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Wine Week, Smith & Wollensky, Sept 22, Noon -- CONFIRMED

Wine Week, Smith & Wollensky, Sept 22, Noon -- CONFIRMED
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  • Wine Week, Smith & Wollensky, Sept 22, Noon -- CONFIRMED

    Post #1 - September 9th, 2005, 10:18 am
    Post #1 - September 9th, 2005, 10:18 am Post #1 - September 9th, 2005, 10:18 am
    We are planning to enjoy Wine Week at Smith & Wollensky, September 22 at noon. Bottomless pours of good wine for 10 bucks...and some of the best beef in these parts.

    To hold a spot, I made reservations for 6 at noon. I can up this number if there's more interest.

    Right now it's me, GWiv and perhaps Ms GWiv.

    Any other takers?

    Check out S&W at http://www.smithandwollensky.com/LOC-Chicago-Hours.asp

    More about Wine Week at http://www.nationalwineweek.com/

    Smith and Wollensky
    318 North State Street
    (At the river at Marina City)
    Chicago, IL 60610
    (312) 670-9900
    Last edited by David Hammond on September 21st, 2005, 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - September 9th, 2005, 4:19 pm
    Post #2 - September 9th, 2005, 4:19 pm Post #2 - September 9th, 2005, 4:19 pm
    Although I'm not a wine drinker, I'm up for a good steak or some roast beef hash. Count me in. Of course, for $10 for all that wine, I might just partake of some and give the rest away to my fellow diners.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - September 11th, 2005, 6:25 am
    Post #3 - September 11th, 2005, 6:25 am Post #3 - September 11th, 2005, 6:25 am
    I am interested but not sure yet - just got back from 2.5 weeks in Italy and am weirdly not able to sleep even tho I have massive jet lag. Perhaps it is anxiety over my bag which has yet to arrive, but I digress...

    That aside, what struck me as weird in my lack-of-sleep induced state is that the picture on the website is of a poorly designed corkscrew. The ones with a post and a rib of blade surrounding it just tear up the cork in my experience. Ones with an actual curlie-que/spiral shape do much better. I just found that ironic, I suppose...I mean, how can you tout wine when you don't even know your icon is a poorly designed corkscrew? Perhaps it was just a matter of esthetics and how the picture looked, but it just struck me oddly... :)

    Christine
  • Post #4 - September 11th, 2005, 7:12 am
    Post #4 - September 11th, 2005, 7:12 am Post #4 - September 11th, 2005, 7:12 am
    christine wrote:The ones with a post and a rib of blade surrounding it just tear up the cork in my experience. Ones with an actual curlie-que/spiral shape do much better. I just found that ironic, I suppose...I mean, how can you tout wine when you don't even know your icon is a poorly designed corkscrew? Perhaps it was just a matter of esthetics and how the picture looked, but it just struck me oddly


    :shock: :?: :? I've been using the kind of corkscrew pictured for years. I do, however, know people who prefer the kind of uncorking device that slides into the space between bottle and cork and lifts the cork out by the sides, and although those make no sense to me, there are people who like them. Buddy of mine swears by a big golden Victorian mechanism that bolts onto his counter and uncorks wine with only slightly less effort than most regular corkscrews. The kind you mention I've used, but they're not my favorite. My point: different corkscrews for different folks.

    That said, have you considered halcion and/or would you care to join us for lunch (after you've had some rest :wink: )?

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - September 15th, 2005, 9:36 am
    Post #5 - September 15th, 2005, 9:36 am Post #5 - September 15th, 2005, 9:36 am
    Vital Information wrote:any possibility of slipping in the vivacious Condiment Queen?


    Absolutely. Having another representative of the distaff side would be very welcome.

    What I'd like to do is see if we have any more takers over the next 24 hours, then call S&W with a final number tomorrow (I already called them once to raise the number, and the next time should be the last call).

    So, any last minute folks who want in, speak now or end up watching, outcast, hungry and forlorn, through the windows of Smith & Wollensky as we hunker down on great bloody slabs of beef and quaff huge goblets of red wine, celebrating our crowning position at the tippy-top of the food chain.

    David
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #6 - September 16th, 2005, 4:38 pm
    Post #6 - September 16th, 2005, 4:38 pm Post #6 - September 16th, 2005, 4:38 pm
    I am quietly scheming as to how, the day after being out of the office for a week, I can sneak away to get drunk. Then there are the soccer games that evening. The point, my friends, is that I do not see how the hell I can come, and it pains me, really pains me :( .

    What makes it worse is that this week away from the office is being spent in that non-chow destination, Orlando. Lord, give me strength.

    Have a drink for me.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #7 - September 16th, 2005, 5:18 pm
    Post #7 - September 16th, 2005, 5:18 pm Post #7 - September 16th, 2005, 5:18 pm
    dicksond wrote:I am quietly scheming as to how, the day after being out of the office for a week, I can sneak away to get drunk.

    Have a drink for me.


    Aren't there assistant coaches or something like that?

    Okay, I'll have two.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #8 - September 21st, 2005, 2:30 pm
    Post #8 - September 21st, 2005, 2:30 pm Post #8 - September 21st, 2005, 2:30 pm
    CQ has dropped as well, making this event, officially, an ALL MALE CARNIVORE FEST. Bring your cigars, bring your dirty jokes, but leave your firearms at home (you know who I'm talking to).

    Incidentally, we usually split the tab at our dinners, but it seems that for this event, we should probably figure out our own individual bills (not that we will ask S&W to give us 12 separate bills, just that we will each calculate and pay the cost of our own portions). If someone gets an excellent S&W hamburger, they shouldn't have to subsidize my much-anticipated Porterhouse.

    David "You hear the one about Chi-Chi?" Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - September 22nd, 2005, 9:35 am
    Post #9 - September 22nd, 2005, 9:35 am Post #9 - September 22nd, 2005, 9:35 am
    Before everyone gets too juiced about the testosterone fest, Mrs. Barolo will be attending as previously announced. (She can swear like an Arab when the occasion warrants, but doesn't do cigars.)
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #10 - September 22nd, 2005, 6:58 pm
    Post #10 - September 22nd, 2005, 6:58 pm Post #10 - September 22nd, 2005, 6:58 pm
    Apologies for not remembering that we had one gal along for the ride. I think she held up quite well...and it was a pleasure to meet you both.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - September 22nd, 2005, 7:58 pm
    Post #11 - September 22nd, 2005, 7:58 pm Post #11 - September 22nd, 2005, 7:58 pm
    I must say, that John and I had an outstanding time today at lunch. Great food and great company. My only regret is that no one had a calculator and Gary had to use a Sharpie on the tablecloth to divvy up the bill.

    I still stuffed and its 6 hours later. I wish I could have hung around a little longer, but the drive home would have been riskier.

    I hope David remains on the email announcement list for next year's Wine Week.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #12 - September 23rd, 2005, 7:52 am
    Post #12 - September 23rd, 2005, 7:52 am Post #12 - September 23rd, 2005, 7:52 am
    LTH,

    Lunch at Smith and Wollensky for wine week was terrific. Great company, wine and conversation.

    Steaks were quite good, here's a pic of Bruce Cook's single serving portion.
    Image

    Wine flowed freely, or at least as freely as the overtaxed servers could pour.
    Image

    Steaks, burgers, roast beef hash were good, though the hash is no longer served in individual cast iron skillets, which crisped up the bottom. Mrs. Barolo was great company and a good sport given the mildly raucous conversation (Hammond) and I apologize for any inadvertent (or deliberate :) ) off color remarks I made.

    The one minor, or not so minor, complaint I have about lunch is the seafood platter. Not very good value for one's dollar, and I'm talking in the context of Smith and Wollensky, Morton's etc., not Islas Marias, and some of the shellfish was not quite as pristine as one would hope at S & W. I'm not talking bad or off, just attention to detail, such as the meat on the stone crab claws sticking to the shell, indicating too long in the freezer, inexpert thawing, or both.

    Portions are Steakhouse size at S & W, which of course means large, including this enormous slice of cake, which Michael/EC saw being served to the next table and could not resist taking a picture.
    Image

    A fun afternoon in the company of LTHers, thanks Hammond for setting up the lunch, looking forward to next year.

    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - September 23rd, 2005, 8:24 am
    Post #13 - September 23rd, 2005, 8:24 am Post #13 - September 23rd, 2005, 8:24 am
    It was quite a nice afternoon indeed. I really should make 8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches a regular weekly event.

    The food was fantastic, as expected. I can't believe that Bruce ate 4 bone-in ribeyes and two servings of creamed spinach. My Kansas City cut was an impressively juicy cut of beef surrounded by a crusty sear that can only be produced by a damn-fine steakhouse.

    I agree with Gary's disappointment in the cold seafood plate. I also was slightly disappointed in the day's all-american wine selection. There were very few tastings (if any) that excited me. All of the choices were drinkable, many were quite pedestrian, and I expected a little more from "Wine Week". My only takeaway was the Estancia Pinot Noir, which I will buy a couple bottles of on my next stock-up trip to Sam's.

    In spite of those minor complaints, an excellent afternoon overall, full of many grapes, good cow, and great company.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #14 - September 25th, 2005, 4:47 pm
    Post #14 - September 25th, 2005, 4:47 pm Post #14 - September 25th, 2005, 4:47 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    I agree with Gary's disappointment in the cold seafood plate. I also was slightly disappointed in the day's all-american wine selection. There were very few tastings (if any) that excited me. All of the choices were drinkable, many were quite pedestrian, and I expected a little more from "Wine Week". My only takeaway was the Estancia Pinot Noir, which I will buy a couple bottles of on my next stock-up trip to Sam's.



    I just could not wrench myself away from the office on Thursday, but Ms. VI would not stand for that on Friday. Without reservations, we planned on sitting at the bar. Walking in absolutely first, and with a bit of a history at S&W we got a table.

    It was by far the worst experience I've had at wine week, and my tastings mimiced EC's as noted above. On top of that, the wine pourers were hardly interested in their job, as in maybe it was a long week. Every time I turned over the the counter with the wines, a bunch of the reps/wine people were just chatting with each other. Given each mediocre pour we were anxious to try another. It made for a lot of aggrivation.

    Food, the Condiment Queen made an odd (very) suggestion. Pork shank. In 15 or so years living together, I do not think I have every heard the words "I" and "feel" and "ordering" and "pork shank" in the same sentance before. S&W does an interesting version, a deep fried pork shank that really crisps up the fat, and I have sampled it before with pleasure. So, while I was really in the mood for a burger, I agreed to split. Two bites into the pork shank, however, and my lovely wife decided she'd be happiest with the burger. Lucky I'm such a nice hubby as the pork shank was so-so (at best), dry and a little funny tasting to boot. I did manage a french fry before switching plates, and they, as always hit the mark. On the plus side, an appetizer of proscuitto and figs was pure and good, kudos to a good buyer. The ham went especially well with Pinot Noir (even if the wine was not that good). All was lost until...

    ...I always say that restaurants should pull out all stops with dessert. Give a person a good ending, and unless they are a hyper critical blogger, who has high standards for Chicago's S&W, and they go away real happy. The "store bought" cheese cake was good enough, creamy and mild, but what made the finale was S&W's whipped cream. We've had the pleasure of the silver milk can before, and when the waiter offered some whipped cream with our cheesecake, we said of course! He reached his spoon into the can and tossed out a big blop of cream, getting 1/2 on the table.

    I should note that our waiter had his pluses, he was attentive and tried to make up for the piss-poor wine people, but he was also annoying, not the whipped cream splaying part, but with a little too much up-selling and a bit too much treating us like apparant vacationers.

    Hopefully better luck in the Spring.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #15 - September 26th, 2005, 10:20 pm
    Post #15 - September 26th, 2005, 10:20 pm Post #15 - September 26th, 2005, 10:20 pm
    LTH,

    Friends in from out of town who love S & W, so second time in 4-5 days I find myself at Smith and Wollensky. I wrote off the tepid service on Thursday to wine week, not sure what to write it off to tonight.

    We had reservations, still waited a half hour and got one of the worst tables in the house, where my chair was jostled every time a waiter or busperson went for napkins or silverware. When I mentioned this to the host, including the fact I had been there on Thursday, my wife on Friday and Smith and Wollensky was one of my favorites in Chicago, he basically shrugged, mumbled something about conventions in town and looked bored.

    Waitress was fine, though she seemed surprised we were not ready to order 3-minutes and 7-seconds after getting menus, steaks were top notch, but aside from the quality of the dry-aged meat I could have just as easily been at Lone Star Steakhouse as Smith and Wollensky.

    I truly hope my last two visits were out of the ordinary, or it will be back to Morton's exclusively for this Chicagoan.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - September 26th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    Post #16 - September 26th, 2005, 10:27 pm Post #16 - September 26th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    G Wiv wrote:... the host...basically shrugged, mumbled something about conventions in town and looked bored.


    Gary,

    That seems very close to how the host reacted when, last Thursday, you and I mentioned that we would rather eat on the first floor than the lower level (that table turned out fine, but I picked up a distinct fu*k off vibe when we voiced an objection to our assignment).

    Based on several separate experiences reported here, I'd say S&W has a problem.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #17 - September 27th, 2005, 10:42 am
    Post #17 - September 27th, 2005, 10:42 am Post #17 - September 27th, 2005, 10:42 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    Based on several separate experiences reported here, I'd say S&W has a problem.

    Hammond


    Well my lunch party of 4 during wine week last Monday was good all around - service from the normal waitstaff was great, attention from the sommelier (or at least a gentlemen who introduced himself as such), and even attention from the various wine 'pourers'. Our feedback on the wines we liked and, perhaps more importantly, the ones we didn't was well received. Oh yeah, the food was good, too. I'm having lunch there in about 15 minutes so I'll update here to see if I observe worse (or better) service than what you all have (unfortunately) recently received.
  • Post #18 - September 27th, 2005, 3:41 pm
    Post #18 - September 27th, 2005, 3:41 pm Post #18 - September 27th, 2005, 3:41 pm
    Hmmmm, back from lunch and . . . food was good, service was erratic at best.

    The 3 of us were seated outside (beautiful day today) and were greeted by our waiter with menus in a reasonable time frame. He took our drink orders and promised to bring us some bread.

    Our drinks arrived but the bread did not. He also did not take a moment to tell of us whatever specials there might be that day but did mention that he would be back shortly with our bread.

    When he returned (sans bread - do you sense a theme yet?) to take our orders he quickly mentioned that there were some specials and rattled them off. We had already decided on regular menu offerings (a seared tuna steak and 2 prime ribs) and had him take our order. He was just about to disappear when I mentioned that we would like at least one side as well (no mention of the a la carte menu policy which of course we knew but 1st timers might not have - and then had nothing to accompany their meals). We kept it simple with just an order of the hash browns to split and a house salad as a starter for one of us. We reiterated a request for some bread.

    The salad showed up fairly promptly; our mistake at this point was not asking the busperson that brought the salad for bread as I suspect he would have known the location of the secret bakery. We were now taking bets as to whether the main courses or the bread would arrive first; my money was not on the bread.

    Some time later I observed our waiter walking by and flagged him down and, before I could ask, was told "Dude, I'm working on your bread". Of course this put all of us at ease.

    Some time even later - you guessed it - our main courses arrived. The busperson that brought our orders gave a prime rib to the person that ordered the tuna steak but we sorted it out ourselves a la Fawlty Towers. Shortly after we had rearranged our own plates our waiter showed up . . . with bread.

    The food . . . was great. Both of us with the prime ribs thoroughly enjoyed them, both the flavor and the texture were great. Rather than use the "sides" plate I spooned the hash browns onto the same plate as the beef so as to soak up the jus - this was a good call. The tuna was prepared as ordered, seared on the outside and still raw-ish at the center. Desserts were pecan pie, key lime pie, and the 'store bought' cheesecake and we liked them all (curiously the same pattern of who-got-what was repeated so I wonder if either the busperson didn't understand the way the orders were recorded or if the waiter didn't record them in whatever their standard fashion is).

    In an attempt to be fair to our waiter it did appear that our outdoor section had an unfortunate patron to waiter ratio though not ridiculously so. I'm not usually so hell-bent on bread but I was really hungry and just wanted something to nosh on with my drink.

    I would have to agree that the level of service is off somewhat but I didn't feel that we were treated rudely or with indifference. I would lay some of this on the management as it is up to them to properly staff the dining areas as well as direct diners to seating areas where they won't overwhelm the staff. We weren't a drop-in, we had a res and we were on time; I expect, at a place like S&W, to get a little bit higher level of service. Food was still terrific, though.
  • Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 4:32 pm
    Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 4:32 pm Post #19 - September 27th, 2005, 4:32 pm
    Kman wrote:Some time later I observed our waiter walking by and flagged him down and, before I could ask, was told "Dude, I'm working on your bread". Of course this put all of us at ease.


    I had a mid-afternoon lunch/early dinner and needed something more substantial than a quick bite a couple of hours ago. I stopped in a chain steak house not expecting much and was not disappointed with my expectations. When the "waiter" said "can I get you something to drink, Bud.", I knew I would never go back.

    I guess these "8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches" are going to have to be at Gene & Georgetti's.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 6:11 pm
    Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 6:11 pm Post #20 - September 27th, 2005, 6:11 pm
    Bruce wrote:
    I had a mid-afternoon lunch/early dinner and needed something more substantial than a quick bite a couple of hours ago. I stopped in a chain steak house not expecting much and was not disappointed with my expectations. When the "waiter" said "can I get you something to drink, Bud.", I knew I would never go back.

    I guess these "8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches" are going to have to be at Gene & Georgetti's.


    Bruce, it's all in the phrasing. Perhaps you just heard him a little differently and he was REALLY saying "Can I get you something to drink? Bud?" thinking you are a big fan of domestic beer. :) Of course that may also be a reason not to go back.

    FWIW I've also found Keefer's to be a great place for 8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches. That's probably a thread all by itself - a list of places for a great 'lost afternoon'.
  • Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 6:19 pm
    Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 6:19 pm Post #21 - September 27th, 2005, 6:19 pm
    Kman wrote:
    Bruce wrote:
    I had a mid-afternoon lunch/early dinner and needed something more substantial than a quick bite a couple of hours ago. I stopped in a chain steak house not expecting much and was not disappointed with my expectations. When the "waiter" said "can I get you something to drink, Bud.", I knew I would never go back.

    I guess these "8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches" are going to have to be at Gene & Georgetti's.


    Bruce, it's all in the phrasing. Perhaps you just heard him a little differently and he was REALLY saying "Can I get you something to drink? Bud?" thinking you are a big fan of domestic beer. :) Of course that may also be a reason not to go back.

    FWIW I've also found Keefer's to be a great place for 8-drink, 3-hour, $100 lunches. That's probably a thread all by itself - a list of places for a great 'lost afternoon'.



    Nah, I had all readdy ordered a pop.
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 6:32 pm Post #22 - September 27th, 2005, 6:32 pm
    |I know that the meat served at Gibson's is far inferior to the dry aged of Smith and Wollensky. But, dammit, those folks out at the Rosemont Gibsons make me feel like a king and their best friend everytime I visit there.

    That's why I choose it over the other options for boys night out.

    Great service and friendly personnel carry a restaurant a long way (as does the fact that only every other martini ever seems to make it on the bill).

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