America's favourite steak house comes to London
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Steak, British
Address : The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam St, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 6HT, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.smithandwollensky.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Thurs: 12pm-11.30pm; Fri-Sat: 12pm-12am; Sun: 12pm-4.30pm
Closest Tube : Charing Cross, Embankment
Across the Atlantic, Smith & Wollenksy has long reigned supreme as one of the titans of USDA Prime, slinging gigantic cuts of cattle that would make a cowboy cry. For a long time, the US was a keystone for British restaurateurs who wanted to cut into the steakhouse game, but recently the tables have begun to turn, and while Americans often have pole position as some of London‘s best steak restaurants, English eateries have put British provenance front and centre. Smith & Wollensky aims to toe the line between the two, with an overwhelmingly American experience shot through with a few British influences.
The design at Smith & Wollensky is about as American as you can get, transporting you to northern American cities with big Irish populations such as Boston, New York or Chicago. It‘s no surprise that they went to Martin Brudnizki Design Studios to do the job, they‘ve already orchestrated works of Art Deco brilliance with throwback steak restaurants such as The Rib Room. It‘s a mammoth restaurant, spread across two floors with an emerald green and ruby red colour palette, more polished brass than the Titanic, and dark timber panelling throughout. There are three smart private dining rooms that are ideal for both meat and meetings. As we took our seats we noticed a couple of specials chalked up on the board, including an enormous 1.5 kilo porterhouse that would give a lion indigestion.
We settled down with a gin martini and a bloody mary and apprised ourselves of the menu. American classics such as the pea and ham hock soup, scallops, jumbo lump crab cake and jumbo shrimp utilised the finest ingredients, a fresh and appetising introduction to the main event. We opted for the USDA prime beef but there are British cuts as well. An immense 24 ounce ribeye on the bone was immersed in a Cajun marinade and prepared in a broiler. We also really enjoyed a sirloin that was served with a gorgonzola and bacon crust. The best cut we experienced was the USDA Prime sirloin, which was given a sumptuous charcoal crust on the grill and was honestly one of the best slices of beef we've enjoyed in 2017.
Some time should be spent extolling the virtues of the sides, which were very good indeed. The mighty American triumvirate of buttermilk onion rings, creamed spinach and steak fries were all executed with aplomb. Desserts also were some of the S&W‘s strongest offerings - particularly a creamy milk chocolate mousse parfait with bourbon soaked bananas. The wine list deserves to be championed as well, with an extensive array of wines from around the world available by the glass. Smith & Wollensky is not for the calorie-conscious or the parsimonious, but it is great for those who want the North American steakhouse experience.