Restaurant Week (http://www.restaurantweekboston.com) only comes twice a year, so I always choose wisely. I try an old favorite and a new potential playmate. This summer's option for a newbie was Smith & Wollensky (http://www.smithandwollensky.com). A delightful steakhouse with an appealing atmosphere, divine food, and a charming staff.
The stunning castle facade will leave you breathless and wondering if you somehow ended up in Scotland instead of Back Bay. The lights and brilliant green banners will greet you as you view the building from across the street. Walking up the gently sloping ramp will guide you to the hostess stand where you will be pleasantly greeted and seated.
The waitstaff is knowledgeable on the wine menu, offering an opinion or piece of advice as requested. And even a sample if you desire. But as for me, the house wine was enough of a specialty, so I decided to try the specifically designed, Smith & Wollensky Meritage wine. A nice deep red with plenty of texture, a hint of spice, and a sharp sweet that rolls off the tongue.
The appetizer selection made it an easy choice, the iceberg wedge with bacon lardons and bleu cheese dressing. The wedge filled up a saucer sized plate and was lightly covered in dressing and sprinkled with bacon. The lettuce was crisp and fresh, the bacon was also crisp not greasy, and the dressing was smooth with that tang of bleu cheese.
The main course was a bit harder, although the clear choice was a variation on filet mignon. I chose the gorgonzola crusted filet and was not disappointed. The steak was ordered to be medium rare and was just a hair on the line of medium. But nice and red where I wanted it. I attributed this to the fact that the melted gorgonzola must have heated it slightly more than I wanted. But still, delicious. The sharpness of the cheese contrasted nicely with the smoothness of the wine and added to the taste of the filet. Eight ounces of filet may not sound like much, but you would definitely want to save room for dessert.
Before that, however, there was a side dish to be involved. Which the menu (and waiter) failed to mention would not be included in the Restaurant Week price. An unfortunate side note. On the bright side, this lapse was sincerely made up for by the up-all-night-from-now-on-craving-it truffle mac 'n cheese. An eight inch or so casserole dish served up a scrumptious portion of mac 'n cheese that was crusty on the top, creamy at the bottom and filled with flavor in between. It tasted as though the noodles had been cooked in truffle oil before being served. Definitely the dish worth going back for.
The final delight of the evening, however, was in the form of chocolate, as it usually is during a night on the town. A piece of Gigantic Chocolate Cake was enough to hit the spot. (Although according to our waiter, was about a third of the size that they normally serve.) The ganache layered in between and on top of the cake was a bittersweet bite of joy in my mouth. The cake was light, although it looked more like it would have the thickness of a brownie. I finished the bites with the last of my wine and was overall satisfied with my palate and experience.
A word to the wise, however, this is not a restaurant to be taken lightly. With your credit card that is. While the food is fantastic and the staff are excellent, the prices can be a bit higher than some want to pay. So make it a special occasion or a once a year type of place. Although, it was definitely a great pick for Restaurant Week, so keep it in mind for next time. For me, it was a night to remember, and food to not forget.