Restaurant: Wolfgang Puck’s Cut
Location: 9500 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, California 90212. P: 310-276-8500
Date: April 12, 2012
Cuisine: Steak House
Rating: Great, but I think Mastro’s is slightly better at the over the top steak house thing
Cut is located inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (think Pretty Woman) and is Wolfgang Puck’s take on redefining the American Steak House. In this, it succeeds very well. While it adheres to the Steak House basics: slabs of beef served plain on the plate, Cut upgrades things in a number of ways. But we’ll get to this in good time.
Puck himself was in attendance as well, he came by the table to admire my wines.
And self-help guru and modern Rasputin Tony Robbins was just a couple of tables over. Cut is definitely a place to be seen, and you can totally tell from the crowd.
Erick brought this Burgundy to start. “Displaying a bright, medium-to-dark ruby color as well as a cherry and ground white pepper-laced nose, this is a refined, thickly-textured, concentrated, and broad wine. It has outstanding depth of sweet cherry fruit, admirable structure, and a long, precise, and satiny finish. This gem has the requisite fruit, backbone, and concentration for extended cellaring. Projected maturity: 2002-2010.”
Cut isn’t in any hurry. After about twenty minutes the menu showed. You can see that the center is a wide variety of “slabs of undercooked beef.” Also present are appetizers, sides, sauces and the like.
This is a presentation of some of the special “Kobe style” beef. The black ones are Japanese cattle, bred in America. The white ones are American cattle in a Kobe style. At the top is the American Kobe style filet mignon which Simon will later eat.
Then keeping with kosher tradition we have: “Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Asian Spices, Watercress, Persimmon, Sesame–Orange Dressing, Bosc Pear Compote.” Pretty fantastic actually. Like bacon in maple syrup.
As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m loving the steak tartare. “Prime Sirloin “Steak Tartare”, Herb Aioli, Mustard.” This was good, with sour dour (I didn’t eat it) and horseradish and various aioli on the side.
Plus a quail egg we dumped on top. It had a nice delicate flavor, but wasn’t as good as say this one I had in Chianti. Probably because it wasn’t from Chiana cattle!
And more raw beef, because I love it so. “Kobe Steak Sashimi, Spicy Radishes.” This was a wonderful dish too, although I liked the similar take at A-Frame a little better.
Now we pull out the big guns wine-wise. From my cellar. Parker gives this a 96 and it earned every point. “This fabulous, blockbuster has been totally unevolved since bottling, but at the Jaboulet tasting, it was beginning to reveal some of its formidable potential. A saturated opaque purple color is followed by aromas of cassis, minerals, and hot bricks/wood fire. Super-ripe and full-bodied, with a massive mid-section, teeth-staining extract, and mouth-searing tannin, it is a monster-sized La Chapelle. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2050.”
Now, coming to the main course. I’m not really a straight up steak man. I don’t enjoy plain beef. It’s too simple and I’m a more is more kind of guy. So I went for “Kobe Beef Short Ribs “Indian Spiced”, Curried Pumpkin Puree, Garam Masala, Slowly Cooked For Eight Hours.” Above is the curry like sauce.
For those going plain, they provide a bunch of “free” sauces like salt and three kinds of mustard. We also ordered a $2 thing of “Shallot-Red Wine Bordelaise” (not pictured) which was a really incredibly wine reduction sauce.
“Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Smokey Bacon, Pearl Onions.” Pretty good, but Cut doesn’t have the full array of massively decadent sides like Mastro’s.
“Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé, Whipped Creme Fraiche, Gianduja Chocolate Ice Cream.” Excellent classic Soufflé, if not quite as perfect as the one at Maison Giraud (I have photos of it, but haven’t written them up yet).
“‘Baked Alaska’ Meyer Lemon Gelato & Blackberry Sorbet, Toasted Pistachios.” This was mine and it was good. Really good. The whole meyer lemon blackberry thing completely and totally worked. It was almost as good — and very similar to — the semifredo at Capo which is one of my all time favorites.
Overall, Cut is very very good, if a little expensive. It does succeed in taking the Steak House format and shaking it up a bit. Partly by offering unusual cuts of beef, partly by having newer more modern appetizers and sides. Execution is very good. Service is very good. It isn’t as over the top as Mastro’s. Not being focused on the pure beef, I can’t speak to the steak itself (both seem good to me). Mastro’s does, however, have a serious decadence factor — not that Cut is light. After coming out of Mastro’s my heart is usually palpitating. Perhaps that isn’t a good thing.