Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Smith and Wollensky Porterhouse

I had occasion to dine at Smith & Wollensky last week. I was not expecting to have anything new to add to my recent review but they have now added a porterhouse for two which I feel is worth mentioning. As I stated in my full review S&W remains one of my favorite steakhouses in NYC, which makes it one of my favorite steakhouses anywhere.

Unlike a majority of "house" wines S7W is easy to recommend

I was frankly surprised to see the porterhouse for two offered here because for so many years S&W has refrained from succumbing to the increasingly prevalent trend of serving the cut. My guess is that the cut has become so entrenched in the steakhouse vernacular, by virtue of all of the Peter Luger's clones offering it, that S&W must have received so many requests for it that they felt obligated to add it to their permanent menu.

Porterhouse for two

Thankfully S&W have not strayed from their steak formula by serving their porterhouse in the Peter Luger's model - despite how impressive the spectacle of the spluttering, sizzling platter of beef and butter parading through the dining room might be. I love the porterhouse at Luger's, it remains my favorite incarnation of the steak but I have to say that the S&W version gives it a run for its money. The steak is served "dry" with no additions, sans salt, and is sliced. While I prefer my steak served whole it makes sense to serve a large steak meant for sharing sliced. The steak is cut thicker than at Luger's but weighs around the same so its circumference is smaller. This allows it to develop a better crust than at Luger's, the latter complaint is really my only quibble with the steak at the venerable Brooklyn institution. Getting back to Manhattan the S&W porterhouse is ethereally tender with a pronounced, musky dry aged flavor, much closer in fact to their rib eye than their NY strip. The exterior char is impressive and provides a wonderful textural compliment to the succulent inner flesh. I often remark that the small sliver of marrow that resides in the bone cavity at the top of the "T" tells me all I need to know about the dry aging process. The one here imparted an over the top, moldy Roquefort cheese like tang with a heavy mineral finish. This is a beautifully aged piece of beef and a welcome, albeit unexpected addition, to the menu.

Smith & Wollensky
797 Third Ave.
(49th St.)
Manhattan, NY


DocChuck said...

Interesting comments on the porterhouse for two.

I also prefer my steak served whole. Even though my wife and I often order the porterhouse when dining together, we prefer to "carve" it to our individual tastes, and at our own pace.

Not to mention, I want my steak rare, she prefers med-rare.

Have your culinary travels taken you to South Dakota, in particular, Rapid City/Deadwood, South Dakota?

We will be spending a couple of weeks in South Dakota on a business venture at the end of this month, and are seeking advice on reputable, top-notch restaurants in the area.

Barbara Kreig said...

We always order a porterhouse for two if its on the menu. I eat the strip and my husband eats the filet.

But I've never seen one as good as that one!!!

I love the crust it has. Amazing. Wish we could get that around here.


I have been to Rapid City and Deadwood and there really isn't anything to speak of in terms of fine dining.

It's a pretty desolate area with very little going on. Deadwood has a bunch of fake saloons and such. Bison and Buffalo will be on the menu at these places.

The best hotel in Rapid City is a Best Western. They probably have a restaurant there.

If you are flying through Minneapolis that would probably your best bet.

DocChuck said...
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DocChuck said...
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DocChuck said...

I really would prefer a recommendation from someone other than "barbara krieg" who is actually "chiff0nade" from a trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

I understand that you are "lonely" and that your associates at the Cassandra Crossing have very little to do since your website has been recently shut down by the webmaster (upon orders from federal authorities).

However, you should be aware that since your friend Lynne Schnell:

the self-described high priestess of your Cassandra Crossing coven is already under investigation for harassment.

It may be to your advantage to rethink your impersonations, chiff0nade.

DocChuck's hamster said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The steak in the picture looks a lot more well done then you like, was that the case?

Nick said...

The steak was cooked rare but the picture does not show the interior.

Anonymous said...

I love a truly "Pittsburgh" steak!!

It's the mark of a great steakhouse -- that charred exterior and cool juicy inside. YUM.


Mount Rushmore will amaze you and Deadwood is amusing in a tacky touristy kind of way, but don't expect great eating out there.

The best restaurants in Rapid City are Red Lobster and Applebees. There is a new place called the Corn Exchange Bistro that is supposed to be good and I spose would represent as "top notch" as that part of the US can offer.

To be honest, "a couple of weeks" out there will probably seem like an eternity. Good Luck.

DocChuck said...

Again, "anonymous", my question was directed to the blog operator, NOT to the Cassandra Crossing, or to the trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Since you, who have never been out of Brooklyn, NY, or Clearwater, Florida, choose to cast aspersions against the good people of South Dakota, I suppose that you think my wife and I should abandon our intentions of investing in a thriving motel in that area . . . LOL.

Really, chiff0nade and Del Schnell, you "girls" need to take a holiday, or maybe another pill or something.

Kindly save you banter for someone who cares. You apparently have better luck over on SeriousEats where you post under "chiff0nade", under "therealchiffonade", etc.

Your juvenile remarks about the great state of South Dakota simply demonstrate your ignorance of the world beyond your mother Aida's flat in Brooklyn, New York, and your trailer park in Florida.

Sal Hepatica said...


What's your problem?


Someone answers your qestion and you give them grief? Bizarro grief at that? Are you alright?


Face it, going to South Dakota is basically like going to the moon. One can't expect good eats or compelling entertainment there.

On topic:

That steak looks very burned on the outside.

Aren't you at all worried by the continued admonishments NOT to eat charred meat? It supposedly can give you cancer.

That worries me.

DocChuck's blow-up doll said...

Let's just say that DocChuck, who often refers to me as "Elizaebth", has several long-untreated venereal diseases that have over time robbed him of the ability to speak (or write) coherently.

DocChuck said...

My wife (younger than me by more than a decade) owns a luxury motor coach and thus we enjoy exploring America’s “hidden jewels” and enjoying regional delicacies (ours here is the Maryland Blue Crab). Rapid City certainly sounds like fun. I will make reservations at the “Corn Exchange” and at Best Westerns along the way.

DocChuck's blow-up doll said...

Did I mention that DocChuck bought me used?

His 750 pound wife is indeed younger by several months, if such things intrigue you.

As far as exploring "hidden jewels", let's just say that he is a big fan of Michael Jackson despite having no interest in music.

chiff0nade said...

WHEEEeeee! I have so much fun posting when Big Bear buys me a bottle of cheap vodka to go with my free anti-depression pills from the Clearwater clinic.

Yeah, baby . . . I can be anybody I want to be from my computer here in the trailer park!

Howard said...

i was disappointed when they got rid of the porterhouse for one from the menu, which was served unsliced. when i inquired as to why they serve the porterhouse for two now, the waiter responded that it wasn't because of the popularity of the cut in the new york steak scene, but because the rising cost of beef that forced them to serve it as a cut for 2 instead of for 1.

Nick said...

@ Howard. I agree, so few places really do porterhouses (or even T bones) for one.