Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cut -- delete steak out of this equation

Beverly Wilshire Hotel, 9500 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 276-8500

Some dear friends from London threw a dinner party while in town for the new year. Some guests even flew in from out of town. Our evening started with cocktails at the bar and then, moved on to dinner in the main dining room. The first thing I noticed were the portraits hanging
on the walls. We were privileged enough to be seated under the one of Barack Obama -- how appropriate considering the group which sat beneath it.

Menus had the same theme -- each had a photo of a celebrity on the back, although, none were properly labeled. I guess they expected us to know who everyone was. Most of us got one with Arnold Schwarzenegger, including me. My dear friend, who was sitting next to me, had one of Terence Howard, so I stole the hottie from him and gave him the leathery governator instead.

Cut touts itself to be a steakhouse, a steakhouse owned by Wolfgang
Puck no less. I for one am not a Wolfgang Puck fan. I've never been too impressed with any of his restaurants, but I was really excited about the night's dinner purely because it was a gathering of old friends who haven't seen one another for quite some time now, and also, due to all the ooos and ahhhs I got from friends who knew I was going to be dining here.

The selection of steaks is quite impressive, ranging from US corn fed beef from Illinois and Nebraska, aged 21 and 35 days respectively, a hybrid of Kobe and Wagyu from Idaho, and of course, the creme de la creme, imported Wagyu from Kyushu prefecture in Japan. The price ranges from just a tad under $40 to $135 for a tasting of three different cuts totaling 12
oz. If you didn't want steak, there is pork chops, lamb chops, tuna, poussin, lobster, sole and more to choose from.

I thought it strange that they didn't serve bread while we perused the menus. In fact, we had to ask for it before they brought it, but when they did, it was awesome! The onion bread, pretzel roll, pumpernickel, all impressive!

We started off with some appetizers. I can only speak for the ones I tasted -- "warm veal tongue with marinated artichokes, autumn shelling beans and salsa verde" and "Austrian oxtail bouillion, chive blossoms, chervil, and bone marrow dumplings".

Veal tongue was actually quite good -- very tender and flavorful, cooked perfectly. If you're a light eater, this dish could even serve as an entree. Oxtail bouillion was light and tasty with bits of bone marrow in the broth. The dumplings were really rich and heavy so perhaps it wasn't a good choice to start with if you're looking to follow with steak.

Everyone in our party ended up ordering steak and there were a few hiccups because one was ordered medium but arrived rare. Mine was a tad too rare for my medium rare but I'm fine with meat on the bloodier side so I didn't send it back. I could've sworn that they gave
me filet mignon and not NY sirloin as I had ordered. I do not like mignon at all as I find it really tasteless with absolutely no chew factor whatsoever. The piece of meat on my plate was also about an inch and a half thick, not how sirloin is usually served anyway. One of our hosts questioned his cut as well, but after a few going back and forths, the server brought the plate back insisting that it was the cut he had ordered. I tried hubby's Kobe beef which definitely had better taste than mine, but definitely tasted far from the Kobe beef I've had in the past.

I also got bone marrow on the side and what arrived was seriously interesting. White bits of bone marrow, just like the ones in the oxtail soup, were just plonked onto a plate and that's it. I had expected a two inch bone with marrow inside baked and served as is to be served alongside my steak. What a disappointment. This is not how bone marrow is usually served, at least not in Europe. I've never had bone marrow, served with a piece of meat, tasting like a mix between fat and tendon. Needless to say, I didn't eat much of this.

I thought service was really good. Little touches here and there were nicely thought o
ut. I notice these things and my friend was chuckling because he used to accompany me on my food writing escapades when we lived in Hong Kong and he knew I was paying attention to every little detail, whether it was a hit or miss.

The hits: plates were all served simultaneously with multiple serves without missing a beat, fresh napkins replaced whenever someone would leave the table. Wine was duely poured whenever anyone took a sip or two.

The misses: this would've been a hit -- when bread was placed into one of the diner's bread plate, a piece fell onto the table and the server picked that piece up and took it away -- but what followed made it a miss. I kept my eye on the server and instead of throwing that piece of bread away, he turned around, back to the table and put it right back into the bread basket. I kinda chuckled because the table wasn't dirty by any means so it wasn't a m
atter of hygiene, but rather, if you're going to do something, follow through to the end so to speak.

The other miss was that they couldn't keep track of who was drinking still water and who was drinking sparkling water. My glass of still was topped with sparkling and it wasn't until I noticed tiny bubbles in my water that I questioned the young man who was holding the bottle of Voss. He was apologetic and replaced my glass promptly.

In any case, service was still pretty darn good and it was obvious they all underwent rigorous training. However, the training was so good that each server blended into the next not displaying any sense of personality or individuality. I thought it was on the robotic side really, but I guess that's what most of the shi shi diners want anyway.

I think if you were to go to Cut, have the appetizers, desserts and drinks. Stay away from the steaks. They're just not good enough to warrant the price. Desserts were good if you're a dessert fan. I'm not. Souffles were deemed the standouts.


melissa said...

That's funny. Another food blog I read just reviewed this same place and loved it. Unlike you though, she and I very often don't match up on our tastes. ;) Sorry about your steaks!

Lomnoir said...

This reminds me of Smith & Wollensky's, once deemed the best steak in the US (not so much).