Saturday, June 27, 2009

CUT - Beverly Hills

It’s a tradition to have steak during our anniversary season; it’s what was served at our rehearsal dinner. This year we thought we’d try Wolfgang Puck’s CUT inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Cut has received numerous prestigious awards, and has earned one star by the Michelin Guide in 2008 and 2009. I’ve even read that some believe it’s the best steakhouse in Los Angeles. Our experience was on the contrary.

We ordered a cocktail in the “Sidebar” while waiting for our table. I enjoyed the nibbles that the bar area provided: wasabi peas, sweet and spicy almonds, and mixed olives and garlic. Dear Ben couldn’t keep is hands out of the bowl!

After a 15 minute wait, our table was ready. We sat in the dining room just across from Eminem. No, Eminem wasn’t really there, but the walls are covered in large simple headshots of elite Hollywood. From George Clooney to Robert Di Nero to Kanye West, the décor was clean and sophisticated.

CUT, appropriately named, is known for its fine cuts of meat. A raw meat showcase was brought to our table to explain the marbling and different selections available. The meats on display are only their top shelf steaks, but there are so many other choices on the menu. Entrée prices are as low as $34 for the Organic Poussin (young chicken) and range to $110 for the 3 lb. Pan Roasted Lobster from Stonington, Maine, which includes Black Truffle Sabayon. Steaks start at $46 for an 8 Oz. Filet Mignon, U.S.D.A. PRIME, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 days, and top out at $135 for a 6 Oz. Filet Mignon of True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef from Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Shortly after the meat presentation, warm cheddar biscuit bites were delivered – two for each of us. They were little pieces of heaven. The caramelized onion bread was also served warm, and it was delicious. The kitchen has some mighty good bread bakers back there!

Warm Bread!

We ordered the Kobe Steak Sashimi with Spicy Radishes ($22) and Austrian Oxtail Bouillon with Chervil and a Bone Marrow Dumpling ($18) for our first act. The Kobe Steak Sashimi was thicker than a traditional beef Carpaccio, and you could see the even marbling. It was butter, and this was the best thing I had all night. The Austrian Oxtail Bouillon was poured over the dumpling tableside. I love it when soups are presented in this manner. Dear Ben ate most of this dish as he always enjoys a good dumpling. To me, the dumpling was just okay.

The First Act:
Kobe Steak Sashimi & Austrian Oxtail Bouillon with Bone Marrow Dumpling

After a brief intermission, the second act was on. I, of course, wanted to taste as many steak flavors as possible, so we decided to split a tasting of three New York Sirloin steaks ($135). The tasting included 4 Oz. of American “Kobe Style” Sirloin from Snake River Farms in Idaho, 4 Oz. of U.S.D.A. PRIME Dry Age from Nebraska, and 2 Oz. of the Japanese Wagyu from Saga Prefecture. Ten ounces total. I have also been short ribs crazy lately, so I just had to get a taste of these too ($39). The plates were separated into four quadrants, allowing each steak its own stage.

The Tasting of New York Sirloin with Kobe Beef Short Ribs

I started with the Kobe Beef Short Ribs. They are cooked for eight hours in Indian spices and included Curried White Corn Puree and Garam Masala. This was probably my least favorite preparation ever. The description did warn me of Indian flair, but I was not ready for such intense spice. It was so overpowering that I wasn’t able to taste the meat.

Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced"

I began my steak tasting with the American Kobe Style from Snake River Farms prepared as the chef suggests, medium rare. I usually enjoy meat from Snake River Farms, but this preparation didn’t stand out to me as more fabulous than other good steaks I’ve had in the past. Though it wasn’t necessarily bad, it was just boring. I tried to liven up the flavor with the sauces, which you shouldn’t have to do with a good steak, but to no avail. [Note: Whole Grain Mustard, House Made Steak Sauce, and Argentinean Chimichurri are served with the steak tasting, $2 each if ordered separately.]

American Kobe Style From Snake River Farms, Idaho
The three sauces included, as well as a bowl of course grained salt

The next steak in the spotlight was the U.S.D.A. Dry Age from Nebraska. This was probably my least favorite of the three. My slice was a tad tough, and the marbling was not as evenly distributed as one would hope. Again, the sauces were called in as backup, none of which I would order again. I wish I had some Béarnaise sauce…

U.S.D.A. Dry Age Sirloin from Nebraska

The third and final steak, the Japanese Wagyu from Saga Prefecture, was by far the best although it was only about two bites. It did have a very rich and smooth flavor and could have been cut with a regular kitchen knife.

Japanese Wagyu From Saga Prefecture

There were 15 sides available a la carte, most of which are priced at $12. Tonight we opted for the Wild Field Mushrooms & Japanese Shishito Peppers ($19), Soft Parmesan Polenta, and Tempura Onion Rings. They were all very good, but something kept drawing us back to those onion rings. Thinly sliced and tempura battered is hard to beat.

Our side items of the evening

We choose to skip dessert because Dear Ben flew in a cake from our wedding cake baker for our anniversary, but the wait staff brought a plate of treats with “Happy Anniversary” scrolled along the bottom as an encore. It was very kind and unexpected. Although the food did not impress, the service was definitely well-done (and that’s a good descriptor of service – even at a steakhouse).

Sweet treats courtesy of CUT

We’ve dined at all of the big name steakhouses – Citizen Kane’s in St. Louis is the hands down winner – but I finally got Dear Ben to agree that Mastro’s wins in Southern California. You can get a customized seafood tower to go along with all the rest, and still come out $100 ahead. I want to love you, CUT, but you simply didn’t provide a good value for what we got.

Would I go back? Maybe, but I’d probably order the Sea Bass.

...and those are my Notes from the Napkin!

9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Cut (Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon

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