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.”

Right.

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.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
4 Park Avenue
New York, NY, 10016
212 889 3369
website

Wolfgang's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

9 Thoughts on “Wolfgang’s Steakhouse NYC: more AC/DC than Mozart

  1. Welcome to New York! :) At least the steaks were seemingly worthwhile.

  2. I laughed out loud – LOL’d, if you will – at the image of you losing your shit.

  3. Shame about the service issues, but the steak looks AMAZING.

    A good point too about Steakhouses being the domain of ‘suits’. Although I could be classed as a suit, why are so many suits so f-ing unimaginative when it comes to food? Take my colleagues who want to go to Gaucho for a buisness lunch later this week, for like the zillionth time. Perhaps they saw my eyes roll, and they let me choose. We’re going to Hix in Farringdon instead. Still a bit suit-y but at least it’s a change.

  4. Mmmm. One of my faves when I go to LA. Also notable if you are craving more meat when you get to LA is BLT on Sunset. Yum Yum Yum!

  5. Linda at Pink Elephants coffee,LLC on February 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm said:

    The food is gorgeous, Catty, but their service sucks. That happens in the city. It happens because they overbook, sort of like a doctor’s office when you are habitually given an appointment and it is two to three hours before they get you in a back office to, again, wait to be seen.
    Filet mignon vs. Ribeye. … I’d eat the ribeye, any day, but a much smaller piece.
    35 years ago, one could get ribeye and potato and bread and vegetable for $1.99.
    It was the cheapest steak you could get. Now it’s up there as expensive, if not more, than the other cuts. Fish is also outrageous. And when you eat out, you could swear that they charge you for the attitude, too. All this considered, if you pour ketchup on your steak, the chef will give you the stinkeye if not come out to snark at you.
    They might have been short of help, that night, but the waiter insisting you have
    mushrooms when you wanted onions is also rude. He’s just trying to push what’s in abundance in the kitchen, and maybe they were short on onions. Or a
    prep cook to slice them. Things get crazy when the place is habitually overbooked. You were a trooper and stayed the course. I would have left and my
    review of them would have left a few scars.
    Let me caution you, though. It used to be that the squeeky wheel got the oil. Nowadays, the squeeky wheel gets arrested.

  6. I would have thrown my toys out of the pram, all over the floor long before that. A reservation is a reservation….

  7. Never…and I mean NEVER…get in the way of a hangry Catty and her food. Few have lived to tell the tale. Don;t be surprised if you go to NYC only to find Wolfgang’s a smoking pile of rubble and ruin… And standing over it, hands on hips, a fire breathing Catty ;)

    Seriously though, is great food ever worth eating in a bad environment? I always figure that you can cook a great steak at home, provided you have good enough meat to hand. When I go out, i go out for the experience. And any one of food, service or environment can kill (or make) the occasion. That said, those steaks do look superb.

  8. OH MY GOD. That steak looks sooo nice. Just how I like it too, medium rare. Mmmmm

  9. LF: The steaks were good but I really couldn’t deal with the crowds and stress again!!

    Lizzie: haha, well it wasn’t so funny at that point in time! Can you imagine it? Seriously? How dare they seat other people ahead of me when I was there first! DONT KEEP ME FROM MY STEAK!

    Mr Noodles: Ah Hix! Definitely less of a meat market than Gaucho.. why do you guys go to Gaucho? Do you like the steaks there? I’ve never had a good one there…

    Koreen: Thanks. I hear Lawry’s is also good for steak in LA.

    Linda: They weren’t under staffed that night and listening to others talking, it seems this is what they do every night. ARGH.

    Tori: I know.. I would have left but I wanted STEAK! And didn’t know where else to go heh.

    Grubworm: LOL I know right? I get rather cranky when I’m hangry…

    Vitalife Matcha: It was delicious!

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