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Monday
May242010

#10 Cut - Beverly Hills

Rating: 5 cows

 

Once in a great while there occurs an experience that changes you. For better or worse, it permanently alters your view of the world and leaves an indelible mark of that place and time. It has been over a year since we began our journey of steak, and while that journey is far from over, it is hard to imagine any experience eclipsing the one we had at Wolfgang Puck's landmark Cut in Beverly Hills.

Cut is located in the Beverly Wilshire hotel, right at the crossroads of decadence and indulgence. Cocktails at the adjacent Sidebar were accompanied by an array of snacks including olives, candied almonds, and homemade potato chips. Their selection is ample but not exhaustive, and their bartenders are knowledgeable and more than competent with a shaker.

Across the entryway from the bar is the main dining room for Cut. The split-level seating area is light-colored with wood floors, overblown photographs of celebrities with indifferent glances adorn the walls and the menus. The wait staff is professional and polite; all five of our steaks were plated simultaneously by five different people. Our waiter greeted us with the sort of friendly tone you might expect from the Olive Garden, asking us if we'd been there before. That's not to say that he wasn't up to the task, however. The thing about Cut is that it really lacks any sort of pretense. The atmosphere is the epitome of casual elegance, and about the only hint you may be sitting next to one of the people immortalized on the walls are the prices on the menu. The place is rather loud, much more than you'll find at Morton's or Ruth's Chris, but it's for a good reason: everyone is thoroughly enjoying themselves and certainly their food, and it's just a very comfortable place to be. Steaks begin in the $40 range and go up from there.

Cut is not a place to go if you are even the slightest bit nervous of whether you will get every penny's worth out of your meal, or if the steak is really worth twice what you paid at Ruth's Chris. And the thing is, if you go in with the right attitude you're likely to appreciate it all the more.

Our waiter brought by a sampling of the steaks they had on offer, pointing out the intense marbleization on the Australian Wagyu NY steak. Our eyes widened as we pondered the price per ounce and came to the conclusion we should order a sixth steak to share, partially in honor of our comrade Brock who was unable to join us for what could easily be described as one of the most satisfying dining experiences any of us has had.

Among us five we ordered five different steaks: the 16oz bone-in filet, NY sirloin, 16oz boneless ribeye, 20oz bone-in ribeye, and the 8oz filet. Rounding out the list was the Wagyu, of which we each enjoyed a tantalizing 1.2 oz. What do you say about steaks that are nearly perfect? All were ordered medium-rare, and all arrived cooked to absolute perfection, save the 16oz ribeye which was a little more medium than rare. The tops of the steaks were blackened and seasoned just enough to flavor but not overpower the taste of the cut. The cuts themselves were expertly sized in both shape and thickness. They offered an array of mustards to accompany the steaks, but unless you came for the mustard (note: you did not come for the mustard), there's just no point. To say the steaks tasted fantastic was an understatement. They were all spectacular, especially the Wagyu.

If you've never had Wagyu before, you may be wondering if it's really that much better than an "ordinary" steak. There's no question the Wagyu is a taste apart from the other cuts, and if you like steak you should probably make a point of at least trying some if you get the chance. You don't have to worry about not being able to taste the difference. The question is whether you're in a position to indulge yourself so decadently. If I were you and found myself in such a position, I would not pass it up.

We ordered 3 side dishes for the table, and both the sauteed spinach and mac & cheese were terrific. Truth be told the french fries were good, but easily the weakest part of the meal. We declined the dessert menu, but were brought a selection (six, oddly enough) of house made confectionery including custard, toffee & almonds, and of course chocolate.

About the only blemish on the evening came at the very end while one of us waited for his car to be returned from the valet. It took them about 40 minutes to find the car, and they did do the right thing by forgiving the $12 valet fee. But after what we paid inside, we expected much more after stepping outside.

When we started this journey more than a year ago, I don't think we thought there could be an experience so amazing that it would warrant a 5-cow rating across the board. That all changed after dining at Cut. When giving our ratings, barely a second thought was needed. Even with considerations for the price, we have nothing but the highest of praise for this fine establishment. Well done Mr. Puck, it was truly our pleasure.

Cut Photos

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