Remember how I've temporarily sworn off carbohydrates? Lest you think this has hampered my ability to eat out, think again. That's half the charm of the diet. The all-meat, all-the-time diet, really the brainchild of TPB this fall, led us to Smith & Wollensky.
Located in the posh Rittenhouse Hotel, this particular branch of the New York-based steakhouse offers spectacular views. Speaking of which, thanks to TPB's charming forethought, we were seated overlooking Rittenhouse Square. This time of year, the square is lit up with a multitude of white ball-shaped lights. Debate whether the multi-color variety are better all you want, having the lights there is purely magical. The view also allowed us to ogle the fancy cars, undoubtedly belonging to the many celebrities who choose to stay at the Rittenhouse when in Philadelphia.
Also magical is the service offered at a high-end steakhouse, which Smith & Wollensky executed well. Our bottled water was wheeled to us on a cart with lemon and lime, causing TPB to quip that this was done so the water wouldn't get tired out with the journey to our table. This younger server must have overheard our comments regarding the low-carb diet because our main waiter made reference to it and helpfully steered us away from certain items, suggesting others. After we remarked that the menus were extraordinarily heavy (framed and backed in hardwood), our waiter affably remarked that it makes the place seem more manly.
And it did. Even my caprese salad was served with a steak knife, which was appropriate to tackle the napoleon style of the dish, which I enjoyed. TPB's crabmeat cocktail was chunk full of the good stuff. I chose a dry aged sirloin for my entree, after the explanation that all of the meats except the filet were dry aged on site. Sadly, the crust on the steak was seared a bit too much, rendering it chewy, even though the interior was done to a perfect medium rare. Perhaps this added to the "manliness" quotient required to cut through the steak. Thankfully, however, all steaks are served with Bearnaise and Hollandaises sauces on the side, which renders any dish delicious, really. And, for the record, Bearnaise is better than Hollandaise on steaks. TPB's filet, prepared Oscar style, with crabmeat, Bearnaise, and asparagus, was perfect. As was the accompaniment of our Oberon Cabernet, which our waiter suggested among the cabernets offered. The creamed spinach bore no comparison to the congealed dish of the same name served at so many other restaurants; instead, this was more souffle, with a whipped airy texture that still allowed the spinach flavor to come through.
Although non-judgmentally offered the dessert menu by our seasoned waiter, we managed to decline. Overall, Smith & Wollensky offered a nice balance between a testosterone-laden steakhouse and a romantic setting overlooking Rittenhouse Square. In some ways, the best of many worlds.
Smith & Wollensky is located at 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA, (215) 545-1700.