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Wolfgang's is Doing a 90+ Day Dry-Aged Ribeye. That's Crazy.

May 7, 2020 | 10:14 Thu
When Wolfgang's (the steakhouse not the Puck) first opened in Hongkou, I gushed. I've since been back several times on my own dime to share the porterhouse among friends, eat slabs of bacon and take a few bites of the pure-crab crabcake. But virus-savings mentality has kept me away, until this week, when I found out they were doing a 90+ day dry-aged ribeye. Most steaks are aged about 28 days. Ninety days is insane. So I had to go eat it.

Wolfgang's is selling it two ways: one as a 1,188 a la carte option and the other as part of an 1,888rmb set that includes a bunch of sides, bacon, a crab cake and dessert. I did that. Plus a burger because I'm greedy and an extra dessert because I'm extra greedy. The steak itself is about 900 grams (bone-in), which feeds two to three people, unless they are steak monsters. How's it taste?

The previous longest-aged steak I've tried was a 45-day cut at NY Style Steak & Burger, which was so funky with blue cheese flavors, I didn't want to finish it. So I expected super funk from Wolfgang's. In fact, it's mostly just nutty, with a little cheese taste — but more like Parmesan than Roquefort — and extremely tender. Ageing a steak in the first place is meant to concentrate flavor and break down the fibers in the meat (making it more tender).

There is ALOT of waste when you dry-age and especially when you dry-age as long as 90 days (and our cut had actually gone to 120 days; they vary). Robin Wang, the restaurant's GM, told me that it's above 50% on these cuts, which means that in order to get your 900 gram steak, they start with a cut that's nearly two kilograms. Much is water evaporation; the rest is the dry crusting that happens over that period of time. It's an expensive and wasteful process — hopefully the result is worth it?

So should you go? If you're an advanced steak eater, you're probably part of their target audience. They don't have a ton of these steaks; they will run out in a couple weeks. If you're curious what such a long age does to excellent beef (Wolfgang's uses USDA Prime), and you understand what you're getting into, then 1,188rmb starts to seem more reasonable. Like Wolfgang's in general, it's a splurge. I found it excellent.

For just the casual carnivore, the answer is probably no. Stick to the inch-thick burger, also made with ground dry-aged beef (just some — too much and the burger would be dry).

For details on Wolfgang's Steakhouse, click here. To see the deal, click here.


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