was tasty – and came with a good variety of stuff to pick at, like the crispy flat bread, raisin nut bread, Italian bread, pretzel bread, and some sesame seed rolls. The butter was a little too cold to spread on anything though.
Table Bread
Table Bread
Ambiance: 8
The wait staff are all dressed nicely – mainly men as far as I could tell – in suit jackets. The decor was that of a traditional steakhouse. It had exposed brick in some parts, and a cream/tan colored paint job on the others, with old photos and artwork hanging throughout. It reminded me of what Ben Benson was like – even down to the bull head meat sign hanging in the main dining room. The bathroom was nice and clean, all marble, with shelves of thick hand towels for drying. Apparently one guy found it nice enough to drop a deuce in there, because he was laying some underwater cable while I was taking a piss. I should have taken a picture of his pants wrapped around his ankles from under the stall door.

SMITH & WOLLENSKY
797 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10022

2 thoughts on “Smith & Wollensky”

    1. This is from S&W’s FB page:

      We have tried to take the high road and not comment on this matter, but given the inaccuracy of the story that has been released wanted to clarify with some words from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s press conference this afternoon. New York, NY (January 25, 2013) – The following statement is attributable to Smith & Wollensky New York City regarding the incident at our restaurant on Monday, January 21 involving Graziano Graziussi:We have been in business in New York City for over 35 years and normally, it is our policy to maintain our guests’ privacy on all matters. We do not contact the police in any matter involving our customers without significant cause. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly commented on the situation in his press conference this afternoon:“Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the 43-year-old lawyer from Naples did have a wallet with $118, but refused to hand it over. Graziussi claimed not to speak English, but a patrol supervisor who responded to the scene was fluent in Italian and was able to translate. He conducted the interview and determined that the individual simply did not want to pay.”–From Ray Kelly’s news feedhttp://newyork.cbslocal.com/tag/police-commissioner-ray-kelly/feed/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *