When your American friend states that she’s never had a steak here in the UK that compares to the one she had at Smith & Wollensky in Chicago, you book a table and put that bold claim to the test.
So that’s how we found ourselves sipping American-sized (read: much bigger) martinis at the gorgeous Smith & Wollenksy art-deco inspired bar on a Monday night. It’s a gorgeous space, all wood panels, brass and leather – part of the historic Grade II-listed Adelphi Building and a stone’s throw from Covent Garden. It’s been decked out by the same guy who did the original Ivy FYI, and special vintage touches abound, like a framed old US flag, minus a few stars.
Aside from the fact I needed to try this extraordinary steak, we were also here ahead of the very exciting news that Smith & Wollensky are launching the inaugural National Steak Day on Thursday 25th April 2019. With the amount of food & drink days that go around – National Cereal Day anyone? I didn’t even make that up, 7th March if you’re interested – you’d have thought that National Steak Day already existed but alas, it didn’t – until now.
Founder Nathan Evans has recruited the best steak restaurants and brands to sign up to support the day – all of whom will be offering 25% off at least one steak on their menu on Thursday 25th April, or have a special menu with added value for the customer. That’s, YOU! Hurrah!
No but really, when you think that some of the extra special steaks at Smith & Wollensky are £60+, this is a really exciting way of getting your hands on one at a much more reasonable price.
Head to www.thenationalsteakday.com to check out participating restaurants and the special menus as well as downloading the 25% off vouchers.
Back to the steak in question…
We started with their signature iceberg wedge salad which Lisa had told me she was going to order before we’d even arrived. Supporting a generous dollop of blue cheese dressing, pieces of smoked bacon lardons and some tomato for balance, it’s a dish to make even the most ardent salad dodger think again. Trying my best to eat something other than meat before the main course arrived I opted for a bucket of juicy shrimp – seared and marinated in chilli.
But make no mistake, we were here for the steak. The menu pits Irish cuts against the US varieties, all of which are cut by hand by their on-site butcher to make sure things are just so. Charred properly in their broiler (not so uncommon in the states but more of a rarity to see here), meat is dry aged in a special chamber below the restaurant. My USDA fillet was pretty damn perfect with its rare gradient pink meat and perfect crust. Meanwhile all 600g of the USDA prime signature bone-In rib-eye arrived like a comedy steak from a dinosaur. You’re not going to leave S&W hungry.
The wine list is extensive, with show-off bottles going up to £3,000. If you’re stuck, Smith & Wollensky’s own-blend red from Napa Valley is as you’d expect, the perfect steak pairing. Priced at £75, it’s certainly at the more affordable end of the menu (although there is a handy section of their faves under £60 too).
A wedge of chocolate cake so big Roald Dahl’s Bruce Bogtrotter may have even thought twice, arrived with an urn of whipped cream and a cow shaped chocolate biscuit for good measure. To be fair it is supposed to serve 2-4 people and admitting defeat, we take the remnants home with us.
Look, this place ain’t cheap – it smacks of expense accounts and special occasions – in fact it might even have been one of the most expensive steaks I’ve ever eaten at £65. But was it good? My god was it good. Turns out Lisa was right all along.
Don’t forget National Steak Day is your chance to try this steak and a whole heap of other gorgeous specimens at a very generous 25% off.
Date: Thursday 25 April