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May 29, 2008 09:19 AM

Wolfgang's Steak House = Peter Luger's West

Let me say that as a former New Yorker, I have always compared every steak I’ve eaten to the infamous 100 year old Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Up until now, there has been no equal. I was recently surprised to a dinner at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse which had recently opened in Beverly Hills to much controversy as being confused with something owned by another Wolfgang. What excited me about my impending dinner that day was the fact that Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is owned by the former head waiter of 40+ years of Peter Luger. After telling my father about the restaurant, he skeptically told me, “Everyone who leaves Peter Luger opens their own restaurant, but none are as good”. With absolutely no pre-conceived notions as to what to expect, we were seated in the vast open dining room of the restaurant. I had heard the martini’s were good, so we both ordered those and as I reviewed the menu, I had a feeling I was going to be in for a good meal. As ALL Peter Luger regulars do, no menu is needed to order and when I saw the same items on Wolfgang’s menu, I felt like I had eaten there many times before. Ordering was simple: start with sliced beefstake tomatoes with onions, aged porterhouse steak for 2, medium rare, potatoes and creamed spinach. I needed a little clarification with the difference between the menu’s “German Potatoes” and “Home Fries” and was told the former was served crispy with onions, just like the home fries at Peter Luger. The drinks came and they were large and good. The bread on the table tried to emulate the delicious salt and onion rolls of PL but did not. Filling up on bread was (thankfully) not going to be an issue. When the tomatoes and onions arrived, they were both fat slices of enormously red beefstake tomatoes and similarly sliced onions. Now all PL aficionados know to pour the famous Peter Luger sauce on the tomatoes and onions (never on the steak!) and our waiter informed us that the bottle of Wolfgang’s Sauce sitting on our table was to be used on the tomatoes and onions. I skeptically poured what looked like similar sauce over them and tasted – identical! I have always tried to mix up my own concoction of Peter Luger sauce, which is sort of a sweet, spicy version of cocktail sauce, but never getting it right. Wolfgang Zweiner did. After barely finishing the tomatoes and onions, we waited in anticipation for the rest of the meal. Not so soon after, the waiter placed an upside down saucer on our table and I knew what was in store. When the steak arrived, the “g-inourmous” cut came pre-sliced on a sizzling white china platter. The waiter places one edge of the platter on the turned saucer so all the juices accumulate at one end. The German potatoes and the creamed spinach, both enough for at least 4 people to share arrived soon after. The waiter serves us at first, placing a slice each of the filet and the strip onto our plates along with scoops of the sides. Looks being identical, I am here for the steak and it was quickly evident to me that this was the best steak I have eaten outside the doors of Peter Luger. Perfectly cooked and well aged (the secret to the PL steaks), we would dip each bite into the collected sizzling juices on the platter and hum and we ate in total bliss. Both the potatoes and the spinach were perfect compliments as well. Struggling with the large portions, we did not come close to finishing either the steak or the sides (which easily could have feed another person) and asked for a doggie bag. If you think you cannot eat anymore, one dessert is worthy of overindulgence… the hot pecan pie with “Schlag”. Again, all Peter Luger fans know of schlag which is basically a rich, sweetened whipped cream scooped on all of their desserts. All in all, I was extremely pleased to have found out about Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and had it not been for the controversy instigated by Mr. Puck and the initial article in the Los Angeles Times, it probably would have gone unnoticed to me. Anyone who wants to have a great steak meal, stick to what they do the best as I have outlined above, trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Los Angeles, CA

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  1. I may have to take my hubby there for his birthday. I could almost taste the food as you were describing your meal.

    1. Yes, you discovered Peter Lugar West as well. IMHO Wolfgang's is not on the same level as Lugar because Lugar is the platinum standard for steaks but Beverly Hills is a whole lot closer to me than Brooklyn, although there have been times I've been tempted to hop a plane to JFK for a Lugar porterhouse medium rare with the sauce on the tomatoes and onions.

      1. How much did this feast set you back? Your review practically had me phoning for reservations this instant.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Jack Flash

            Me too. And my cholesterol level is telling me to be a staunch vegetarian by now.

          2. Went about two weeks ago -- had a very similar and amazing experience. Beefsteak and mozzarella app, porterhouse for three (huge! left with a lot of steak in a bag that i used to make a greate steak sandwich with the next day). This is a steak eaters joint -- it is all about the meat, not the hoopla. great addition to the LA scene. No wonder puck is so upset.

            1. Unfortunately, I couldn't of had a more opposite experience than Michael. Granted I have never been to Peter Luger's, I would like to think I can still evaluate my meal properly. I am not discounting anything he said, but my perspective is that they should have spent the $4000/electronic toilet on something that would directly contribute to the quality of their food rather than its immediate disposal (if you get my drift).

              Porterhouse was very good (not amazing), salads were blah, and desserts disappointing.

              Would not go back unless I was eating on someone else's expense account.

              2 Replies
              1. re: BigTummy

                My porterhouse was the most amazing steak I have ever had. Ditto the pecan pie with schlag. Can't wait to return. Noticed that LAT reviewer did a taste comparison between Cut and Wolfgangs in yesterday's paper. Critic gave a big edge to Cut for appetizers but felt the steak at Wolfgangs was far superior.

                1. re: maudies5

                  Just went there yesterday. Basically the only things that were good were the steak and Martini. The lobster cocktail and creme brulee were total disappointments. The asparagus and German potatoes were good, but don't particularly stand out.

                  Even though the steak was good, it was somewhat undersalted, which I guess is better than being oversalted. If you go, just get a drink, steak, and one side. Avoid appetizers and desert.