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Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Wolfgang’s overall score: 85

This place has been on my list of must-do steakhouses since the list began. I’m a little ashamed that I hadn’t gone until just last night. I don’t know what the fuck took me so long to get my ass over here, but, in any case, it finally happened. Here’s what I thought:

Flavor: 8

My wife and I tried two steaks. First, we shared the bone-in rib eye.

We both remarked that this was cooked perfectly the whole way through, with a great crust all around.

There was just a bit of seasoning missing. Perhaps just a little more salt would have bumped this up a bit. 7/10.

The second steak we tried was the porterhouse.

This baby was good. The filet side was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the strip side was full of powerful dry-aged funk. The filet side had less character than the strip side, and the strip side had more tooth to each bite.

Served in the Luger style, the Wolfgang’s porterhouse comes out broiled on the top of the steak only, with the bottom being in contact with the sizzling hot plate. While they were judicious on the use of butter (not too much, thankfully), I do prefer my steaks broiled or seared on both sides. In any case, this was a really good rendition of that style, and it was cooked expertly to medium rare throughout. 8/10.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 8

You’ve got porterhouse, strip, filet and rib eye here. The basics. All of the beef comes from the midwest and is aged in-house, and it’s all USDA prime grade.

Portion Size & Plating: 8

Portions here are in line with what you might expect at all the major midtown steakhouses, and the plating is standard as well. Nothing fancy.

Price: 8

The prices here vary from the $50-$60 range per person, which has become pretty much standard for the area. Not bad when you consider that they are nailing the cook temps here, and putting out some good grub.

Bar: 10

This bar is iconic. The arched ceiling throughout the restaurant really gives you the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time, to the old days of dank, dimly lit taverns. I was actually shocked to learn that they only opened in 2004. I was almost expecting something like the 1920’s.

The cocktails are great too. We tried “The Black Manhattan” and a standard gin martini. Both expertly made.

Specials and Other Meats: 7

There were no specials read to us, but then again we were pretty much dead set on what we were going to order anyway. That may have signaled to the waiter that he didn’t need to get into it with us. In any case, the only other meat available here is lamb. Fuck that other nonsense anyway. I respect that. Unfortunately, though, for scoring purposes, that means I have to take some points.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

We started with a round of littleneck clams and oysters on the half shell. Both were tasty and fresh, cleanly shucked and void of debris and odors. The clams come eight to an order, which is nice. The oysters, six.

We also had a slab of their bacon.

I’m happy to report that this blows away Luger’s bacon, which is always fucking burnt. This was nice and thick, rendered well, crisp and meaty.

On the side, we had two types of spinach: sautéed and creamed. The creamed spinach is my favorite style – “creamless” creamed spinach. So velvety and buttery. That was the better of the two, but both are definitely up to snuff.

For dessert, we shared a slice of pecan pie with schlag. Very nice. Hot and sweet. The schlag was a good balance to the pie. Without it, it would’ve been too sweet.

Seafood Selection: 8

There’s sea bass, salmon, tuna and lobster on the menu. These seem to be industry standard in the steakhouse world. Occasionally you see swordfish, or some shrimp scampi preparations from time to time.

Service: 10

The servers here are all awesome, and everyone – the bartenders, the hostesses, the managers – is really looking out for you. I loved it. Classic style on the wait staff, bowties and all.

Ambiance: 10

As I mentioned above in the bar area, this place is absolutely iconic. The arched ceilings can cause the room to get pretty loud when the place is crowded though, so make sure you expect that going in. I didn’t mind it at all. It felt welcoming.

WOLFGANG’S STEAKHOUSE
4 Park Ave
New York, NY 10016

Blu on Park

Blu on Park overall score: 90

NOTE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLOSED

This joint just opened up on 60th Street, just east of Park (not actually ON Park, but close enough). Owner Amir is having a great first few weeks after opening, with a packed house on most nights. Chef Russell slings the food here, after doing a 12 year stint at The Boathouse in Central Park. Impressive.

Flavor: 10
I ate here with my wife, sister in law and brother in law, so we got to try a good amount of food. For our steaks, we went with a 40oz tomahawk rib eye for two, as well as a porterhouse for two. Let me first discuss the tomahawk:

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This fucker was cooked perfectly. You can see that nice bright pink medium rare awesomeness  stretch from end to end. The crust had ample and robust seasoning, which was kept simple to course salt and cracked pepper. Even the far end of the fat cap was still a perfect medium rare; I was really impressed with that.

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The porterhouse was similarly pro-executed. In fact, in the first few bites, we couldn’t readily identify which side was which between the filet and the strip – THAT’S how tender the strip side was!

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On second glance it’s clear that the top is strip and the bottom is filet, but the filet side was quite generous.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
Blu offers two sizes of filet, two sizes of rib eye, multiple sizes of porterhouse and a strip. Everything is aged for about 28 days (with the exception of the filet) and is prime quality. These babies come from Master Purveyors in the Bronx. I’m familiar with their products and I can tell you they are top notch.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portions are all generous here, from apps on up the chain to entrees and desserts. The plating is simple and elegant, no fuss.

Price: 8
The prices here seem to be on par with other steakhouses in the area. It was a hefty bill, but I didn’t feel ripped off. In fact, it was the opposite: I was really happy with the meal and was happy to fork over money for a well-worth-it meal.

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Bar: 8
This place puts up some really great cocktails, and it has a killer selection of scotches, like Ardbeg Uigeadail – a super smoky and peat-infused islay whisky.

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The bar is a beautiful black quartz topped stretch that is clean and chic, with gorgeous high tops and seating nearby.

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Definitely a cool place to hang out, especially with cocktail napkins like these – haha!

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Specials and Other Meats:7
There were no specials just yet, as the joint is pretty much brand new! The only other selection aside from beef was veal – the rest is seafood. I don’t mind that one bit – it’s just one spot where I need to deduct some points.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We tried some oysters and the beef carpaccio for starters. Both were incredible. The oysters were west coasters that were meaty, clean and crisp:

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The carpaccio was filet that was sliced thin and topped with some watercress greens, meyer lemon, crispy fried artichokes and shaved cheese. Great way to prime up for more meat.

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For sides, we went with creamed spinach, whipped potatoes and roasted king oyster mushrooms. Let’s start with the best – the mushrooms.

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I typically pass on mushroom sides at steakhouses because they generally seem to be a huge waste of money. They’re usually some crappy-ass button mushrooms that are overly buttery and mixed with onions. They may taste fine, but I can do that at home for $3. Here, the king oyster mushrooms, first off, are expensive and more rare. Second, they’re meaty and earthy, a great compliment to a piece of steak. They roast them with garlic here and they come out absolutely perfect. Third/last, at just $12 I find this to be a great buy. I’ve seen these ‘shrooms go for $24-$32/lb in some grocery stores. They also offer these “unsliced” and with a few other sides as a main, vegan option entree. Great idea.

The creamed spinach was a bit lacking for me, but my wife and I both agreed that we enjoyed the texture, which was broken up here and there with some crispness.

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The mashed potatoes, which I didn’t photograph, were creamy and smooth, but they were nothing to necessarily write home about. When I visit again, I’ll stick with the mushrooms and maybe try the french fries instead.

For dessert we shared a key lime pie that was more like a layer cake than pie. My wife and I really enjoyed the change-up for this dish. The cake had an almost nutty quality, with the texture of carrot cake. It came with a scoop of coconut sorbet that was really icy and mild – not too sweet.

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The manager, Carlos, was a real gentleman. He sent over a complimentary glass of after dinner dessert port for each of us, as well as a follow up reception at the bar with glasses of champagne and a cheese platter! We were blown away.

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If you lack a sweet tooth, like I sometimes do, then this cheese plate is the way to go. The blue cheese on there is incredible! Especially when you mix bites alongside the fig cake.

Seafood Selection: 10
There’s a shitload of awesome, fresh fish on the menu. Salmon, branzino, sea bass, tuna and lobster all grace the menu in entree format. The apps are chock full of shellfish offerings (as mentioned above), and the plateau selections looked amazing.

Service: 10
I already mentioned Carlos’ amazing hospitality above, but I have to say that everyone here is great. All the way from owner to management, from front to back and the bar in between. Our waiter, Johnny, was a real gent (nice name too). And everyone was dressed really nice and sharp – waiters had nice suits with bow ties, and the table service was highly attentive without being in-your-face all the time. Well done guys!

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The bread was warm and fresh – olive stick or white dinner roll – and the butter was soft and easily spreadable.

Ambiance: 9
Amir has curated an absolutely incredible renovation from what was once a Chinese food restaurant and an office space into a really elegant and inviting two-floor steak joint. The downstairs is perfect for hanging out and sipping cocktails. Up a half a floor is a nice small dining area with a fireplace and high ceilings, with impressive wine shelving all over the walls.

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Then up another half level is a long stretch of beautiful dining space that overlooks a huge full-front-of-the-building window and nicely painted exposed brick walls. There’s even a small private dining room that can probably seat about 20 for events.

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GREAT new spot. Check it out and tell them I sent  you.

BLU ON PARK
116 E. 60th St.
New York, NY 10022