Since its opening in New York City earlier this year, Laser Wolf has consistently proven to be one of the most difficult reservations to secure across the five boroughs. This week, Contributing Editor Megan Shelton finally had the chance to see if this hotspot is worth the hype.
What was initially born inside a converted warehouse in the trendy Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia during the pre-pandemic portion of 2020 has found its way to the rooftop of The Hoxton, Williamsburg. Now, acclaimed chef and restaurateur Michael Solomonov is growing his Israeli village in collaboration with his own hospitality group, CookNSolo, plus the Hoxton Hotels-favored Chicago-based Boka Restaurant Group.
In contrast with the ever-sophisticated Zahav––the grande dame of Solomonov’s culinary empire––Laser Wolf evokes a modern-day shipudiya (skewer house), with every course feeling convivial yet chaotic (in the best way imaginable).
A set of purple and green elevators depicting a sketch of a wolf’s face transports visitors from the lobby to the glass-paned rooftop setting with sweeping sights of the Manhattan skyline. The 100-or-so seat space revolves entirely around the charcoal grill. No matter where diners are situated, the aroma of the blazing fire warming the mangals (charcoal grills) finds its way into every corner.
Counter seating is not always preferential, but rest assured that a spot along Laser Wolf’s expansive tiled bar promises a peek into the kitchen team’s action, orchestrated by Chef de Cuisine Mike Mayo and Executive Chef Andrew Henshaw. Vegetables pop and sizzle directly on the grill while the main focus––the skewers––hang half an inch above, searing and blistering in raging heat from the same flames before being arranged on platters.
The wood tabletops are adorned with checker, chess, or backgammon boards––wildly popular games in Israel. Upon asking our server if game pieces or chips were available, we were encouraged to bring our own next time. However, once the food comes out, there is no time for games.
The approachable and unpretentious menu follows a simple prix fixe formula. Every meal at Laser Wolf begins with salatim, the traditional Israeli course adjacent to the American appetizer. The Hebrew word directly translates to “salad,” but this is just a catch-all term for a variety of cold dishes and dips such as Eggplant Babaganoush, Pineapple with Celery, Cabbage + Fennel w/Schug, Green Beans w/Grapes + Amba, and Cucumbers w/ Harissa. Of course, hummus, Israeli pickles, and pita are part of the mix.
All diners do is select something “From the Grill,” which determines the prix fixe menu price. Choices range from meats such as Chicken or Steak Shishlik to Lamb Kofta, two fish plates––Tuna Shishlik and Whole Sea Bass––as well as two vegetarian options: Eggplant w/charred tomato, grilled corn + dukkah, and Shawarma-Spiced Cauliflower. However, the “For Two” Whole Branzino or the Dry-Aged T-Bone have likely graced your Instagram feed for the past few months.
Each diner receives a decadent cup of Brown Sugar Soft Serve finished with a seasonal topping to round out the meal.
Make your time a true layl keef (“fun night out”) with a round of Arak or one of the cocktails; the Sour Patch Kidz (tequila, sour cherry, lime) and Saz-Arak (sazerac rye, arak, fennel) seem to be the most popular. There are also several wines, beers, and zero-proof mocktails available.
Though a reservation at Laser Wolf may be elusive, the journey is well worth the effort. From its sizzling skewers to its vivacious atmosphere, this dining gem lives up to the hype, promising a truly unforgettable evening.
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Within The Hoxton, Williamsburg)
Address: 97 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Price Point: $$
Takes Reservations: Yes – Resy
The Vibe: This lively destination eatery is reminiscent of the eclectic skewer shops in Tel Aviv.
Our favorite thing on the menu: The Salatim is unparalleled, plus the Lamb Kofta and Shawarma-Spiced Cauliflower are perfect for two people to share, along with an order of French Fries and Tehina Ketchup, of course.
The attire based on the vibe: Smart Casual
Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Sunday to Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.