When visiting downtown Chicago there are some landmarks that always stick out and grab your attention. One of those for me has always been the Smith and Wollensky restaurant. It sits above one of the many Chicago marinas and in the summertime is appears to be a great place to visit after a day out on your yacht. Vince Vaughn also seems to like this location, movies like The Breakup and The Dilemma have scenes here. Smith and Wollensky have several locations around the country and have a great reputation in all of their locations. Smith and Wollensky participated in Chicago Restaurant Week this year and we saw this as a perfect opportunity for us to try this establishment.
Upon arrival we were seated at a window seat overlooking the Chicago River. Shortly after sitting down we were greeted by David (not the same David from Spiaggia) who was wonderful. He had a wonderful conversation with us and made us feel like we were the only couple in the entire world. Seriously, he was awesome! While we looked through the drink menu he brought us some bread and butter. He was able to accommodate Lauren’s new found liking for cucumber vodka with a custom martini just for her. I ordered the Kentucky Side Car as I enjoy seeing all of the different twists on a traditional Old Fashioned. We both found our drinks quite delightful and enjoyed them with the bread and butter David brought to us earlier while we waited for our first course.
For our first course Lauren ordered the Rib Eye Carpaccio which she had reservations on to begin with. Generally speaking, Lauren does not usually order or like anything raw. But, with the Restaurant Week menu, this was a great opportunity to take a gamble on something untraditional. She was very pleasantly surprised! She thought it was delicious and thought the saltiness of the parmesan cheese really brought out the rich flavor of the rib eye. It was soooo good and she will definitely order this again! Overall, this was the big hit of the meal for Lauren! I ordered the classic wedge salad. It was served ice cold with generous portions of blue cheese dressing and bacon. It was everything that one would expect from a wedge salad.
For our second course we both ordered the filet of beef. However we topped/crusted it differently. Lauren opted to get hers Oscar Style. I opted to have mine gorgonzola crusted. Both steaks were cooked to our desired temperature and the toppings were a hit. Lauren had large pieces of crab and the hollandaise was not over whelming. At most places, the crab is very small chunks, that was not the case here! The crab was served in really big chunks! My gorgonzola crust was great and the flavor added left me wanting more. The little gingerly potatoes and asparagus spears were the perfect accompaniment to the steak! This meal, no bites were left behind. Soooo good!
Overall Smith and Wollensky was everything I was hopping that it would be. Excellent cocktails, excellent food and rounded up by excellent service. On our way out we asked for a tour of the rest of the restaurant and the manager gladly took us through the entire restaurant where we arrived just in time to see a happy diner receive their Tomahawk steak being served. This gigantic steak is served hanging from a metal hook atop a pan of potatoes. Yes! The potatoes are in the right place at the right time! They catch all of the wonderful, juicy goodness that drips from the Tomahawk steak! While we did not order this steak this time, it is definitely on our list of items that we must try! It was a showstopper for sure! The wine cellar and other private rooms contained a lot of restaurant and sports history. We would be thrilled to visit this or any other Smith and Wollensky again. The food, the staff and the experience were a win in our book!