OFFBEAT: Smith & Wollensky nods to 'Mad Men' menu with lunch theme

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-12-18T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Smith & Wollensky nods to 'Mad Men' menu with lunch themeBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Since cable's AMC began airing the very popular TV series "Mad Men," set featuring the decade of 1960s decadence, it's been a reminder of just how extravagant tastes and trends were during this bygone era.

From lavish holiday parties to long business work lunch meetings, it's amazing how much has changed over the years.

The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group has decided to resurrect the idea of a new, reinvented "Liquid Lunch" concept, "pouring over" every detail to celebrate the art of brewing and braising, while inviting guests to once again enjoy a modest libation during lunch. Their "fast-flowing" Liquid Lunch satisfies guests' hunger for craft beer and rich, warm flavors, by offering a three-course prix fixe lunch available for $30 Monday through Friday until 4 p.m.

"Lunch for many of our guests is all about conducting business or rewarding oneself over an incredible meal along with a celebratory beverage," said Kim Giguere-Lapine, SWRG vice president of marketing.

The Liquid Lunch menu begins with a Samuel Adams Beer. Guests then select from a choice of Smith & Wollensky's Famous Split Pea Soup or Soup du Jour and choice of signature braised entrée, picking either a Lamb Shank with lamb jus, Marcona almonds and Gorgonzola finish or a Beef Pie, featuring prime beef with cipollini onions, red wine, puff pastry and roasted onion crema or Cracklin Pork, which is a crispy pork shank, pineapple mustard glaze, beer and apple sauerkraut.

Matthew King, SWRG national director of culinary development, said the new lunch really takes its "liquid" tag because it is "liquid based" because of the offers of soup, braised entrees and beer.

"There's nothing more comforting during the colder months than the heartiness of braised meats," King said.

"Braising is a classic cooking method that uses liquid to cook for long, slow periods of time. The process allows the muscle in the meats to relax, tenderize and spreads the flavor throughout, resulting in fork tender perfection."

The restaurant's liquid lunch menu is capped with a wonderful fresh-baked cookie finale, served "to go" in a sleeve that includes a cardboard drink coaster inviting the guest back for a free "after work" beverage.

Smith & Wollensky is also celebrating the season with the introduction of its winter menu now available. A sample selection of the seasonal features include Braised Beef & Morel Mushrooms with Rosemary Pappardelle appetizer, Beef Tenderloin Trio—3 filet mignons topped with Cajun seasoning, Gorgonzola crusted and Madeira demi-glace; Double-Cut Lamb Chop and Duck Fat Roasted Root Vegetables.

There are only nine Smith & Wollensky steakhouses in the world, and we're lucky to have the Windy City location at 318 North State St. Wisconsin-raised Executive Chef Brian Christman, who spent a couple of years in Beverly Hills before his Midwest return, has been the culinary talent creating buzz since joining Smith & Wollensky a year ago.

To make reservations, call (312) 670-9900 or contact

Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group is headquartered in Boston, Mass. The restaurants were founded by Alan Stillman in 1977. He later created the T.G.I. Friday's chain. The Chicago S&W location was featured in the 2006 movie "The Break-Up" starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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