Magazine article The New Yorker

Wolfgang's Steakhouse;

Magazine article The New Yorker

Wolfgang's Steakhouse;

Article excerpt

4 Park Ave., at 33rd St. (212-889-3369)--For forty-one years, Wolfgang Zwiener was a waiter at Peter Luger, the meat mecca in Williamsburg. Earlier this year, he left with some of his mates and set up a rival post in the middle of Manhattan, on the ground floor of the old Vanderbilt Hotel. You'd think that the last thing this or any city needs is another steak house: how many bachelor parties, closing dinners, and Republican Conventions can there be? Need doesn't apply, though, when the newcomer is so carefully modelled on a place like Luger's, where the indulgences are idiosyncratic and state of the art. Zwiener chose not to import the old layout--at Wolfgang's, an original Guastavino vaulted ceiling adds class and a few dozen decibels--but the experience is more or less the same, from the service (blunt) to the sauce (sweet).

The mark of a proper steak house is the uninhibited presentation of animal fat, in its many magnificent guises. At Wolfgang's, as at Luger's, the signature vehicle is the porterhouse; a waiter pronounced it "the best," in a scolding tone that might have suggested to a cynical diner that the porterhouse is also Wolfgang's money-maker. It is cut in thick slices from a T-bone and served on a scuffed old platter, from which the waiter eagerly spoons out a broth of butter and blood, as though it were holy water. …

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