"Specialising in prime cuts of USDA steak and delicious seafood, it's a food lovers dream..."Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
Autumn brings with it a slew of new restaurant openings across town, but for now may I turn your attention to one that arrived in our shores quietly over the summer but - for the fine diners amongst you - certainly shouldn't be overlooked.
Eagle-eyed Devil Wears Prada viewers may recognise American steak emporium Smith & Wollensky as the establishment to which Anne Hathaway as the much-berated assistant is sent to collect her boss's lunch; if it's good enough for (Anna Wintour-inspired) Miranda Priestly it would be rude not to try it.
The US import opened its doors in June, in the historic grade-II listed Adelphi building off the Strand, the perfect location for a civilised supper. With a glamorous old-New-York style bar it'd be a shame to waste your visit without trying a classic Old Fashioned pre-dinner, perfectly blended with a your choice of whisky (Woodford Reserve, always) and quite the best I've sampled in town. With a cocktail list over 30 classics reminiscent of the best Mad Men-inspired downtown bars you'd be a fool not try sample at least one.
With a menu specialising in prime cuts of USDA steak, and delicious seafood, it's a food lovers dream. We started with a signature jumbo crab cake and a plate of completely melt-in-the-mouth, soft as butter seared Scottish King scallops, served with a butterbean and carrot purée and bacon. Having spotted the food envy-inducing crispy salt and pepper squid and Cumbrae oysters on the next table however, I can concur I will be returning at a later date to try them both as well.
Whilst the lure of a shellfish platter, resplendent with lobster, crabmeat, shrimp, oysters and clams was almost too much to resist, for my main I plumped for a 2lb North Atlantic lobster with garlic butter, and boy am I glad I did. Although I (of course. Why wouldn't you?) indulged in a side of truffled mac and cheese (unnecessary and yet so delicious...) all this sweet, tender meat needed was a splash of butter and a green leaf salad. The only time I've had lobster better was on the beach at a wedding in Antigua - discounted due to the extenuating circumstances. A side of sautéed spinach and a sliced tomato and sweet onion salad accompanied my companion's special of a 22oz T-bone, a feat I wasn't sure he would tackle and yet he polished off every bite. With all of their steaks dry-aged on site for no less than 24 days you'd be hard fought to find a more flavourful cut in London; don't tell Hawksmoor, but the comment was that they were well and truly trumped.
If that wasn't enough to tickle your fancy, make sure you leave room for dessert. The cheeseboard is always a worthy investment, especially when accompanied with a glass of Quady Starboard Vintage port, and if you're looking for another cocktail recommendation my points are awarded to the beautifully named Breakfast at Tiffany's; ciroc vodka, orange marmalade, lemon and Canard-Duchêne champagne. I can also heartily recommend the creamy milk chocolate mousse parfait with bourbon soaked bananas. There are no words. Just try it.
In spite of appearances, dining at Smith & Wollensky needn't break the bank. With a tempting pre-theatre/set menu featuring two courses for £22 and three for £26 one can get a taste of the good without the hefty bill; it may not get you the lobster but a sirloin carpaccio and pan roasted organic salmon fillet is certainly not to be sniffed at. Sunday's offer a bottomless brunch and also worth noting is the menu coming up for Thanksgiving at the end of this month; if there's one things Americans do well it's holiday food. Available from 26th-28th November at a set price of £55 per person, it features (amongst other choices) a proper turkey roast with sausage and cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and red wine gravy with sides of roasted sprouts with smoked bacon, whipped potatoes, bourbon roasted carrots (sold...) and green bean casserole. With a pumpkin and pecans pie with cinnamon whipped cream on the dessert list, I know where I'm headed for Thanksgiving this year.
Laurel reviewed Smith and Wollensky on Mon 16 Nov 2015