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Boston's Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse

By: Kellie K. Speed

Even though many feel Boston already has enough steakhouses, the New York-based steakhouse chain, Smith & Wollensky, thought otherwise, which is why it recently opened at the Castle at Park Plaza.  The Castle, which was originally constructed in 1891 as an armory of the First Corps of Cadets, has been transformed into a four-floor dining extravaganza.  The restaurant has tried to maintain much of the armory’s nostalgia with flags, novels and photographs. 

We started our evening with a sampling of the seared tuna tataki ($15), a seemingly small portion that proved to be just enough to get us started.  The shrimp cocktail was a better selection, four jumbo shrimp ($18) served with a side of spicy cocktail sauce.  The thin crust pizza sounded intriguing but my husband and I agreed on our next visit we would share the tomato and onion salad.  The lobster bisque, the soup du jour, was a creamy, smooth blend but lacked lobster meat and although our server added a small amount, it seemed to need something more.  If you’re dining with a group of seafood lovers, you may want to select the shellfish bouquet, which arrived at a neighboring table.  The prices here are steep but well worth it.  (For example, the Charlie Smith Shellfish Bouquet is $48 and the Ralph Wollensky is $95). 

Since we sampled some of the restaurant’s seafood items in the beginning, when it came time for entrees, we decided to order what we came here for – steak.  The filet mignon is offered in two cuts – a 10-ounce or 14-ounce ($33 and $38, respectively).  The tender cut oozed juices and came with a side of creamy Bernaise sauce.  The prime rib of beef, on the other hand, was the declared winner of the evening ($37).  A gigantic, bone-in cut, we couldn’t get enough of it.  (Be sure to ask your server for a side of their homemade spicy horseradish sauce or for less of a zing, try the Smith & Wollensky steak sauce, a favorite among many returning patrons).  Other dinner classics included a sirloin, lamb chops, a 28-ounce Colorado ribeye and veal chop.

For seafood fanatics, rest assured there are plenty of selections to choose from, including a live Maine lobster, seasonal wild salmon and even a sushi grade mustard crusted tuna. 

The side dishes here are meant to be shared between two guests but since they were so large, they could have easily satisfied four.  The whipped potatoes ($7) were so smooth we wondered how they could make them without any lumps.  The sautéed mushrooms ($8) were tender and meaty but we wished they were served in a garlic wine sauce.  Other side dishes included lobster fried rice ($10), truffled macaroni and cheese ($10), creamed spinach ($8) and onion rings ($7).

There is no dinner more filling or satisfying than a steak dinner so when it came time for dessert, we almost passed.  Our server suggested splitting the carrot cake, which sounded like a nice light ending to our heavy meal.  When the cake arrived, guests at our neighboring table placed a bet on whether we could finish it.  We lost miserably to the six plus layer, 4” wide dessert but our server suggested taking the rest home to enjoy over the weekend.  Desserts here don’t come cheap either - $10 for the carrot cake (but keep in mind it was an entire cake!), $8 for a trio of crème brulee and $17 for a banana sundae for two or more.

Smith & Wollensky
In the Castle at Columbus and Arlington Streets

Phone: 617-423-1112


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Kellie K. Speed - Click to Enlarge

Kellie K. Speed is a freelance travel writer and restaurant reviewer. Her features have been published in various publications including The Boston Globe, Cahners’ Industrial Distribution and Graphic Arts Monthly magazines and Reno Air Approach.

Kellie has reviewed numerous first-class hotels and travel destinations, including Hawaii, California, Arizona, Bermuda and Mexico, to name a few. She has also traveled internationally to Ireland, England, France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Next year, she is planning a trip to Tahiti.

Since she is from Massachusetts, she will be providing reviews of local restaurants for Travel-Watch.

If you would like to email Kellie any suggestions or comments, please do so at


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