I first went to a Smith and Wollensky restaurant in Miami over ten years ago and from the get go I was bowled over by the fantastic food and great service. In following years, I went to a few more outposts around the States and always had an outstanding meal. Therefore I was delighted when Smith & Wollensky opened in London in June 2015 - I wasn't so delighted when I saw the prices however as they are pretty steep. Despite this, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves last week to a belated Valentine's Day supper.
The restaurant is big and airy and has that real American steakhouse feel to it....I liked it. We were immediately shown to our table and we ordered drinks whilst we perused the menu - not that I needed to as I already knew what I was going to eat. I had advised Pascal not to have a starter so we could go to town on the mains and sides.
Pascal ordered a 395g USDA Prime dry-aged sirloin with bearnaise sauce and being French he ordered it blue. I ordered a 400g British Rib-Eye medium rare, Gorgonzola crusted with bacon and scallions. For sides we ordered a truffled Mac and cheese, creamed spinach and an iceberg wedge with blue cheese, smoked bacon lardons and tomato. I had read on the square meal website that the sides could easily feed a family of four and I was looking forward to literally rolling out the door.....
Despite very attentive service, the food took 40 minutes to arrive - and I am sad to say we couldn't have been more disappointed. Firstly both our steaks were overcooked especially Pascal's - not very impressive for a restaurant where the main focus is steak.
I had ordered the exact same steak last year in Las Vegas and it had been amazing but this was completely different. The pictures below show my steak in London followed by the exact same meal in Vegas! My steak at the London restaurant couldn't even be called "Gorgonzola crusted", it basically just had some sauce slopped on. Not what I was expecting.
Then the truffled mac and cheese and creamed spinach were tiny (I think they could only feed a family of four mice), plus they weren't hot and were both pretty bland. We did however enjoy the iceberg wedge - thank goodness.
We were so gutted as we had been looking forward to the meal for ages and I have to admit it was one of the most disappointing meals I have had in years and I think this is the first negative review I have ever written on my blog. We were honest with the waitress and she very kindly deducted 50% off our bill (it still came to £100 and that only included 1 glass of wine). Despite being 9pm on a Friday night, the restaurant was half empty and I can understand why. When you are charging such high prices, you expect high quality food, give me Hawksmoor over this any day!
As I mentioned the service was exceptional however that is not enough for me to recommend or return.....I will wait till I am stateside again or easier still, just make my own blue cheese steaks!
Smith & Wollensky
The Adelphi Building
Covent Garden Riverside
1-11 John Adam Street
Tel: 020 7321 6007