When it comes to steaks, for me, nothing beats the Americans. A small piece of well-marbled Japanese wagyu is wonderful as part of a teppanyaki or shabu shabu meal. And I can understand the need to exercise my jaws to enjoy the robust flavour of grass-fed South American beef. But if it is a hunky 300g slab of steak I’m hankering for, my choice will certainly be an USDA ribeye – tender and with just the right balance of fat and muscle.
And it seems many diners here agree with me, because yet another American steak restaurant has made its way here – Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, which opened at the new InterContinental hotel in Robertson Quay two weeks ago. It adds to other chains such as Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris and Cut that already have Singapore outlets.
There has been some confusion that the Wolfgang behind the restaurant is Wolfgang Puck, who is behind Cut in Marina Bay Sands. But it is actually Mr Wolfgang Zwiener, who started his chain of restaurants in New York with his son Peter and other partners more than 13 years ago. Unlike Cut, which offers premium beef from various parts of the world, Wolfgang’s focuses on USDA Prime beef. It also distinguishes itself from the competition by dry-ageing the beef for 28 days – a process that allows enzymes in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in more tender and flavourful beef.
This is done in a huge chilled room behind the restaurant’s kitchen, where a few tonnes of cut and trimmed meat rest on neat rows of wooden racks. My cut of choice for a steak is ribeye, followed by sirloin. So my dining companion and I share one of each. The New York Sirloin ($99) comes on a sizzling plate, which is good if your group consists of people who like their beef cooked to different levels of doneness. Those who like it rare can help themselves first, while the others who prefer it well-done can let it sizzle longer on the plate.
The Rib Eye Steak ($118) comes on a regular plate and, with a typical lump of fat embedded in the meat, is more juicy and tasty than the sirloin. Compared with steaks in other restaurants, the meat here also has a deeper, more complex flavour because of the dry-ageing. The menu does not indicate the weight of the steaks, but both cuts – which come with bone in – are huge and could easily weigh more than 400g each. That is a lot of meat, so do not feel shy about doggy-bagging what you cannot finish. That way, you can check out the menu’s other offerings too.
Getting a salad to go with the meat makes sense. I usually go for a chopped salad, but my eye is drawn to something called Wolfgang’s Salad ($25). The server describes it as a lettuce cup filled with diced tomato, onions, French beans, shrimp and bacon, which sounds rather unusual. But while the dish satisfies my taste for variety, not all the ingredients complement one another. Shrimp and bacon, I realise, do not go all that well together. So I may have done better to order the Beverly Hills Chopped Salad ($23) – which I’ll do the next time I’m at the restaurant. I have no regrets, though, about my other starter – Wolfgang’s Crab Cake ($38), which is packed with flakes of crabmeat and is moist and well-seasoned. You should leave room for dessert too. Of the three I try, two are really good.
This story first appeared on www.straitstimes.com
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