They have recently opened a Smith and Wollensky in London and I am keen to give it a go, however the problem with bringing these American imports to England is they charge the same price in pounds as they do in dollars so it works out pretty expensive! Therefore it was much better on the wallet to eat here in Las Vegas and I am very pleased I did.
Smith and Wollensky is a chain of steak houses which was created in 1977 by Alan Stillman who also created TGI Fridays….a favourite of our family growing up. According to Stillman, there was never a Mr Smith or Mr Wollensky involved. He opened the Manhattan phone book twice and randomly pulled out two names, Smith and Wollensky. The announcements for the opening, however, carried the names Charlie Smith and Ralph Wollensky. Stillman later admitted that Charlie and Ralph were the names of his dogs!
There are 9 locations around the States and now a restaurant in England too - I have visited the ones in Miami, New York and now Vegas.
The menu is a favourite of mine - plenty of seafood starters like crab cakes or tuna tartare, salads such as an iceberg wedge and they also are famous for the split pea soup. For mains there are plenty of steaks or fish or other meats like veal to choose from and lots of tempting sides.
I knew the portions were huge so didn't have a starter and instead went straight for a Gorgonzola crusted 10oz filet mignon with a side of truffled mac and cheese.
While I waited for my supper to arrive, I could not resist the warm white soft dinner rolls flavoured with salt and rosemary - absolutely divine.
Then the main attraction arrived and it really was impressive. The steak was cooked rare and was perfectly pink, there was plenty of Gorgonzola on top as well as a cheesy sauce with bacon bits and spring onions. It was AMAZING!
I had no room for pudding unfortunately - the table next to me had a gigantic chocolate cake which looked magnificent - I guess I am just going to have to go to the one in London and to be honest, I cannot wait!!
Smith & Wollensky
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY, LAS VEGAS
I recently went to Las Vegas for half term and despite the fact it is full of amazing restaurants, I was most excited about visiting The Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake factory is a chain of restaurants that originated in Beverly Hills, California in 1978 and now there are nearly 200 in the States and a few in the Middle East. I am desperate for them to open one in England. I have many good memories of eating at their restaurant in Aventura Mall, Florida with my father many years ago.
They have an extensive menu - I couldn't even begin to list how much choice they give you but think pasta, burgers, salads, pizza, omelettes, sandwiches, steaks, chicken….and so on. There is also an extremely vast pudding menu with over 35 cheesecakes as well as other desserts….my idea of Heaven!
It is times like this when I wish I had a never ending appetite….which makes a change as normally I want the opposite. I want to order practically everything.
My favourite dish of all time here is the appetiser of Buffalo Blasts which are fried crispy parcels of chicken, cheese and buffalo sauce served with celery and blue cheese. I love them as I adore buffalo sauce - I wish they served it more over here - and I am obsessed with anything blue cheese. These are crispy and cheesy and also have a kick.
I love that this is just a starter portion!!
As I said my dad used to be a fan of The Cheesecake Factory so I had to have his favourite dish as well - Chicken Pot Stickers which are pan fried chicken dumplings served with soy ginger sesame sauce. Delicious, tasty and surprisingly light.
Even though I certainly did not need anymore fried food I was keen to try the crispy Cuban rolls which were crispy wrappers with slow roasted pork, ham, melted Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. I love the fact these just the same as spring rolls yet had a completely different filling to usual. This is definitely a starter to share though as they did get a little too much as were slightly greasy.
Obviously you cannot come to The Cheesecake Factory and not have cheesecake and you are completely spoilt for choice - there is normal vanilla, Reese's peanut butter, cookie dough, Godiva chocolate, red velvet - the list in never ending! I went for the salted caramel cheesecake and the Oreo dream extreme cheesecake - both were rich and divine! The salted caramel cheesecake is a creamy caramel mousse and a caramel cheesecake on a blonde brownie topped with salted caramel. The Oreo cheesecake is Oreo cookies baked into a vanilla cheesecake with layers of fudge cake and Oreo cookie mousse, topped with milk chocolate icing. Mouthwatering!!!
Wow what a meal - I literally couldn't move from the restaurant. I think if I lived in the States I would be obese and that is no joke. The food is not gourmet but it hits the spot, there is plenty of choice and you know what you are going to get. There are some healthy low calorie items on the menu however I didn't even look at these! Service was quick, friendly and efficient. Yes you tip more in America but your servers definitely work harder for their gratuity.
I wish they would open a Cheesecake Factory here but considering the amount I would eat there, it is probably best for my waistline that they don't!
The Cheesecake Factory