I made my first trip to Smith & Wollenskys last night and wanted to report. I called around 4 p.m. yesterday and got an 8 pm. reservation. Not bad. Ive been to the NYC location often and always enjoyed it very much so my expectations were pretty high. It was *mobbed* when we got there. Our table wasnt ready so we were advised to head to the bar. The bar really cant accommodate the number of folks waiting. So that was a bit hairy, but the cocktail server was gracious and very competent. We waited about 15 minutes and were seated in the upstairs dining room.
I really liked the room. The NYC dining room is really bright and thankfully the Boston room has much better lighting and a warm atmosphere. Its got great high ceilings, nice color accents, and it didnt seem too loud. We were seated very comfortably in a corner so we had a great view of the room. After reading posts about the service I was sure to pay close attention to the service we received. I have one word: WONDERFUL. Im not kidding. We were delighted. There were four of us, all in jeans, and two in t-shirts. We werent certain how warmly wed be received if you know what I mean. If I were decked out in Prada they couldnt have treated me better. After we were seated the manager visited our table, apologized for the wait, and gave us a complimentary bottle of wine. The wine was the S&W cabernet, it was okay, free though so whos complaining? Our servers were attentive, pleasant, and able to answer all of our questions in great detail. We ordered another bottle of wine and the Sommelier stopped by to serve it and he was also very knowledgeable and pleasant.
We ordered appetizers; Salads, and shellfish. I had a Caeser and it wasnt so great. Too much dressing, and the dressing is pretty bland. It tasted like there were no anchovies in it. Pretty blah overall. The tomato and onion salad was wonderful. Very fresh and just the right amount of oil and vinegar. The shellfish was also excellent, standard cocktail sauce and wasabi.
We all had the same steak, a special that weve all had before at other locations, the Cajun spiced rib-eye. Its a nice bone-in rib-eye that is rubbed with mild Cajun spices. It was wonderful, cooked perfectly, and huge. My only complaint is that it is served on a plate with pan drippings or oil and that was very unnecessary and something I dont recall having in the past. In the future I will request that they skip that oily, dripping bit.
Sides were also very good. We had asparagus, hash browns, mushrooms, and creamed spinach. I loved the creamed spinach. The spinach is a much more pureed version that Im used to. It tasted very fresh and wasnt overly creamed. Its a wonderfully smooth treat. The mushrooms are a medley of white, portabella, shitake, crimini. They were adequate. I really prefer them at Abe & Louies as they are much heartier. The asparagus was also very good, cooked so its only slightly tender, which is my preference. I didnt have any hash browns but everyone was loving them.
If you can believe it we even had dessert. We ordered the crème brule trio; pumpkin, vanilla, and chocolate. We also ordered chocolate cake and coconut cake. Everything was served with fresh whip cream that was really good. The crème brule was okay, not amazing but adequate. I really liked the chocolate cake. It looked like it was going to be really heavy but it wasnt and it had a wonderful devils food cake taste. Im not much of a chocolate aficionado so Im not able to describe it real well. I didnt try the coconut cake but it was the first thing devoured at the table and all seemed to greatly enjoy it. If you order the chocolate cake you should know that its a 2 ½ lb piece of cake. Most of it went home with us. Next time Im going to skip dessert. Its just not that fabulous. Better to focus on the steak at this place.
Overall Id say its worth checking out. Its pricey, I think its slightly more expensive than the other steak houses in town. The total with tip and wine was in the neighborhood of $450. Its definitely a treat. Im looking forward to going again. Ive always had a great time and a great meal at the NCY S&W so Im thrilled to have one here in town. If you make a reservation, request a table upstairs. The dining room downstairs with the bar is a zoo, very loud, a bit chilly, and visually kind of dull. Next time I go Im going for the angry lobster (see earlier thread). Maybe mid-week is the time to check it out. I imagine the buzz will die down a bit and it will be easier to get a reservation, walk-in table, etc.
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