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The Straight Beef on Wolfgangs

Went with 3 mates on Tuesday. Place packed with the buzz of a new restaurant in the epicenter of the wealthy business community. Lots of tables packed with suited men, Japanese businessmen, BH families. Nice clean room, comfortable tables.

The hits and misses:

The wine list - terrible, overpriced dreck. Stick to the $40 Gruner Veltliner and the $95 2002 Roda Rioja. DO NOT order California wines. Martinis probably a decent bet. Most cabernets from 2004-5, super young with huge markup. Bring your own? Not at $50 corkage.

The service - gruff, prompt, efficient. They stick to their routine, don't change it up on them. A request for toasted, not icy bread was met with confusion. Wolfgang himself amiable, workmanlike.

Bread terrible, but who cares, you are there for the best meat.

Apps: Crabcake, awful. Lobster Cocktail, awful, mis-named and expensive. The bacon, a home run, packed with gooey flavor. Avoid all overpriced apps, get some bacon, and move on.

Steak for 3: Mind blowing, best I've ever had. Salty, minerally, juicy. Sides of spinach and German potatoes awesome as well. In a food-induced high at this point.

Dessert: Pecan Pie (nice, small) and Cheesecake with Schlag (awesome).

Bill for 4: $411. Ended up leaving the change of $500 as the waiters never returned it. Valet parking $7.

The summary: Stick to the basics, be prepared to spend, worth it.

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  1. Glad you liked it. In my mind the best steak in the U.S. and I am glad that this is becoming a chain. Blows Cut and Mastros away. I was there for the grand opening, and it is mind numbingly good. Great manly man spot. I frequent wolfgangs in NY, and very happy to have it closer to my residence. Ironically close to my cardiologist.

    FYI- Wolfgang Puck has filed a suit against Wolfgang Zweiner in LA superior court today. Wolfgang can Puck Off.....

    3 Replies
    1. re: Schweinhaxen

      I have been 3 times so far. The steak has been overcooked every time. Hot desserts are microwaved: they come out scorching hot and soggy. It is not even in the same league as Peter Luger, just a faint reminder of how great a steakhouse can be.

      I hope it will improve over time.

      1. re: craigf

        That's surprising. My porterhouse came out slightly underdone and finished off close to perfection on the hot platter. I had the cheesecake, which was excellent so can't comment on the hot desserts yet. I thought the entire meal compared favorably with my many dinners at Peter Luger's growing up. I loved the Canadian bacon starter. The only disappointment was the ridiculous wine list--good thing I drink scotch as well.

      2. re: Schweinhaxen

        Yikes! Gruner Veltliner for $40!!!!!!!!!!! Sheesh, I used to buy it in an extra large bottle for under $10 only a couple of years ago. Others must have noticed its cheapness...I haven't checked lately.

      3. Thanks for the write-up. What cut of beef did you try there? Sounds like a larger piece, so perhaps a big bone-in ribeye? Do you happen to know if they dry-age their beef too?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ernie

          Dry aged for 28 days in house. T-Bones come in 2 (no singles), 3 or 4 person sizes. We had the 3 for 4 people, and it was big. You can try the ribeye, but the T-bone is the steak to get here....

          1. re: Adsvino

            How much was the 3 person steak? Looking at the menu from their website, it looks cheaper than Cut. I think it said $114 for the 3 person. This seems like a good deal in the steak world.

            1. re: Wolfgang

              $131. But you would know that, you are Wolfgang.....

              Decent value for the quality.

        2. As much as I usually hate to just agree -- I do. The wines were Vegas sized triple markups (and higher). Very few deals. I had lunch there the other day and the steak sandwich with a very cold Becks (VERY frsty mug) went down very well. I just hope they adjust their wine pricing to conform to the LA market.

          1. Sorry but I'll pass for now.
            Lots of good-to-excellent steaks out there, without having to go thru this $50 corkage abuse.
            Just walk across the street, get my steak at Drago's Enoteca ( assuming Evelio is at the stoves ), f**k Herr Wolfgang.

            4 Replies
            1. re: RicRios

              You are missing the point, the place is about the meat. Steak and bacon. Wine margins have to be passed on to the consumer because of the cost of overhead and the location. Margin on steak and food has been steadily eroded due to higher commodity prices. I know they can justify the cost of wine, because they know that studio execs and industry people will pay for it. I expect this place to long out live Mastros, Ruth Chris, or Mortons.

              1. re: Schweinhaxen

                I collect wine, so almost exclusively BYO, but I agree with you. Go to any steakhouse, and it doesn't seem like more than 5% (tops) byos. High wine prices (see Mastros!) does not deter people.

                However, CUT and Spago, both of which have high overhead and prime locations, have terrific, reasonably priced and interesting lists. For under $100, there are many really good wines at fair markups.

                I still plan of trying Wolfgangs, and will BYO. At $50 corkage though, it will be a really good bottle I'll bring.

                1. re: manku

                  Ironically, that is who is suing Wolfgang's-- Wolfgang. I think Cut and Spago can have relatively lower markups because their menus are respectively are alot more broader than Wolfgang's. Wolgang's knows that people will obviously order the steak, and in my mind the steak has a fair markup for what it is. (Midwest beef is shipped to their NY meat location where it is then butchered, and then shipped out to LA- which is kinda costly). Because of this, they need to make money, and they markup the wine to capture their business margin.

                  Steakhouse in general have much higher markups than other restaurants because of these issues. i.e. Mastros, Mortons, BOA etc.

                2. re: Schweinhaxen

                  It actually upsets me when I see great restaurants with wine lists that are poorly thought out and/or overpriced. It is most definitely a deterant for me as many people who are foodies are also winos. Don't let a bad wine list get in the way of an otherwise great food experience.

                  Also, this whole $50 corkage fee thing has to stop. I understand the point of it but you are turning people away from the restaurant. Corkage fees should be $20 and under. At $35 to $50, you're building resentment in me versus pleasure.

                  Finally, the entertainment business is changing. Studio execs aren't spending like they used to. Sounds like Wolfgang has to update to the times if he wants to elicit good will in LA...

              2. Went last night and enjoyed it. The basics are the thing here. Had the porterhouse for two -- perfectly cooked and delicious. Big portion too, plenty of leftovers and would easily feed three. Terrific flavor. German potatos were likewise excellent. The Canadian bacon appetizer -- at $2.95 a slice a relative bargain -- had a nice smokey sweet pork flavor. A little goes a long way. Caesar salad was just so-so. Great hot fudge sundae, with, of course, schlag. (The schlag is so rich and good that the ice cream part of the sundae, though good, is kind of a let down.) Wine list -- terrible price wise and selection wise. I stuck to Manhattans which were well made and at $13 a pop compared favorably with the outrageous prices for indifferent wines by the glass.

                I would definitely go back. Extra added fun last night -- the entire staff watched a news report on the bar TV about Wolfgang Puck suing Wolfgang's for trademark violation and roared with laughter when the reporter stated something to the effect that "If it weren't for Puck's lawsuit, many Southern Californians would never have heard of Wolfgang's steakhouse. But now they know and may be curious to try it." Wonder if Puck's lawyers thought about that when they told him to go to court....

                2 Replies
                1. re: BHAppeal

                  wow, i have to get here, it sounds like Peter Luger's shclag, steak for three? wow.

                  I've waiting for a Luger's style joint in LA for ages.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Did someone say schlag?!?!?! Count me in.

                    If the steak is anywhere as good, then we're all set.

                2. Wolfgang's Salad - tomato, bacon, veggies and onioins served cold in a lettuce wrap with Wolfgang's vinaigrette - was a nice and welcome update on the heart of romaine salad that's de rigeur elsewhere.

                  Steak was phenomenal - had the N.Y. Sirloin, which I ordered medium rare since I correctly anticipated that a Zwiener's med. rare would be the cash equivalent of anyone else's rare. My wife had the bone-in rib eye which was also impressive.

                  The quick, efficient, no-bullshit service was quite refreshing, too.

                  The only missing link was indeed the wine selection - before I had a decent chance to survey the wine list to see if there was a worthy half-bottle or by the glass option (I woulda been ordering a full bottle if my wife weren't six months pregnant), it was snatched out of my hands once it was established that no, they didn't have any half-bottles and that if I wanted a Cab by the glass, it was a Kenwood or nuthin'. Made up for that discrepancy with another order of a perfectly mixed Manhattan, but I really would have liked, say, an option to get at the very least a higher end CA cab or Bordeaux-style blend by the glass. I'd be willing to fork over an Andy Jackson for it too, but instead had an uninspiring, mundane cab for $11.

                  My sirloin deserved a far more classy partner - even if it was only for a two-hour stand.

                  If the Dal Rae (one of my faves) can stock a Stags Leap Merlot by the glass, why can't Wolfgang's as well?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dgershwin

                    Wolfgang's sounds like it needs a little californication - adapting to local ideas regarding wine markups and by the glass program, etc.
                    They could do really well with the proper attitude in that regard, and people will pay $20 a glass for something good, and they could go through many bottles that way. As it is now, they may be selling many a martini or manhattan, yet the wines may be sitting longer than they should be.

                  2. I was so glad when Wolfgang's opened here. I eat there all the time in NY. Actually, I find it a great value as long as you go with more than two people. With appetizers and sides the steak for two serves three, steak for three serves four, etc. There is no better steak in LA. I agree that the wine list needs a major revamping.

                    1. Basically I agree with most of what is said.....I would take it one step further and basically just avoid the deserts along with appetizers. Just get steak, sides, and a drink....then you're good.