Smith & Wollensky
Location: 1112 Nineteenth Street NW (between L & M)
Menu: Click Here (HTML / Website)
Meal: Dinner $57 for one, gratuity included
About nine US cities have a Smith & Wollensky Restaurant but somehow Washington’s seems like it is the setting for the proverbial “power meal and deal”. Located not far from tony Connecticut Avenue and the Golden Triangle your reviewer has been there on a number of occasions. The history of S&W is not all that old, their first endeavor in Manhattan opened up a little over 30 years in 1977. It is, as they say, a traditional “New York” steakhouse with an emphasis on dry aging and hand butchering of their beef products. Portions are not for the faint of heart either.
The “experience” starts upon entry when you are cordially greeted by the friendly associate at the podium. Your coat will be taken on the spot and secured away so that you may proceed to your table unencumbered. The physical surroundings of the restaurant are pleasant and contemporary; there is a separate bar area with a few tables as well. Wait staff tend to be business like and efficient perhaps in deference to the fact that you just might be someone important, or the person with you is. Yet there are smiles to be found and there is plenty of laughter and reverie at times.
Believing that you stick with a good “thing” your reviewer usually has a Filet Mignon in the 10 ounce category ($37) Accompanying the beef on this visit was an a la carte baked potato ($5.99). Tradition also calls for skipping an appetizer so that the main event is enjoyed without feeling too stuffed. Should an appetizer be on your mind you can choose from soup du jour, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, Lump Crabmeat among many selections. Salads run the gamut from Tomato & Mozzarella to Mixed Green or the ever classic Caesar. If you dine with a companion the sides are enough for two. Your choices include whipped potatoes, creamed spinach, onion rings, seasonal vegetables, truffled macaroni and cheese among them.
My beverage this time was simple a diet soda, in lieu of any wine. On prior visits their wine cellar was sampled and found not to be lacking. There was, however, a bit of room for me to enjoy some of the crusty bread to be dipped in olive oil while the meal was being prepared. In a reasonable period the meal was served, with my steak medium-well as requested. It had been “butter-flyed “with my prior agreement. On a separate plate was the largest baked potato I have ever encountered at least 2 pounds in weight; without taking a mouthful I knew that it would return to the kitchen half eaten. Of the “steroid spud” it was moist, sufficiently hot and took the butter like an Olympian.
My beef was tender, hues of pink in places and made me content. The size was just right. Once again I felt like the years of experience had been perfected at S&W. If beef is not always your first choice then there are alternatives to be had such as a number of simply grilled seafood entrees like Halibut, wild Salmon or Sushi Grade Tuna. Lamb Chops, free range Chicken or live Maine Lobster might tempt you. Although others have done it, I have never been able to find any reasonable place for dessert. Smith & Wollensky DC is a choice that I can recommend and bestow 3.5 chews for this visit. Enjoy!
Pop Pop’s Score: 3.5 Chews
Subjective rating: We’ll come back!
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