How do you take an iconic brand and update it while retaining its heart and soul? Ask Smith & Wollensky.
They’ve successfully done it with the grand reopening of the all new Wollensky’s Grill in Chicago. The new Wollensky’s Grill concept stays true to the heart of best-in-class dining while exploring culinary avenues influenced by shareable dining and social interaction. We experienced it ourselves . . . see how this sounds.
We started with several appetizers–more than enough for the three at our table, and completely delivering on their promise of distinctive shareables. First to catch our eye was the Burrata Bar, featuring the soft, creamy cheese of the Gods otherwise known as hand-rolled mozzarella. You can get it four different ways; we chose the roasted beet and pistachio, giving us a surprisingly sweet and balanced tasting, accompanied by slender cheese crackers.
We couldn’t resist trying the Lobster Corn Dogs! After all, they are a perfect example of our belief in the “junk foodie” who loves high end food delivered in an everyday fashion. These turned out to be lobster meat stuffed into a light batter and fried corn dog style on a stick. The sauce was an upscale cognac mustard sauce, and the tart coleslaw on the plate was a nice palate cleanser after the seafood.
Which meant we could move on to the best thing on the menu. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about pâté. The Duck & Chicken Liver Mousse was lick-the-bowl delicious, and even better piled high on the tarragon and sea salt fried dough. There is plenty to share, so take your time to savor this appetizer and enjoy the various flavors that will hit your tongue. In other words, the chef has created something worth savoring.
We weren’t done just at the appetizers. Since everything is designed as shareable, we ordered the house specialty: a smoked rib eye with blistered shishito peppers and chimichurri sauce–again, another surprise that delighted with the hint of vinegar balancing out the smoky meat perfectly. It came sliced and easy to split so we could all taste it, and taste it again.
Our other selections was the not-to-miss Berkshire Pork Chop with green apples and . . . wait for it . . . tequila. It was truly delicious, and we heard from others that they felt the same way about the Seared Scallops & Braised Oxtail and the Roasted Chicken. Next trip.
We have one more recommendation, since it’s something you might overlook in the “Trimmings” section: Yorkshire Pudding with black pepper gravy. Turns out Smith & Wollensky’s Executive Chef, Matt King, did a stint in Ireland and while there made it his job to perfect the art of the Yorkshire Pudding, those light popover-like pieces of delight that, when done right, really add to a beef dish. Let’s just put it on the table–Yorkshire Pudding can sometimes be flavorless, but not in this case. They are tasty, beautiful to behold and fun to share. This section of the menu also features Poutine with foie gras gravy and a few other interesting sides that make you wonder what else Chef Matt may have up his culinary sleeve!
The steaks are the classic Smith & Wollensky USDA Prime dry-aged and charbroiled steaks, only shareable. For more on their beef, check out our story about Prime Food Distributor.
Wollensky’s Grill is located in the expansive all-glass lower level of the Chicago riverfront restaurant.
Disclaimer: Smith & Wollensky is a client of The Food Channel’s parent company; however, no compensation was received for this article.