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From New York to Ortigas with love

/ 05:30 AM February 11, 2018

Wolfgang’s porterhouse steak

Foodies in the northern part of Metro Manila who want to enjoy authentic American steak do not have to travel far to indulge their craving.

New York’s Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang’s Zweiner is now much closer with the opening of its second Philippine restaurant at the ground floor of The Podium in Ortigas.

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Although positioned primarily for the Ortigas’ business and commercial crowd, Wolfgang’s also expects to draw clients who appreciate not just prime beef but quality food using premium ingredients.

In fact, Peter Zwiener, Wolfgang president and partner, says, “We get a lot of vegetarians in our restaurants.” Of course, nonmeat eaters come for the vegetable dishes that are as meticulously prepared as the other dishes.

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Zwiener, a former investment banker and son of the founder, says it is the quality of their food that makes it stand out from among existing steak places in the Philippines and that draws even those who do not eat meat. “The preparation is very simple. Our focus is on the flavor.”

The good experience Wolfgang’s had with its first restaurant in Resorts World in Pasay City encouraged the group, which has partnered with Raymond Magdaluyo whose family has been in the food business in the Philippines for decades, to consider expansion.

“Filipinos are interested in great food,” Zwiener, who visits every single branch regularly, says.

Wolfgang’s currently has 19 branches in different parts of the world, including the new Podium restaurant and the Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila branch, the first Philippine outlet that opened in the country in 2016. A third Philippine branch, at the Bonifacio Global City, is scheduled to open later this year.

Wolfgang’s lives up to its claim that its steak is a genuine New Yorker. Beef is flown in from the United States every week to all branches. “It is the only steakhouse (in the Philippines) that flies its own beef,” Magdaluyo says. Every diner in any Wolfgang’s Steakhouse gets the same kind of beef that customers in its first restaurant in New York eat.

The beef comes fresh, not frozen, but is aged by allowing air flow to dry it and to let natural enzymes break down and tenderize the meat. Air-drying, Zwiener explains, preserves the meat’s flavor. Freezing then thawing the beef causes it to lose much of its natural taste. The average time for aging is 28 days before the beef is served. “About 96 percent of the meat’s tenderness is achieved in 28 days,” Zwiener adds.

Zwiener stresses that for Wolfgang’s, the quality of both food and service has to be consistent in all branches, the main reason why he flies to the different restaurant locations regularly. All restaurants are run by the New York management group although it partners with locals for day-to-day operations.

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To ensure consistency in quality and service, Wolfgang’s main kitchen and frontline staff members train in New Work before a new branch opens. “We do not want to change anything. Otherwise, why call it Wolfgang’s?” Zwiener says.

And with Filipinos doing a lot of travelling, Zwiener says they did not have to do a lot of “selling” of their restaurant. Rated one of New York’s best steakhouses, Wolfgang’s reputation has preceded it in the Philippines, which accounts for the success of its Resorts World branch.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse currently has nine restaurants across the US, four in Japan, one each in Korea, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Its first European restaurant will open in May in Cyprus.

The Podium restaurant can accommodate 75-80 diners. It incorporates design elements in the New York restaurant, such as a long, mahogany solid wood bar and wooden floors. Guests can dine on the main floor or the mezzanine, which can be a function or meeting room for small groups.

Aside from its signature steaks, Wolfgang’s menu includes lamb chop, Berkshire pork chop, grilled salmon, grilled yellow fin tuna and three-pound lobsters, as well as an assortment of appetizers, soups and salads. —CONTRIBUTED

The Podium restaurant, which is open from 11 a.m. to 12 midnight, offers a lunch menu that includes Medallions of Filet Mignon aux Pouvre, Medallions of Filet Mignon with mushroom sauce, and the Taste of New York that features a four-course meal consisting of Caesar Salad, USDA Prime Dry Aged Sirloin (400G), Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach and Wolfgang’s New York Cheesecake.

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TAGS: American steak, The Podium, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, Wolfgang’s Zweiner
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