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Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Beverly Hills): A Classic American Steakhouse [Review] w/ Pics

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(Pics attached below.)
(Formatted with All Pictures here:
http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2008/06...

)

Too much publicity can be a dangerous thing. While many subscribe to the old adage of "there's no such thing as bad publicity," the new Wolfgang's Steakhouse - by former Peter Luger head waiter, Wolfgang *Zwiener* (not Puck) - in Beverly Hills, California, arrived with so much publicity and hype that I wondered if any restaurant would've been able to survive the expectations heaped upon it.

Whether it was the fact that L.A. was supposedly finally getting a "true steakhouse" in the vein of Peter Luger's in New York, or the lawsuits and bickering between Wolfgang Puck and Wolfgang Zwiener, or just the fond reminiscing from Peter Luger fans about similarities that his former head waiter adopted and brought here, Wolfgang's Steakhouse exploded onto the restaurant scene in L.A.

Letting things settle down a bit, we finally got around to visiting Wolfgang's Steakhouse this past Sunday for a Father's Day dinner. Wolfgang's Steakhouse is located on a quiet, nice stretch of Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. At 6:30 p.m., Wolfgang's was already completely packed, and exuded an energetic vibe from the moment we stepped inside.

Perusing the menu, it was clear that this was a true "American Steakhouse" through-and-through. They offered a variety of fresh, chilled seafood like Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Clams and Oysters On The Half Shell, to a few classic Salads, and then the Steaks. For non-beef eaters, they offer Lamb Chops, a variety of Grilled Fish, and Lobster, and finally a nice variety of classic Side Dishes, from Creamed Spinach, Sauteed Mushrooms, to the Baked Potato.

The complimentary bread basket looked delicious, but sadly tasted pretty average (not bad, but nothing outstanding).

We started off with the Wolfgang's Salad made of fresh-chopped Tomatoes, Green Beans, Shrimp and Iceberg Lettuce in a house-made Vinaigrette. It was a simple, refreshing salad, with the chunks of Shrimp (very fresh) combining well with the refreshingly sweet Tomatoes and the Green Beans and Lettuce. The Vinaigrette provided just the right amount of acidity to balance out the inherent sweetness in the main ingredients.

We had heard much about their legendary Porterhouse Steak, but I prefer Ribeye Steak in general, so our table opted for their Porterhouse Steak for Two and the Ribeye Steak to sample both. :)

The Porterhouse Steak for Two arrived amidst a giant sizzling platter: The Steak was so large, that it honestly could've fed 3 or 4 people! The plate was angled upon a small plate beneath to let the oil and juices flow down to one side.

We requested it medium rare, and for the most part it was, with some parts tending more towards medium, but that was fine. Wolfgang Zwiener's Steakhouse serves all their steaks with U.S.D.A. Prime, Dry Aged Beef, in their own aging box, according to their menu.

We took a bite from the Tenderloin portion of the Porterhouse and could taste a very intense beefiness I've never had from any other steak in recent memory. It was nice in its distinction, but at the same time, I found it a tad too intense in some ways, but ultimately it's personal preference. At this time, we were encouraged to try a conspicuous bottle of Wolfgang's own "Old Fashioned Sauce" with the steaks. I always subscribed to the idea that a good steak could stand on its own, but I tried some of the sauce: It was really interesting, and definitely altered the Steak dramatically. I ended up eating half of the beef that night by itself, and the other half dabbed in Wolfgang's Old Fashioned Sauce, as it was strangely addicting. :)

The Strip Loin side of the Porterhouse was noticeably different, even more intense in its dry aged taste, and I preferred the Tenderloin side much more.

The Ribeye Steak arrived a tad overcooked (I had asked for medium rare, but the majority of the Ribeye was medium. Still, it was my favorite cut, and I wanted to see how it compared to their Porterhouse. It had a great char on the outside, and the inside was moist. The first bite showed off a very nice Ribeye: Good marbling, moistness, and a rich beefiness, without the more pungent intensity of the Porterhouse. Steaks aren't my main passion, but from all the steaks I've had, even the famous Porterhouse served here, I still enjoyed the Ribeye more (except the overcooked portions), but halfway through, I began to tire of both steaks, with the overcooked portions of the Ribeye becoming tough and chewy (more on this later).

We ordered three Sides as well, the German Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus, and Sauteed Mushrooms. The German Potatoes were heartily recommended by our server, and were essentially a fancy cross between hash browns and country potatoes, cubes of potato with a very crisped outer texture. Unfortunately, they were extremely salty (too salty), and a bit burnt as well. The Steamed Asparagus were fine, and the Sauteed Mushrooms were perfectly cooked, adding a nice touch to the steak.

The service was solid, nothing outstanding, but helpful when needed, although there were a few hiccups (like refilling our glasses (half full of bottled water) with tap water). They also seated us in an overcrowded section of the restaurant (where my seat was bumped by passing waiters every five minutes or so (no hyperbole)). Our total came out to be roughly ~$72 per person (including tax and tip).

Ultimately, Wolfgang's Steakhouse is a classic, high-quality American Steakhouse. I found it as enjoyable (if not slightly better) than some of the other beloved steakhouses around L.A., i.e., it was nothing "mind-blowing" but it was very good. Perhaps I've been out of "practice" or maybe I've been spoiled by the utter ridiculousness of melt-in-your-mouth Grade A5 Wagyu Beef I've had at Urasawa and The Steak House, or maybe my palate has changed over the last few years, but I've just grown tired of steaks in general: The monstrous (and very generous) slab of beef becomes tiresome after making my way through 1/3 of the steak, and I can tell it's a wonderfully charred, good piece of beef, but it's nothing world-changing. Don't get me wrong, it's a great steak with big flavors, and if that's all you're looking for then Wolfgang's Steakhouse serves a wonderful version of the Porterhouse and Ribeye. Look past the hype and buzz, and just sit back and enjoy a classic American Steak.

*** Rating: 8.2 (out of 10.0) ***

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
445 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel: 310-385-0640

Hours: Mon - Thurs, 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Fri - Sun, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

http://wolfgangssteakhouse.com/

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Wolfgang's Steakhouse
445 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

 
 
 
 
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  1. More pics attached. (The rest of the pics can be found in the link in the original post. Thanks! :)

     
     
     
    1. Thanks for a very complete and well done (no pun intended) review. We have not been so my comment is not based on first hand knowledge, but a steakhouse that is aiming to be one of the best in all of Los Angeles really needs to turn out a properly cooked steak. More medium than medium rare would be totally unacceptable to me, especially at the price point that prime steak comes at these days.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        Thanks Servorg.

        Well said: It's true, if you're aiming to be a top quality Steakhouse in L.A., and can't even cook the steak correctly... that's not good. Since it was Father's Day and I didn't want to make a big fuss, I just kept it. Now if it turned out to be "2 levels beyond" what I wanted (medium rare -> medium well or worse), then I probably would've sent it back at that point.

      2. I must say I was quite skeptical myself knowing that mastros and cut are down the street, but this place has been doing quite well. However, I do miss the old Umenohana restaurant in this former space.

        1. I just ate there last week and although i agree that parts of the steak were medium (when it was ordered medium rare), their steak is so damn good, that even at medium its better than most other places medium rare.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carln

            yeah, just tried it, and it was ok, but not mind blowing. Maybe I just don't really like huge slabs of prime beef anymore. it was extremely heavy and i could not think of eating anything else for the rest of the day. Probably there was a weeks worth of fat in the steak portion alone, add to that the shclag with chocolate mousse cake. i should have at least just asked for a bowl of the schlag no other dessert necessary. anyhow, way way way way, CARDIAC CITY.

            1. re: kevin

              Hi kevin,

              My thoughts as well. :) I just can't get into eating huge slabs of beef as an entire meal anymore.

          2. Nice review.

            The food looks exactly the same as Peter Luger's though.
            For the most part, the dishes are exactly the same.

            1 Reply
            1. re: A5 KOBE

              Hi A5 KOBE,

              Thank you. I haven't been to Peter Luger's, but thanks for the info and comparison.

            2. Hello Exilekiss.I feel that this type of restaurant is tired, more of a drag when the steaks aren't cooked to perfection nor to your specifications. Great review.

              1 Reply
              1. re: streetgourmetla

                Hi streetgourmetla,

                Thanks, and yes, it depends on what a particular person is in the mood for these days. I think I might've just OD'd on steaks (for a while at least :).

              2. you'll have to make it to NY one day b/c Wolfgang's is not all that good compared to Luger's or Ben & Jack's (which is another Luger's spin in manhattan which I think is just as good)...Wolfgang's has two branches in NY and I was disappointed when I've eaten there and my steak foodie friends agree with me (although I haven't eaten at the LA branch yet, but highly doubt its any different)...not bad by any means on an absolute basis, but not up to the original

                Also, the thing you really need to get is the "bacon" think of a very thick slice of bacon (like a 1/4 inch thick maybe slightly thicked) that is the best bacon ever...i potentially think its better than the steak itself which is very good.

                In terms of your "intensity" comment haha...i def get that, i can't do those type of steak dinners that often, i feel like im going to have a heart attack after

                16 Replies
                1. re: Lau

                  Well, then you have to try the LA outpost of Wolfgang's before you can pass it off as not so great. I have also tried Luger's in Brooklyn, and I just was not impressed in my one and only visit. At my one visit to Wolfgang's in LA, I thought it was good though nowhere near great.

                  1. re: Lau

                    Hi Lau,

                    Thanks for the rec. :) I'll definitely want to try Luger's at least once. And the Bacon sounds delicious. Thanks.

                    1. re: Lau

                      Is there a steak in L.A. that compares to Luger, Lau? Preferably a porterhouse. While I had some average steaks at Luger a few years ago the last 2 times it was the greatest.

                      1. re: epop

                        My favorite steak bar none in la is hte one at dan tana's

                        1. re: kevin

                          Had Dan Tana's and it isn't anything compared to Luger or many others that come to mind. I didn't even want to finish it.

                        2. re: epop

                          well i haven't really eaten at many steakhouses in LA specializing in porterhouse and im not sure one exists (ex-wolfgang's), so i don't really have a rec for you that i know of (sorry for the somewhat unhelpful answer!)

                          btw the thing about steakhouses is that alot of people think of steakhouses with the mindset of a steakhouse is a steakhouse, but really they are different as certain steakhouses specialize in different types of steak (i.e. different cuts of meat). For instance in NY, while i love ben & jacks and lugers for a porterhouse, for other cuts of steak i wouldn't go to either. Usually, I think the problem people have with a B&J's or lugers is either they order incorrectly (i.e. get something like a filet and/or don't get the bacon), the porterhouse is not a cut of meat that they will like anywhere (personal taste preference or they want more ambiance / service (neither place has good ambiance and service at lugers is brisk)

                          the one steakhouse in LA that im very keen on trying is Cut as my friends have told me very good things about it

                          1. re: Lau

                            My biggest gripe with Peter Luger is the "cash only" policy.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              they do have the infamous "Peter Luger Credit Card" too.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                ipse, have you tried Wolfgang's, the menu is virtually the same along with the steak preparation all the way down to the schlag.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  but the execution is weaker (at least the original NY branches)

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    There is only one Peter Luger (not counting the Great Neck location) but it is some 3000 miles away. Wolfgang's does a good job in satisfying my steak needs in a PL kind of way and they take my AX card to boot.

                                  2. re: kevin

                                    Oddly, I prefer Wolfgang's, both in NYC and LA.

                                    Maybe it's just because the surroundings were more modern. Who knows.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      atmosphere wise its definitely alot nicer than luger's...luger's is sort of a dump in my opinion

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        it's an old fashioned German beer hall atmosphere. there might even be sawdust on the floor even though you'll be dropping at least a 100 dollars per person.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          yeah i get the whole nostalgia thing, but its not my cup of tea although food comes way before decor in my book, but all things being equal would like a nice atmosphere

                                  3. re: ipsedixit

                                    a small price to pay for steak bliss and a large bill

                            2. Been here a few times, always got my steaks cooked medium rare. I think it may depend on how busy the place is. This is place is definitely a big group must, too much food for a couple of people IMO. I always skip desert, nothing appealing to me.

                              1. Nice review! I have quite a few steak-loving friends, but I'm with EK and kevin on this one - I'm kinda not into huge steaks anymore. Huge amounts of beef, yes (think Korean BBQ / yakiniku), but not steak. I don't eat fast enough to enjoy a steak all the way through, so it's best to cook a little at a time. For the same amount of money, I'd rather go to Tsuruhashi twice than a place like Wolfgang's once.

                                Still, it's a place to consider next time I get out-voted by my friends.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mrhooks

                                  Hi mrhooks,

                                  Thanks. :) Yah, I agree with you - I'd rather go to Tsuruhashi a few times and space it out, over going to Wolfgang's (or the like) once... Or I'd just like a small portion of well-cooked beef as part of a tasting menu. :)

                                2. I LOVE Lugers. It's true that they are both very similiar. I prefer Luger's sauce to Wolfgangs.
                                  I ate at Wolfgangs twice. The first time I was not impressed. I was actually a little disappointed. We went back the second time during restaurant week. I just couldnt pass up eating at Wolfgangs for $35pp! lol. For your $35 we each got either lobster bisque (not bad but definatly wouldnt order it again) or Wolfgang salad (I prefer a more traditional salad. It was a little too crunchy for me. The shrimp was nice and firm though). You had a few entree choices but we both opted for the cut of meat they offered which was a filet (came out PERFECT. I was suprised because I would have never ordered a filet at either WG or Lugers). Each meal also came with a side. I chose the creamed spinach (I love them. It is more "spinach" than "creamed") and my husband chose the german potatoes (they are fabulous! I prefer them to Lugers hashbrowns. They are suppose to be charred on top). It also came with a dessert. I had the sundae while my husband had some apple tart. The desserts werent amazing and I always maintained that I would prefer the schlag (both in Lugers and here) to have been a little sweeter.

                                  Basically I suggest you guys look into going to Wolfgangs next year during restaurant week. However it's worth a try now too.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: jerseygirldawn

                                    "I prefer Luger's sauce to Wolfgangs. I ate at Wolfgangs twice. "

                                    Blasphemy. Who in their right mind puts "sauce" on their steak!?

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      funny enough that is part of the "traditional" Luger's experience (although not everyone does that obviously)...its this semi sweet tangy sauce. I don't use it for the steak although I think it goes really well with the bacon. The only "sauce" i get on the steak is the rendered fat that is at the bottom of the hot plate and they ask you if you want "sauce" and they pour it over the steak (very good)

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        The sauce actually goes best with the traditional tomato and onion salad rather than the steak.

                                        1. re: New Trial

                                          Hi New Trial, Kevin,

                                          LOL, when I read both of your comments after Lau's, I was thinking... "OMG! New Trial is putting the Rendered Fat 'Sauce' on the Tomato and Onion Salad?! And Kevin puts that on the Onion Rolls?!!"

                                          ... only to realize a few seconds later (thankfully) you were talking about the bottled Wolfgang's regular Sauce. :)

                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                            Yes, I'm afraid that would "render" the salad unpalatable--though if you think about it, a classic burger often has tomato and raw onion on top of some rendered fat.

                                        2. re: Lau

                                          I put the sauce on the onion rolls, and others in the bread basket. as well i heard people douse the classic tomato and onion salad in the steak sauce, but never on the actual Poterhouse.

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            Lest they now mention ketchup on a Luger porterhouse.

                                            1. re: epop

                                              Most people use the sauce for the bread--there is a Peter Luger "jelly roll" in which you break open the onion roll and pour in the sauce with a slight touch of butter.....to flavor my steak, I use the natural juices (i.e. grease) that accompany the steak.

                                              Agree with above poster--different steakhouses are known for different cuts.

                                              I will have to try the Wolfgangs--Beverly Hills, as I just returned from the one on Park Avenue and felt it was as good as Peter Luger--which is the standard by which I measure all steakhouses against. To date, the best and only steakhouse I have frequented on the West Coast that I find consistently excellent is The Metropolitan Grill in Seattle (their NY Strip is the house specialty).

                                              Only observation that differs from above--at Park Avenue location my friends ordered the steak medium and it came out medium rare (find by my standards)....also, if you go with 4 people rather than ordering a porterhouse for 4 I would suggest ordering 2 separate porterhouses for 2.

                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                and don't ever order the porterhouse for three. it just doesn't work as well.

                                    2. I ate there for the first time over this last weekend (1-30-10) as part of a large party in the back private dining room. The space was comfortable and good for mingling and talking before sitting down for dinner. The waiters were pleasant and accommodating, the drinks generous, but the salmon tartar appetizers was served on limp toast and had little flavor. The crab cakes were very good. When it came to the first course, the thick beekfsteak tomatoes were simply not ripe, flavorless and boring, the mozzarella bland and texture wise average.

                                      I ordered a NY steak which, when it came in enormous size and not cooked as ordered, was sliced into big pieces by the waiter and was most unappetizing and tough. I tasted a friend's fillet which was much more flavorful and tender.

                                      The restaurant in the front was packed and noisy. All in all the company was great at our party and the restaurant a total disappointment.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Hank Matisse

                                        i went last sunday and left content:

                                        - wolfgang salad: very fresh greens and the shrimp was cooked spot on
                                        - new york strip: ordered rare and cooked perfectly. nice char on the exterior and cool on the inside. no gristle to be found.
                                        - cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake: both forgetful, tasted like they were frozen and defrosted.

                                        1. re: wilafur

                                          Hi wilafur,

                                          Thanks for your thoughts. :) Did you like your NY Strip better than their Ribeye or Porterhouse? Thanks.

                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                            exilekiss, i cannot speak to the other steaks as i ony had the ny strip. but it was very good.

                                            i forgot to mention the sides in my previous post.

                                            - mashed potatoes: i make them better at home
                                            - german potatoes: burnt......yeah, 40% was charred and could have been used as briquettes, however, the edible portion was decent.

                                            1. re: exilekiss

                                              so the desserts there are no good???

                                          2. re: Hank Matisse

                                            Hi Hank,

                                            Thanks for the report back. Sorry to hear about the steaks. I haven't been back since I reviewed it 1.5 years ago. Good to know.

                                          3. The Cheeseburger at Wolfgang's is world class.

                                            The Value: The enormous cheeseburger (I could only eat 1/2), fries, and rings was only $14. It was enough for 2 meals--my leftovers were enough for dinner. Considering the quality and sheer volume of food, it was a very good value. While I kept the vegetables on the side, I made a point of sampling them. The tomatoes at Wolfgang's Steakhouse were completely respectable. Chef Cid clearly took the time to inspect his own produce.

                                            Burger Review : This was the best cheeseburger that we have tried in Los Angeles. The burger at Umami tasted clever and "photoshopped" when compared to the powerful, honest flavors in the burger at Wolfgang's Steakhouse. Wolfgang Zwiener and Chef Gonzales....we salute you, and we thank you for setting the bar in Los Angeles when it comes to excellence in burgers.

                                            www.theburgerreview.com

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                                            Wolfgang's Steakhouse
                                            445 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: TheBurgerBusters

                                              Thanks. Will definitely give it a try.

                                            2. Went here last night with a group. Based on the reviews here, I went in wanting a burger but we ended up eating family style with a few porterhouse's and sides. Although the steaks were cooked absolutely perfectly medium-rare and were very tender (especially the filet) there was no beefiness or nice char to be had. Just a tender steak with little flavor. For those prices, I can cook a better steak at home on my weber! The sides were fine. Nothing to rave or complain about. I won't be back here on my own dime but if someone else is buying it's a burger all the way for me.

                                              1. Waste of fine meat....2 burgers ordered medium rare were dry and well done...no time to send back because had to return to work...no comp offered...too bad, a lot of promise but poor execution...seems similar to experience of other folks here.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                  Yes, a second visit resulted in an experience much like yours. I was fortunate enough to have time for a re-fire, and they did comp mine, but it certainly makes me gun shy over a return visit. 50+ minutes is a long time to wait for a cheeseburger.

                                                  www.TheBurgerReview.com

                                                2. And if you're craving a steak house experience on a budget, they will serve their $20 burger from their lunch menu at night. An exceptional burgher, and the best part, no having to choose between fries or onion rings, it comes with both! Add a well martini during happy hour ($7) and don't forget the basket of complimentary home made chips....you'll be sated and cholesterol clogged for just around $30.