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.
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.
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