I had dinner at Smith & Wollensky with a group of six colleagues on a business trip. Although we didn't have reservations on a Friday night, we were greeted in a really friendly way by the maitre d' (who also checked in with us at the end of the meal) and seated in a special room with a glass wall looking directly into the (massive) kitchen--felt a little like being on the set of Gordon Ramsey's show, "Hell's Kitchen"--very cool. We had a seasoned, highly professional waiter who saw to our every need. Some of the party ordered steaks to be split, and even a salad, and there was no problem (same with the massive chocolate cake for dessert). Everything is a la carte; I ordered a 10 oz. filet mignon au poivre, and the table ordered several (shareable) side dishes such as asparagus, sweet potatoes, or high-end hash browns. Others had fish dishes that they thoroughly enjoyed. The steaks, which represent the top 2% of prime beef in the U.S., are dry-aged on the property. My first bite confirmed it: melt-in-your-mouth quality filet, done just as I ordered, nicely peppercorned and just enough to be very filling (the steaks also come in 14 oz. sizes for people who need to eat beyond their body's limits). There's a good wine list (glasses range from $12-16) and the deserts are fabulous. This is not a cheap place: I paid $89 with tip and taxes for two glasses of chardonnay, my steak, and my share of the side dishes ($10 for one). But it was worth it: the food was terrific, the service fabulous, and the view of a busy, high-end kitchen really interesting. Would definitely recommend for a business dinner, special occasion, or an evening followed by a strenuous workout the next day to make up for the indulgence.
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