[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]n old-school American steakhouse is set to whet appetites of carnivores here.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, a chain from New York City, will open its first restaurant here by early October in the upcoming InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay hotel.
The chain has 17 restaurants in the United States, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and China.
It is not associated with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, who has the one-Michelin-starred steakhouse Cut by Wolfgang Puck and American restaurant Spago, both in Marina Bay Sands.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is founded by Mr Wolfgang Zwiener, 78, who was the head waiter at the renowned Peter Luger Steakhouse in New York for four decades.
The 150-seat, 6,500 sq ft restaurant here will have a neo-classical decor, complete with alabaster chandeliers, a mahogany bar, walnut-brown wainscoting and cherry wood flooring.
Anchoring the menu are signature USDA Prime Black Angus steaks, which will be flown in chilled from the US weekly. The sub-primal cuts are butchered on-site and the meat is dry-aged for about 28 days in-house.
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Dry ageing is the process of placing meat in a facility under conditions of low temperatures and controlled humidity to allow enzymes in the meat to break down connective tissue, resulting in more tender, flavourful steaks with an earthy and nutty edge.
Four cuts of meat are available: sirloin, ribeye, filet mignon and, the bestseller, porterhouse, which is ordered by 70 per cent of diners at its other restaurants.
The steaks are cooked in a broiler and served sizzling on hot plates.
Popular side dishes include thick-cut bacon and baked German potatoes. Other menu offerings include a seafood platter, lamb chop and salmon.
Like its eight other overseas outlets, almost all of the dishes from its restaurants in the US will be available here and there will be one or two dishes that incorporate local influences.
The Singapore outlet is a joint venture between Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, which is now headed by Mr Zwiener’s son, Peter, and local food and beverage company, THP Global. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is THP Global’s first restaurant.
Mr Peter Zwiener, 52, president of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, says his restaurants in New York attract a diverse range of customers, which led to plans to branch out to major cities across Asia, including Singapore.
In a telephone interview with The Straits Times from Hong Kong, where another outlet opened last week, he says: “Singapore is a cosmopolitan financial hub with a big dining-out culture and there is a market that appreciates high quality food.”
While prices here are not confirmed, he says the average bill should be about US$110 (S$150) a person, like in its restaurants in the US.
A former investment banker, Mr Zwiener, who has been to Singapore for business trips, knows that the dining landscape here is competitive. “Instead of being chef- driven, we focus on the dry-aged beef and let the product sell itself,” he says.
Sticking to one type of beef makes it easier for the chain to maintain the quality of food in its outlets globally.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse started in 2004 in New York City. Mr Wolfgang Zwiener was talked out of retirement by his son to fulfil his dream of fronting a restaurant after decades of being in the steakhouse business.
In 2014, the first overseas outlet opened in Tokyo. The older Mr Zwiener still travels regularly to check on operations at the overseas restaurants.
By this year, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse will open three more outposts – two in the Philippines and one in New York. There are also plans to open in Taipei, Shanghai and Jakarta.
Mr Peter Zwiener says: “The concept of dry-ageing beef is relatively new in Asia so there is a market that is hungry for it.”
Adapted from The Straits Times. Photo courtesy of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.