Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's In a Name? Take Two @ Wolfgang's Steakhouse (Beverly Hills)

What's in a name? Apparently if your first name is Wolfgang and you have a steakhouse with your first name on it, it's big enough deal to have a lawsuit involved. Hence, the war of words of whose reputation was better in having that name. Both would still get pwned if Amadeus wants a piece of this action.

DineLA Restaurant Week afford some of us common folks a chance to "taste test" out a three course prefix menu for a mere $34 for dinner. Just like my review for the Border Grill, I was very excited to try out a place I normally would never go because based on all calculations, I would have to spent two full tank of gas for one meal here. Believe me, sacrifices are made and a steak in Beverly Hills are not high on the priority list.

When our lovely foodie friend, Gourmet Pig decided to extend myself and RumDood an invitation to dine here for the DineLA Week special, we both jumped on it right away. It's funny... I can called him the "Dood", but I can't called her "The Pig". What was that all about?

Speaking of which, we don't get the fuss about name "Wolfgang" either and especially on whom was more known for cooking a steak. Does it have to be Wolfgang Puck to enjoy a steak? Wolfgang Zwiener, the man behind this steakhouse with his proud name have been in the restaurant business for 4 decades. Zwiener promised an USDA "Prime" graded beef for every steak. This is where this place was put to the test to see if we could actually taste that difference.

When we entered the front dining room with a full bar, we have all thought the restaurant was very classy in their upscale take on a steakhouse restaurant. This was not the "trendy" outtakes that STK or BLT have tried to convey for an upscale steakhouse. Wolfgang's was going for elegance and classy, while the other two were going for the hip factor.

We were happy enough to be in the front dining room next to the bar. However we were going to get happier once we passed the front dining room and entered a private glass enclave room surrounded by shelves of wine bottles. That's when we were starting to get impressed. The Dood and I thought the Notorious P.I.G. used her influences to secure this table. She insisted nothing of such have taken place. (We would have been totally impressed if she have that kind of connection). There was a lot more leg room and we didn't have to bump elbow room with other diners at this particular spot in the restaurant.

As we have enjoyed the atmosphere and luck of scoring a prime dining table, we decided to stick to our original plan at ordering from the DineLA menu instead of the more expensive regular menu. For appetizer, we went in different directions. While my dining mates both went with the lobster bisque, I have decided to go with the popular Wolfgang's salad. The salad comes with chopped shrimps, bacon, tomatoes, onions, string beans, and red peppers on a lettuce cup. It was a safer bet and a much refresher item to start off before the meat.

Wolfgang's Salad (photo courtesy of Exile Kiss)

I have to call in a pinch hitter for this photo as I was either hypnotized by the Notorious P.I.G. or maybe I was too engrossed talking to the Dood as my photo of the Wolfgang's salad was too blurry. The photo of the Wolfgang's salad was kindly shared by Exile Kiss.

Now here's the bummer part about the DineLA menu, it did not contain the most popular dish on the menu: the porterhouse steak. The best item was the filet mignon. I wanted to try their Grilled King Salmon, but I was advised against it. The final item, the lamb chops seemed like a risky bet considering it would be a big miss if it was not cooked thoroughly. So I went with the majority in our table and ordered the medium rare Filet Mignon.

Medium Rare Filet Mignon with German Potatoes

At first I was going to complain about the burnt on the outside edge of the steak. It looked like it was left on the hot plate too long. Then I read in the NY Magazine about Zwiener's former work place, Peter Luger's, (where he got his first start as the head waiter in that establishment) which stated that it was very common for that kind of mark to exist on the steak at Peter Luger's.

Is it worth remembering? According to NY Magazine, indeed the steak would not be the same without that mark. After having the medium rare steak cooked almost about right, it wasn't really a big deal. The German potatoes that accompanied the steak is almost like a hash brown with onions. Oh wait, it is hash brown with onions! German potatoes just sound so much more fancy.

To end the night, my dining companions both wanted apple strudel, while I went against the grain and took the Cheesecake. Neither one of us enjoyed our dessert. They both complained about being too dry with their strudel and my cheesecake with huge slob of whip cream on the side was too boring. I'm not hating it, but it wasn't really that extraordinary.


Hence, the big question: Was my night extraordinary in Zwiener's Steakhouse? Yes and No. Yes in that the service was outstanding throughout the night. We got lucked into a better dining table in that private glass enclave room (we would have been ok in the front room anyways). The price was worth it for $34 as I found out that the filet mignon itself would have cost $40 for regular price alone. The only reservations we had was that if this place was a paygrade above other steakhouse like Ruth Chris's or even STK. It was, but not quite extraordinary we had hoped.

I think if we came in next time to order that $50 porterhouse steak, we might enjoy it bit more. However, we did enjoyed the ambiance and our dining experience here. The food itself was on par, but it just didn't go above and beyond. It does have a huge potential and I think this place would make a great spot for a romantic dinner.

Read the Gourmet Pig's take on Wolfgang's Steakhouse at the same night here.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse By Wolfgang Zwiener
445 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0640


Wolfgang's Steakhouse By Wolfgang Zwiener on Urbanspoon

Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Los Angeles


Unknown said...

I always thought this is Wolfgang Puck's restaurant... *_*

kevinEats said...

Time to go to CUT?

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi Eileen,

Yeah, I think a lot of people got the same confusion. That is the reason why Wolfgang Puck wanted to sue Wolfgang Zwenier to have the name of the restaurant to be change.

I think people will definitely tell about the difference when they get in.

Hey Kevineats,

Yes! Let's do Cut! Are you up for the 3rd round? The Gourmet Pig and I are very interested in going to this place.

kevinEats said...

I wouldn't mind going back. When are you guys thinking of going?

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey kevinEats,

Let me contact you a little later on that as I need to confirm it. We'll talk about this very soon. Thanks!

EatTravelEat said...

I was thinking that this post was going to be about a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Apparently not! The exterior looks nice but the food looks like what you described it as. The steak looks very juicy though.

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi EatTravelEat,

The steak wasn't that bad at all. To me, it was good, but a bit pricey. For that price we paid, there was an enormous expectation. We all had better steak elsewhere for filet mignon. I think we paid for the ambiance and service, which were both spectacular and outstanding.

I think the food just didn't match the place and the price. It's still worth going though, but next time we are ordering the porterhouse.

Kat said...

I heard from Burumun about this place. I didn't know you were going too, I would have been more motivated to join to meet you ^_^ It seems like all the DineLA places this year have mostly been disappointing =*( It sucks that they don't put their specialty on the menu... even though it is expensive, they could have done a supplemental deal so that diners can try their best dish.

Kat said...

Oooh CUT! I want to go! I was tricked by friends last time that they might go to CUT but ended up going to Ruth's Chris and ended up spending a fortune =*( Must wash the bad taste out of my mouth lol

kevinEats said...

I used to love Ruth's Chris, before I knew any better. But to their credit, they were the ones who got me into steak initially, with their filet mignon. CUT, though, is on another level.

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi Kat,

Yeah, just like KevinEats stated below you, Ruth Chris used to be my go to place for steak. Don't tell anyone this, but I used to think Black Angus was da bomb for steak before Ruth Chris. Now we all know better. LOL

For DineLA, it's more of cheaper price for certain dish to draw you into the place. Some are good value, some are not. You just have to price compare to see if it's worth it. Ruth Chris for me was probably not. Sorry to see you and Burumun got the bait and switched on last year's DineLA.

Hey KevinEats,

Same here. Ruth Chris got me into steaks too. I'm not a steak expert, but they got me hooked.