“Where’s the beef?” was Wendy’s official slogan during the mid-1980s, but those who live in the Northeast certainly do not have to worry about finding that much-famed beef. Steakhouses are everywhere, and many of them offer private meeting and event space. We take a tasty look at two New York steakhouses, one in Philadelphia and another in New Jersey.
SMITH & WOLLENSKY
New York, New York
“A steakhouse to end all arguments” is the motto at Smith & Wollensky, the quintessential American steakhouse. “Our guests enjoy visiting a true, classic New York City steakhouse that is regularly recognized among the city’s best,” says Denise Bryant, director of private events. “The fact that we invest in dry aging and hand-butchering our USDA Prime steaks speaks to the exemplary quality of our steakhouse dining experience. Our expansive wine list is another feature our clients truly enjoy having access to.”
The names Smith and Wollensky were randomly selected from a New York City phone book late at night. The first page turned to? Smith! Next? Wollensky! And a legendary steakhouse was born in 1977.
Most groups begin their event with passed hors d’oeuvres and elaborate shellfish bouquets. For entrees, the New York cut sirloin, the filet mignon, the Scotti salmon and the lemon pepper chicken are the most popular selections for private events.
There are four private event spaces that can accommodate groups ranging in size from 10-150 for a seated dinner or up to 200 for a cocktail party. The Derby Room can seat up to 26 guests, the Club Room can seat up to 32 guests, the Brandy Room can seat up to 52 guests and the American Room can seat up to 60 guests. The American, Brandy and Club rooms can be combined for groups of up to 150 guests seated.
OLD HOMESTEAD STEAKHOUSE
New York, New York
For an old-school steakhouse experience, look to the Old Homestead Steakhouse. Located in the heart of the Meatpacking District, which has become one of Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods for entertainment, culture, hospitality and nightlife, the restaurant has operated in the same place since opening its doors in 1868, making it the oldest steakhouse in New York City. “We stay true to that,” says Violeta Zuberi, director of special events. “It’s not modern by any means. We have red leather booths on the corners and a wooden bar, and the tiles are pretty old.”
Popular entrees include the Japanese wagyu steak, the rib steak on the bone and the prime rib on the bone.
The second-floor Library Room that can accommodate up to 25 guests seated and up to 30 standing. The Schnabel Room, also on the second floor, can host up to 15 guests seated. The entire second floor can accommodate up to 70 guests seated and up to 80 standing. The third floor can host up to 50 guests seated and up to 75 standing.
A mature, refined and fresh appearance with a level of sophisticated luxury is what greets guests at Barclay Prime. “The dining room has a modern library look with sleek bookshelves wrapped from wall-to-wall and stunning crystal chandeliers draped elegantly throughout the room,” says Diane Farina, senior special event sales coordinator. “The bar/lounge has dark leathers, rich woods and geometric prints that create a sexy and comfortable ambience. The look is unlike any other steakhouse and has an appeal that is warm and inviting. Guests feel the bar is a great, comfortable option for a casual after-work drink or even a full meal.”
Popular entrees include the 8-ounce filet, the dry-aged New York strip and the dry-aged rib eye.
Barclay Prime has one private event space, which has its own private entrance from the street and is not accessible from the main restaurant. The private room is like having your very own restaurant held privately for an event. It can accommodate up to 40 guests seated and up to 65 standing. Guests have the option for a full restaurant buyout; it can be rented privately for a reception/seated dinner for up to 110 guests or a full reception of up to 150 guests.
THE BRICK HOUSE
Wyckoff, New Jersey
The Brick House has been a fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant for over 21 years, serving fine food to area patrons under the expert supervision of chef/owner Aldo Cascio. The building dates back to 1851 and is one of Bergen County’s only examples of a Federal Greek Revival farmhouse. It offers guests historic elegance and modern refinement. “We’re a fine-dining restaurant but casual at the same time,” says Nancy Ocampo, office manager.
Favorite entrees include the Porterhouse steak, the New York strip steak and the T-bone steak. There are also a number of scrumptious seafood entrees, including the grilled whole bronzini and the Norwegian salmon fillet.
“The food is great, and the ambiance is great,” Ocampo says.
There are six private events spaces. The largest can accommodate up to 180 guests both seated and standing. The smallest can host up to 20 guests seated and up to 40 standing.