We were looking for a good steakhouse to wile away our Tuesday evening. A couple of people had recommended Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and when I double checked with my go to steak guy back in London, he also suggested Wolfgang’s so it was a no brainer.
Booked in for 7pm, I had this bizarre expectation that Wolfgang’s was going to be somewhat old school and peaceful and I don’t know, Mozart playing in the background? Because Wolfgang’s? Mozart? I made that connection and somehow everything became classical music in my head. But Wolfgang’s is as close to Mozart as I would ever be to being 6′ tall.
It was more noisy and crazy like.. I don’t know, AC/DC?
Anyway, before I go anywhere with this post, let me assure you that the steaks are good. They are damn good, and so they should be, having been crafted over four decades by Wolfgang Zwiener, who spent years as head waiter at Peter Luger’s. I had a filet mignon and Panu had a ribeye, both medium rare and I don’t think I’ve ever had a more perfect medium rare. Check. It. Out.
A gorgeous red centre and charred to perfection on the outside, my filet mignon was smokey and tender, all enormous 500g of it. Panu’s ribeye tasted completely different, not as charred and somehow sweeter. The fat was a little chewy though, but all on all a delicious hunk of meat.
Judging by the meat alone, I can see why this restaurant draws fans from far and wide. And maybe it was because we chose to go to the flagship location on Park Ave, but the crowd to get into the restaurant was just CRAZY, like I’m talking back to back shoved up against a stranger kinda crazy. And if you make a reservation? Oh don’t think you’re getting away that easily. A reservation at Wolfgang’s is basically a reservation in the QUEUE to go to Wolfgang’s. We booked at 7pm and when we arrived, we were told it’d be “a few minutes”.
About 10 minutes later, I squeezed my way through to the front desk and ask how long it might be. “A few minutes”, says the pretty blonde maitre’d. “How many’s a few?” I ask. “It’s…” she says… “a few.”
Another 10 minutes later, I squeeze to the front again and ask the same question. Another guy was also there asking “is a few like 5? Or more like 30 minutes?” – valid question I think. She says “I’m sorry sir, it’ll be a few more minutes.” Somehow I don’t think we’ll be getting any more information out of her.
After watching who was being seated, I realised that you had to really push if you want a seat. An elderly couple who arrived after us also for a 7pm reservation were whining their wrinkly butts off at the front of the line and they were seated before us. Considering we’d now been waiting about 40 minutes, I LOST MY SHIT. I mean, I’m sorry but I’m hungry. I wrangled my way to the front of the queue and made a bunch of noise. And lo’ and behold, we were sat next.
My advice on this? Don’t make a 7pm booking as this is clearly peak time. Go at 6pm or at 9pm. And if there’s a queue, make some noise, it’s worth it.
Happily seated, I ordered and settled back to enjoy conversation with Panu. Scratch that. Wolfgang’s is so noisy it’s seriously difficult to have a conversation. Surrounded by big, beefy, beer swilling suits guffawing about football, stocks and I don’t know, bear hunting? this restaurant is a meatfest in more ways than one. Panu and I basically yelled across the table at each other and somehow managed to get through the evening.
And one last little irk about Wolfgang’s. I ordered a side of sautéed onions because I like sautéed onions. The waiter suggests that maybe I get a mix of onions and mushrooms because they go together. At first I said no, I feel like onions but he was so superbly convincing and I like mushrooms too, so ok. What came out was about 90% mushrooms and 10% onions. Seriously? Did they over order on the mushrooms and this is how they get rid of them?
We also had creamed spinach. Yum yum.
Anyway, I’m a little confused about my whole Wolfgang’s experience. It was stressful to say the least, the queuing and being jammed up the butt of some old suit and the noise… but the steaks. The steaks were so damn good. Not the best I’ve had – this is still the best I’ve had – but pretty fracking awesome.
Would I go back? I don’t know, but if I did it would be at 6pm. And maybe not the Park Ave branch.
4 Park Avenue
New York, NY, 10016
212 889 3369