Sunday, November 16, 2008

CUT Wolfgang Puck Beverly Hills

American Wagyu steaks on top and Japanese Wagyu below

With a stack of steaks like that, who needs the obligatory exterior photo of the restaurant. My trip to CUT was about one thing--meat.


One of my first upscale dinners was at Spago. I knew Wolfgang Puck before I was serious about food; he's in every supermarket. But I didn't choose Cut as my LA steakhouse of choice for him, I was chasing CUT's one Michelin Star.

The restaurant was designed by Richard Meier, architect for the Getty Center, but for all his renown, I thought the restaurant wasn't especially eye-catching. Clean lines and bright whites gave the place a modern look, but maybe I just don't appreciate design at a high enough level. I started with several cheese breadsticks that resembled crackers in crunch. They were narrow and heavily seasoned; I'd be much more inclined to call them crackersticks. The pretzel bread and four gougeres were also excellent starters.

Having just come from a beeftastic dinner at Totoraku, I didn't know how I could handle this much beef in such a short time. Of course that didn't deter me from ordering the veal tongue with salsa verde, artichokes, cannelli beans and basalmic vinegar. The flavor of the veal was much less pronounced than the tongue at Secret Beef for obvious reasons, but it had a tenderness that resembled a filet more than tongue. The only drawback from this dish was the awkward service temperature. The menu had called this "warm veal tongue" and it indeed came out lukewarm. I'm not sure what this accomplished besides confusing my tongue.

Veal tongue

So what steak did I choose for my steakhouse dinner? I was actually on a budget, considering this was a work-related meal, so I opted out of the Wagyu and went for the 35 day dry-aged 10 oz ribeye. Afterward, Kevin told me I should've had the Wagyu instead, but I felt like the raw beef flavor would be overwhelmed by the fat of a Wagyu cow. Especially if I'm eating a whole steak, I'd rather not eat that much Kobe beef. My steak turned out extremely well; I daresay the best steak in my life. A crispy crust of flavors surrounded a juicy interior of medium-rare. The key to the aging process is the concentration of beefiness, something I didn't want masked by fat. Knowing that however, I should've gone with a NY strip or something less fatty than a ribeye. I just can't say no to a ribeye though.

Meat isn't very photogenic

After the meat, we received two petite fours with the check. The ginger and Jack Daniels had little ginger or Jack, but plenty of indulgent chocolate. I enjoyed the cashew caramel much more, although I felt like a dog eating peanut butter as a chewed through that thing.

Cashew caramel

Ginger Jack Daniels

While I never like ordering steak at restaurants because they are typically overpriced, I'll make exceptions for places like CUT. A great steak is truly marvelous, even for $66.

Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, 90212
$40-80 a steak


Mike said...

I had a strikingly similar experience to you a few months back, also eating at CUT on a budget. How I wish I didn't have a budget!

I adored the veal tongue but sadly found the much praised bone marrow not really my taste. It was certainly very good, but after reading so much about it I had set the bar too high. My fault.

I tried two cuts of beef, one Illinois and one Nebraska raised. I believe they also had a Kansas one at the time. Out of the two I preferred the Illinois if I recall correctly.

I don't know if CUT is overpriced for what it is, having Puck's name associated with it, but it was certainly one of the better meals I've had in recent memory.

kevinEats said...

The key at CUT is to go with several other people and order all four types of steaks, thus being able to experience their similarities and differences. On my last trip, we are able to compare the the four variations of NY Strip. See:

Aaron said...

@Mike I was looking for your review on AskMen. Can you post a link?

@Kevin Of course you eat in much higher style than me

Frequent Traveler said...

I'm to go there for dinner in a few weeks... I'm normally an enthusiastic meat lover of carpaccio, tartare and filet mignon. We shall see...

Epicuryan said...

I haven't been back there in a while. I do think the dry aged beef is probably the best choice for a true steak lover.

Aaron said...

Ryan: Yes, the dry-aged beef is truly pristine for the beef lover. My experience with Wagyu is that it's almost too fatty. With beef, I want to taste more of the cow. Therefore, sometimes I prefer an Angus over a Wagyu steak