The Real Reason You Shouldn't Eat At Wolfgang's Steakhouse

If there's one word you don't want to be linked with your steak, it's probably "puck." It evokes images of a hockey fight between human teeth and rubbery beef. Unless, of course, your steak is made by legendary chef Wolfgang Puck. So if you saw a sign for Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan and didn't know any better, you might body-check anybody standing between you and the door. But when Puck saw the sign, he basically told its owner to go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks.

In 2008, Puck sued the actual Wolfgang behind the steakhouse: Wolfgang Zwiener (via the New York Daily News). The suit accused Zwiener of using deceptive signage to poach Puck's patrons, leaving them with egg on their faces when they realized they were ordering "pedestrian" dishes instead of food from a "world famous and award-winning chef." That might sound like an insult to Wolfgang's Steakhouse, but Puck called it an "injury" to customers.

Successfully making that case was tougher than puck steak. The award-winning chef had agreed to a 2007 settlement stating that the sign could display "Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener." But he hadn't anticipated that the "Wolfgang's Steakhouse" portion would dwarf the rest of the text. Ultimately, Puck's gripe fell on deaf ears, which is fitting since the biggest injury to people who walked into Wolfgang's Steakhouse might not have been pedestrian deception but that the restaurant is way too pucking loud.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse puts the 'din' in 'dinner'

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, you like what you like. So if you like Wolfgang's Steakhouse, you might not like hearing this. Luckily, it should be exceedingly easy not to hear any of it because a recurring complaint over the years is that the restaurant makes it hard to hear anything. Per a 2004 review by New York Times contributor Frank Bruni, during his first trip to the steakhouse, "women were sparse in the early-evening dinner crowd, and the men had brought the bantam boisterousness of the trading floor into the restaurant, which was too loud for comfort." So if you planned on hearing yourself think about Wolfgang's $50 ribeye, either think twice or think aloud.

In 2017, a two-star review on Tripadvisor lamented that the restaurant was "a very loud, crowded place" and prevented them from enjoying an "ok" meal. A 2019 Forbes article by journalist John Mariani lauded the food but observed that "with an overwhelming number of large men who prefer bellowing to conversation, the noise level can be fierce." Of course, the Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Midtown Manhattan is far from the only link in that restaurant chain. Its website lists several locations in New York City plus places in New Jersey, Hawaii, Florida, the Philippines, Japan, and other countries. Maybe some of them are run by fiercely silent librarians. But the Manhattan steakhouse is touted as the flagship. Clearly, it toots its own bullhorn.