Something sizzling this way comes!
Rated as one of the best steakhouses in New York with nine branches across the United States, three in Japan, and one in Seoul, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse opened its first branch in the Philippines at Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila last February 2016. I was really lucky to get to sit down with one of the owners, Lydia D’Amato, for a quick tour of the premises, a very filling lunch, and a bit of chit-chat over dessert and tea about what truly makes Wolfgang’s stand out in the Philippine market.
Here are 12 impressive things you should know about Wolfgang’s Steakhouse:
1.Wolfgang’s has its roots in Manhattan.
The steakhouse is named after Wolfgang Zweiner, who opened his eponymous restaurant after having worked as head waiter at the legendary Peter Luger’s steakhouse in New York for more than 40 years. It was during those years that he gained extensive expertise in the dry raging process of USDA Prime quality beef as well as the steak high temperature broiling preparation process – key elements which would eventually evolve into Wolfgang’s unique philosophy for excellence.
When they started opening more and more restaurants around the world, they wanted customers to feel that New York vibe, and so kept similar elements in every branch that mimics their first restaurant such as the long mahogany wood bar, wooden planked floors, wood wainscoting, alabaster chandelier, and curved ceilings with tile borders that remind one of Grand Central.
2. They have their dry ageing room on the premises.
Lydia took us on a quick tour around the restaurant, and although we were in awe at just how enormous (and clean!) the kitchen was, nothing prepared us for just how jaw-droopingly large the dry aging room is. The restaurant offers strictly USDA Prime beef which is dry aged in its own proprietary designed raging room under a controlled temperature and humidity environment for an average of 28 days, which takes out around 40% of the moisture out of the meat, leaving only meat and flavor.
Dry ageing is a process which enhances tenderness and flavour in beef. During the process, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, creating a greater concentration of beef flavours and taste. A ritual with an artisan’s flair, the side of beef are dry-aged on site to perfection, and then carved to order by the restaurant’s own butcher, resulting into luxurious, meltingly tender and juicy steaks.
All of the restaurant’s world-famous USDA Prime New York sirloin, ribeye, prime rib, filet mignon, and its signature Porterhouse steak have all been personally handpicked by the chophouse, who choose only USDA Prime Grade Angus beef for superior marbling, tenderness, flavor, and texture which is then flown in from the United States.
3. They have big, badass broilers.
This upscale chophouse isn’t kidding around when it comes to cooking their meat! Wolfgang’s imported huge custom broilers to make sure each piece of prime rib, porterhouse or filet mignon that goes in comes out perfect – sizzling hot with a caramelised crust yet still soft and pink on the inside. Don’t muck up your order and enjoy your steak medium, medium rare, or medium well. I know it all comes down to personal choice, but really, anything over that and you may as well have just ordered the most expensive burger patty ever.
4. The core staff have been trained in New York and Japan.
From the minute I stepped into Wolfgang’s Steakhouse until the second I left, I was treated to exceptional service which I find to be a rarity in this country. Customer service is a huge part of ones dining experience and watching their team of servers move around our table so effortlessly and always with a smile almost brought a tear to my eye. Later on I learned from Lydia that the managers and chefs were sent to two of their New York restaurants as well as their Roppongi branch in Japan to train and learn best practices from the veterans there before they officially opened in Manila. Fo’ serious, other restaurants here should take a page from their book and learn not only how to do things right, but to do it consistently. I felt like a spoiled baby.
5. Their salads are anything but boring.
I can see you yawning while you read this, but hear me out. While most guys are all about the protein, us women want something to compliment all that meat, but most of the time, the salads on the menu are bland and boring. You can chuck that chef’s salad out the window as Wolfgang’s has a colorful Beverly Hills Chopped Salad (Php 488) with bright chunks of romaine lettuce, fresh baby spinach, green peas, carrots, cucumber, red sweet pepper, red cabbage, hearts of palm, avocado, and feta cheese doused in a little of their house vinaigrette. I’m assuming this has made many a Jen Aniston happy back in NYC.
For a little surf and turf, I’d recommend the Wolfgang’s Salad (Php 438), composed of juicy red tomatoes, onions, beans, lettuce, chunks of jumbo shrimp, and Canadian bacon bits drizzled with their house vinaigrette with a side of Sizzling Canadian Bacon (Php 198), an extra thick slice cured and marinated in-house.
Other popular appetizers on the menu include Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (Php 788), Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell (Php 358), Wolfgang’s Crab Cake (Php 588), and Tuna Tartar (Php 598).
6. They have a Prime Rib Weekend promotion.
Whether you want to impress your date or celebrate that big win in your life with your mates, the steakhouse has a Prime Rib Weekend promo available on Saturdays and Sundays that includes a 2kg USDA prime rib, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, au jus and horseradish sauces, and three pints of imported beer. The promotion is based on MP per day, so expect to pay around Php 8,000 give or take.
The texture of this steak is amazingly soft and flavorful – you can really taste where the beef came from with every bite. We enjoyed ours medium rare, and the pink center was so tender I could practically cut it with my spoon.
I also suggest ordering a side of German Potatoes (Php 258) as well. The sides that come with the promotion are both really creamy, I found myself politely fighting over the crispy bits on the plate for texture.
7. Their porterhouse is a conversation starter along with their Old Fashioned Sauce.
Can we talk about their signature porterhouse steaks for a hot minute? We shared a Porterhouse for Four, 2kg (Php 8,998), which looked like a piece of art that Picasso, Gris, or Léger would have constructed, if they had ever decided to become chefs instead. Broiled to perfection, cut into manageable pieces, and then seared again on each side before being arranged back onto the platter, this steak had a meatier texture and grassier flavor when compared to the oh-so-tender prime rib. Although perfect to be eaten as is, I enjoyed mine with their complimentary Old Fashioned Sauce which has a smoky, tangy taste.
8. They have a fully stocked bar and an impressive wine collection.
Wolfgang’s posh long mahogany wood bar is legit! Plonk your butt on one of their leather stools and enjoy happy hour with your drink(s) of choice while chatting with random strangers or the bartender, like an actual New Yorker.
The restaurant is also recognised for its highly-acclaimed and award-winning wine cellar with its diverse selection of over 1,200 fine wines from around the world. Wine Spectator Best Restaurant Awards just gave the certificate to the restaurant and it’s their pride to be included in their list this year for almost 70 countries around the world.
9. Their seasonal cocktails are fantastic!
Their Bar and Beverage Manager, Alyona Vinogradova, is a familiar face in the Philippine scene, having competed and won quite a few bartending competitions. We tried a few of Wolfgang’s seasonal cocktails, which (I think) she had a hand in creating (things got a bit fuzzy after my second glass).
The Summer Symphony (Php 308) is a refreshing cocktail using Bombay Sapphire Gin with tangy pomelo pulp, garnished with fresh cucumber. Another very tropical cocktail is their Pineapple Basil Rush (Php 308), a Stolichnaya Premium Vodka-based cocktail with chunks of pineapple and fresh basil leaves for an herby surprise. I’d love this by the pool on a really hot day!
Their Arugula Martini (Php 308) uses Stolichnaya Premium Vodka with fresh arugula and freshly squeezed lemon juice, making for a slightly sour martini with a bitter aftertaste. The crowd favorite was the Hot Torry (Php 308) – a savoury Stolichnaya Premium Vodka-based cocktail muddled with fresh tomato and cilantro and garnished with their signature sizzling Canadian bacon. I’m assuming this is what a Russian breakfast would taste like.
10. Their dessert is served with housemade schlag.
For dessert, Lydia had ordered four of their best-selling desserts to be served with tea and coffee, and the four big slices – New York Style Cheesecake (Php 388), Chocolate Mousse Cake (Php 318), Tiramisu (Php 228), and Key Lime Pie (Php 218) – were served on a big silver platter with Wolfgang’s homemade schlag, a German whipped cream used as a cake or coffee topping. I have a major sweet tooth, so I was ecstatic to sink my teeth into that amazing chocolate mousse, but it was the key lime pie that made my night which was made using local calamansi.
11. For privacy, there’s the whiskey and cigar room.
If in lieu of sweets, if a Chohiba and a glass of Dalmore is more your style, then retire into their private whiskey and cigar room for just that. Wolfgang’s has an impressive selection of single malts as well as special liquor from Japan displayed along the shelves, with plush brown leather sofas and coffee tables that one can relax and hold meetings in private.
12. You can expect the same level of service when you visit, every time.
Personally, I find Wolfgang’s level of customer service to be just as impressive as their dry aged steaks, and this can be attributed to their excellent training program, sending their core people to work in at least two of their Manhattan branches and then their Tokyo branch, before polishing up and sharing the skills they learned with the rest of the team. This ensures that one can receive the same hospitality and level of attention every single time you walk into a Wolfgang’s Steakhouse anywhere in the world – and when they say they’ll take care of you, they mean it!
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is located at the second floor of Resorts World, Newport City, Pasay City. For inquiries and table reservations, please call +63 920 821 9247.