797 3rd Avenue (on 49th), Tel: 00 1 212 753 1530

View and clientele

On my visit, the scenery was pure midtown Manhattan. Powerful young bankers marched in with their beautiful mates. The two men at the table opposite shed their Armani jackets, rolled up their Ferragamo sleeves and tucked in like hyenas. They were watched closely by two sexy women in black DKNY in the booth opposite. Outside, a shoal of yellow taxis swam by in a thunderstorm. 8/10

Design and service

The rooms are filled with sturdy, well-spaced booths and tables, like a grand Chez Gerard. Our waiter had butcher's arms and a Mike Tyson neck and handled the steaks like a priest bearing an offering. He looked like he was paid in prime New York T-bone, and I was convinced he was salivating as he recited the daily specials. 9/10

Romance factor

A cathedral to meat may sound unsexy, but everything is so fleshy and sensuous that Smith & Wollensky made me feel raunchy. It's like watching wild animals on safari. You feel like rubbing bodies together on the table, right there. The eye contact suggested that it was a prime pick-up joint for those who are well-endowed, financially and otherwise. A pretty Japanese girl in a short, lotus-flower dress was showing her intent to her besuited companion, flashing stocking tops and rubbing his hand as if kneading a steak. He was smiling and glancing at his watch, as if trying to decide between spending two late hours in the office and an hour of lust at a midtown hideaway. 9/10

Best table

Near the middle if you want attention; by the extensive windows if not.

Snoot factor

This is a place to show how much you earn by proving how much you can eat. Celebrities come here to pig out, not pose. 8/10


You never knew there were so many kinds of steak. They hang it themselves - you can imagine the staff queuing up to do it. Most of the dishes are so large that they would be defined as whole animals in Britain, and there are more types of accompanying sauce than I knew even existed. This being New York, vegetarians are catered for, albeit with a quizzical air, with enormous salads and vegetable platters. 8/10

Wine list

We had a powerful, tangy Frog's Leap Zinfandel from California for $35 (pounds 23). This is the kind of wine that will spit back at you if you spit it out. 9/10


New York's finest doesn't come cheap, but it's good value compared to its peers. Dinner for two with a good wine is around $140 (pounds 93) and you won't need to eat again for two days. 8/10

Oh yeah, and the food

Imagine being a caveperson, hunting all day after wild animals, and finally capturing one. You roast a fresh kill over the fire, anticipating the taste of the tender, juicy meat as you rip it apart and consume. Now stop imagining and book a table. My entrecote was exquisitely tender but with just that perfect hint of gamey ripeness. A mountain of nutty creamed spinach accompanies everything. 9/10