NYC steakhouse Smith & Wollensky is to open its first non-US operation in London on 17 June. The massive – 300-cover – restaurant will occupy the grandiose, art deco Adelphi Building in John Adam Street, near Charing Cross. This makes it possibly the first major non-hotel dining room to open south of the Strand since Simpson’s, in 1828! (OK, we know there’s Smollensky’s…)
Alongside the USDA prime dry-aged steaks (and premium seafood) there will be no less than 30 classic cocktails and a vast range of wines. Former Quaglino’s chef Stephen Collins heads up the kitchen.
The restaurant (all masculine mahogany and the obligatory green leather banquettes) also boasts butchery quarters and a dry-ageing room. On our hard hat visit on 28 May things were certainly starting to take shape but it looks like it will be a busy fortnight to get the place up and running for the launch party on 16 June. They seem confident though!
The original Smith & Wollensky opened in a low-rise (two-storey) building in Midtown Manhattan in 1977 – it was the second restaurant venture from Alan Stillman, who had already earned infamy by establishing TGI Friday’s back in 1965. (By a curious twist of fate, the new S&W site is just a few blocks from the Covent Garden site of the original London TGIF’s. Opened in 1987, it quickly became that chain’s biggest-grossing outlet.)
London’s US-obsession still seems to show no sign at all of running out of steam.
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