So I went back to Smith and Wollensky the other day for the second time. I have been craving a great piece of prime rib and have heard and read that Smith and Wollensky turned out a great one. There is actually a great article on the entire preparation here from the great and always helpful Beef Aficinado's blog: http://beefaficionado.blogspot.com/20....
Before I get into more detail on the prime rib, I also ordered:
Lump crabmeat cocktail served with green (remoulade perhaps?) sauce and cocktail sauce- Absolutely delicious. Extremely simple. Just generous lumps of jumbo crabmeat in a clam shell (inventive presentation). It didn't even need any sauce that's how fresh it was. However, the sauces were terrific. I loved the green sauce, which was incredibly creamy and had a bit of a kick to it. The cocktail sauce was also delicious and sweet. When you combine the two together it really makes it a winner.
Baked potato will all the fixins- Since I was alone I did not go for the hashed browns which are really meant for two. I did have the hashed browns last time though and they were absolutely incredible... probably the best hashed browns I have ever had. Nonetheless not to get off topic, I loved that they give you a baked potato "caddy" with sour cream, cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon. The baked potato is huge also, probably close to 10 ounces I'd say and absolutely delicious.
Sauteed mushrooms- Last time we had the creamed spinach and that was a huge letdown for me. I love creamed spinach and being such a traditional steakhouse staple it was a must order. However, it was the one of the worst I had ever had. Maybe it was just a bad day that day but I didn't go for it this time. This time I went with the sauteed mushrooms, which were delicious and proved to be a great choice.
Dessert- One of my favorite things about Smith and Wollensky is their dessert cart. I LOVE that they wheel it over to your table and show you each dessert and explain it in detail. That is something from the past, and I wish more restaurants would follow suit and bring that back! I love the interaction with the waiter, but more so just being able to see the delectable desserts is awesome. I was really full this time, so I skipped dessert..kinda. I never really skip dessert. I just ordered it to go. I got their "famous" carrot cake. And it was really delicious. Famous for a reason and probably the best carrot cake I have ever eaten. Wonder where they get it from.
Anyway back to the main event the PRIME RIB....
On my first visit to S&W last year, I contemplated between the traditional prime rib and the Colorado Ribeye. I decided to go with the latter, which turned out to be very good. I really enjoyed my Colorado Ribeye very much, however vowed that I had to come back for that prime rib. So, being in the area, I decided to go for it. And the prime rib was great as well.
I ordered the prime rib "extra rare" as I do with all of my steaks. The middle part of the prime rib was perfectly bloody red, while the thin outside layer was more well done (which it usually is with prime rib). That well done outermost layer is the only type of well done meat I actually enjoy. It has that extra salty, almost short rib like taste and consistency to play off of the truly rare and beefy flavor of the middle portion. The prime rib was served on the bone of course, and had just the right amount of fat and marbelization. I loved their au jus and they sit the prime rib in a generous pool of it.
My only criticism is that it was not larger. There also probably could have been a little more meat attached on the bone, which is one of my hugest criteria for a great prime rib ( or any steak for that matter). Nevertheless, I was still able to gnaw a nice amount of delectable prime rib off the bone. This is where it falls behind Old Homestead, Keens', and Strip House's prime rib. Old Homestead lists its behemoth prime rib at 32 oz on the menu and I do not doubt it. That thing is huge! Keens, while not as large probably weighs in at about 26-28 ounces. I'd say Strip House also weighs in at about 26 or so ounces. I would say Smith and Wollensky's rendition is closer to 20-22 ounces, which don't get me wrong is still a nice size piece of meat but you don't get the same "wow factor" you do from the afformentioned steakhouses. Since I requested extra rare, they needed to cut mine from the middle of the roast. Perhaps this yields a smaller piece than the outside part of the roast? This I do not know for sure. However, I would imagine that you could get inconsistent sizes due to the fact you are cutting it from a whole roast. In any event, in my first experience I did realize inconsistencies in the size of the steaks. Three of my friends also ordered the ribeye like myself, and they all varied in size, some actually being quite drastic. That was also really my only main criticism of my meal their the first time as well. So to conclude the review, the prime rib while delicious, is not the best in the city for me. Taste was on par, however size was lacking. I would rank it below OH and Keens. But definitely right in that next tier with Strip House's version.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the meal I had at Smith and Wollensky. The good experience I had with the ribeye the first time drew me back for the prime rib and it did not disappoint. The service was exactly as you would expect. The food came out promptly, cooked as ordered, and piping hot. Two visits and two successes. That's really all it takes- It really does not take a lot to get a great grade from me. Smith and Wollensky is a quality steakhouse and it does what a steakhouse should do right, especially in a steakhouse. will stay on my list and they have me as a repeat customer. Next up is the porterhouse for two. That is the big daddy and the true judge of a steakhouse for me. If they pass my grade in that department, then I will be truly impressed.