It seems for the last couple of years it has been a trend for more expensive multi-star restaurants to add a cheaper option within the same building or nearby. Most of these versions were created to counter act the negative effects of the Recession. Most come in the form of a bar (Craftbar, The Bar Room at the Modern, etc). Wollensky’s Grill doesn’t necessarily help to ease the prices but does fall in the same premise of being a bar room and offering later hours than the main Smith & Wollensky’s. A similar menu, closer proximity to the bar and open til 2am help to differentiate it from the namesake famous Steakhouse.
Last week my parents came into the city for brunch and we wanted an alternative to our typical spot (Chin Chin) so we tried Wollensky’s Grill. The area is smaller than the main restaurant with a similar but scaled down menu. For an app we ordered fried zucchini & onion rings. The portion size was large and the vegetables were tasty and cooked well. My only complaint is that I wish they served another dipping sauce besides ketchup.
For a main my mom ordered the burger and raved about how delicious it tasted. The burger patty was cooked to a perfect medium (as ordered) with a nice crispy char on the outside. It was served with lettuce, tomato and very well cooked fresh skin on French fries. This was definitely the best plate we ordered.
My dad ordered a lobster roll, which was served with a crème fresh and not mayo. For $30 the lobster roll was TINY! Unfortunately you can get a MUCH better tasting same sized roll at Luke’s Lobster for $14. My dad seemed to enjoy the roll but I had a few bites and was not impressed. Unless you are craving a sit-down restaurant lobster roll don’t care about the price and can’t make it to Luke’s I do not recommend this version.
I ordered the pan roasted chicken because I was trying to be healthy. I asked the waitress which part of the chicken it was and she told me it was a leg and thigh. I was excited because I prefer dark meat but when it came out it was a dry breast and wing. The chicken was cooked fine but it just didn’t live up to expectations. I was hoping for a moist well-cooked & flavored chicken with a crispy skin and I didn’t enjoy the dish at all. The chicken was served with string beans and carrots which I ate but they were bland. Don’t get me wrong I may not have been a fair judge (I can’t remember the last time I ordered a chicken dish at a restaurant) but my dad took half of it home to make chicken salad the next day.
The drinks were really well made and the bartender definitely deserves more credit than the chefs. If I do ever come back here it will be for a well made/expensive dirty martini.
If you are craving the Smith & Wollensky experience please do yourself a favor and go to the real restaurant room and order a steak. This place otherwise is not worth the trip or the money.
Convenient to Midtown
Onion Rings/Fried Zucchini
Typically no wait for a table
Tasteless non-steak dishes
Waitress did not know enough about the menu
Limited selection when the main kitchen is not open (try to visit during meal hours)
Overall Rating: 2/5 Stars