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Smith and Wollensky is way overrated

  • t
  • Tom M May 11, 1998 06:21 PM
  • 5

Had an awful experience at this restaurant recently.
Not only was the service rude--de rigeur at NYC
steakhouses, I suppose, for reasons I don't at all
understand--but the service was also awful. It took
forever to get the waiter's attention to get another
drink, the appetizer was late and ran right up to the
arrival of the steaks, and, worst of all, the waiter
got my order wrong and I wound up with a medium sirloin
which I'd ordered 'medium rare' (the guy who ordered a
medium filet got a medium rare filet). I guess I could
have sent it back, but it would have meant watching
eveyone else eat, then eating my steak all by my
lonesome, so I just had the very expensive overcooked
steak.

Aside from the gargantuan wine list, what is it about
this place that's supposed to be so great? Even the
steaks that were cooked correctly didn't look like
anything special. Didn't seem any better than one I'd
had at Embers in Bay Ridge, in fact, and for a whole
lot less $$.

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  1. I completely agree. Smith and Wollensky's is loved by people with expense accounts, who have little appreciation of good food. They simply want a men's club with expensive wines and red meat. These individuals have perpetuated this restaurant's mediocre existence, and for some unknown reason, it is considered one of NY's great steakhouses.

    First off, it is way overpriced. Last time I was there, I honestly think everyone in the place was dining on an expense account.

    The steaks are flavorless and the cut of meat does not compare with that at Sparks or Peter Lugers (two of NY's great steakhouses). THe sides are decent. The service is mediocre at best. The crowd is completely homogenous - there is no variety among the patrons.

    I have never understood why this place is so popular.

    1. d
      David Jacobson

      Couldn't agree more. Sparks, Luger, THe Palm and Ben
      Benson's all have this place beat. I also have it on
      very good authority,(one of the best known
      bartenders in NY) that they water their alcohol.

      1 Reply
      1. re: David Jacobson

        I've said this before, but here it is again. I'm
        convinced that, after Luger's, the best porterhouse in
        the city is at Christos in Astoria. I was surprised
        that S&W didn't even serve a porterhouse (at least the
        night I was there), which for my money is *the* cut to
        order at a steakhouse.

      2. t
        Troy Sonnier

        WOW! It is amazing to me that the experiences that
        you've all had at Smith and Wollensky mirror the
        experience that my wife and I along with two friens
        had New Years Eve at the restaurant's New Orleans
        location. Being somewhat familiar with the
        expectations of the New Orleans fine dining community
        I will venture to say that unless a major improvement
        takes place in every aspect of this establishments
        treatment of the diner, who by the way does not mind
        paying $28 for a good steak, they will be closed
        within a year. The whole evening was such a disaster I
        don't want to relive it in detail. Here it is in a
        nutshell:
        -seating-late
        -service- I would not even call it that.We were
        abandoned.
        -food- Yum,$28 for a overcooked, fatty filet
        mignon.The lobster @ $18/LB- cold, then overcooked.
        - This one is reserved for overrated, overpriced
        restaurants- The ability to fix problems. After
        respectfully complaining to the manager he gave me his
        business card and said that he hoped that my next
        experience would be a better one. WHAT'S THAT?
        Anyway,trust me folks, it's not only in New York. It's
        spreading!

        1. I was looking up the address to write the company when I found all of these complaints...WOW!
          It is amazing that a restaurant that charges so much can be so loose on their employees when their reputation is the justification for their prices. My biggest complaint (Las Vegas location) was the waiter(s). This is a fairly new restaurant but every waiter seemed scared to death of the customers. Afraid to refill the drink without asking and God forbid have a friendly minute of conversation with you. Then, to top it off, when the bill came and money was placed inside of the folder, the waiter asked "Can I get you some change?" Come On, if you're trying to ask if the change is the tip then say "I'll be right back with your change." The customer will let them know if the change is the tip and won't feel insulted or embarassed for asking for change if there's a bit too much for a tip left over. I've seen more common sense at Denny's.
          If you're in Vegas...go to The Steak House inside of Circus Circus. The portions are great and the prices include the sides and salad. The waiter I had was as friendly as he could be and his service was tops!