Smith & Wollensky, food review: ‘Classy joint serves up succulent steak’

Steak at Smith & Wollensky. Picture: Giles Christopher

Steak at Smith & Wollensky. Picture: Giles Christopher - Credit: Giles Christopher - Media Wisdom

Can you have too much of a good thing?

As we hauled ourselves out of our seats at Smith & Wollensky, full to the brim, it was a valid question.

Situated just off The Strand in John Adam Street, this American steak and seafood restaurant – the first of the brand to have opened in Europe – is approaching its first birthday.

As you might expect from the location, it is a classy establishment with a fine décor – and such finery is reflected in some of the prices, with the cocktails all costing £12-14.

A visit does not have to be excessively expensive – a burger costs £16 – but we decided to sample some of the pricier signature dishes, and we were not disappointed.

The crab cake (£18) is served with mustard cognac and ginger mayonnaise sauces and is a highly recommended starter, while sushi-grade tuna is used in the tuna tartare (£16).

For the main course, we both opted for steak instead of the ornate shellfish platters.

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The 283g Irish fillet mignon (£39) has four different possible toppings (starting from an extra £4), including crab meat, asparagus and hollandaise sauce.

This cut is a favourite among women, apparently, and after sampling it, my girlfriend could certainly see why.

The meat is a little more flavoursome than my selection – the 595g NY cut bone-in sirloin (£52) – but the latter is still a succulent and sizeable piece of meat, served with both bearnaise and peppercorn sauce.

The whipped potatoes (£5) go nicely on the side, and the highly flavoursome pan-fried field mushrooms (£5) are particularly recommended. The baked potato (£4) is imaginatively presented – an arc over the top holds pots containing butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon bits.

By this point we were rather full, but we weren’t going to leave without trying the ‘gigantic chocolate cake’ (£18), which is recommended for two to four people to share.

It is certainly not false advertising.

Pizza boards are required to build each layer – of which there are five – and the result is awesome in every way.

This was both the biggest and tastiest chocolate cake either of us had ever eaten – so big and tasty, in fact, that we took the rare step of taking half of it home and it lasted another three days.

The cake is worthy of another visit in itself, and we certainly intend to see if the seafood is as good as the steak.

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