Nine pounds. That’s how much weight I was short in my bet v. Han, and that’s what cost me $250+. Let’s back this up a bit, since I’ve never written about it. So in March, I made a bet with Han re: me losing thirty pounds by the end of June. The bet was $250. Han decided to convert that money to a nice dinner at CUT, to which I more than happily obliged. Fast forward 3+ months to the end of June: I only lost 21 pounds. On one hand, I don’t think I would’ve had the encouragement and motivation to lose the weight if it wasn’t for the bet. On the other hand, this failure cost dearly, not only to my wallet, but the meal itself does nothing but hinder my diet. But a bet is a bet, and I’m a man of my word.
So Han and I rolled up to the Beverly Wilshire in his Honda Accord, where we were met with valet attendants who were parking a variety of Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, and other 100k+ cars. Never have I felt so little (there was actually a Ford Escape on the lot too, but Han said that it probably cost more than the Accord). We got there a little early (our reservation was at 6pm, right when they opened, so they weren’t ready to seat yet), so we walked around the hotel. If we didn’t dress the way we were, we would’ve fit right in with the FOBs in the hotel.
No wine for us – need stomach for food.
Once seated, I began to glance around the dining room. The decor is very minimalist-modern in my opinion (not that I know anything about decor though). It felt like a place to have power lunches rather than romantic dates (very bright and clean, basically no decorations). Overall it gave the impression of one awesome conference room. We were seated at a four-top near the center of the room – either they knew we were fatties, or they wanted to make our man date extra special (both apply in this case, although Han and I rarely met eyes – both sets were either fixated on the food or at the women prancing around throughout the night). Shortly after being seated, our server Eric took us on a gastronomic journey…
Eric was very attentive and informative throughout the night. I think Han and I learned a lot about the restaurant and about steaks in general from him. Before we made our order, he brought out the steak showcase above to show us the different types. We didn’t see the Japanese wagyu on the menu, and were saddened to hear that they’ve been banned from the U.S. WTF? I was about to lose my mind upon hearing that. That was the main reason we came to CUT! But Eric assured us that the Australian variation is just as good. We shall see…
The first of three appetizers we ordered. Tuna tartare has been done to death by restaurants, but this was one of the best ones I’ve had in recent memory. The only negative was that it looked a little gray from the oxidation.
My favorite (and I think Han’s too) of the three. Thin, but meaty, cuts of raw Kobe steak soaked up the soy dressing nicely. I’m glad it was served sliced, rather than in carpaccio form like most raw beef dishes, because I feel like you can taste how rich and tender the beef was better sliced. The radishes and greens on top were a nice touch.
This was actually a really good dish, but it was served after the sashimi, which overshadowed it. It went well with the aioli and mustard that came with it. We also got some breadsticks, gougeres and onion focaccia, but rejected any bread beyond this point because…
(Left) Australian 100% Wagyu Beef From David Blackmore Ranch, Victoria, Alexandria – New York Steak 6 Oz ($140), (Right) American Wagyu / Angus “Kobe Style” Beef From Snake River Farms, Idaho – Rib Eye Steak 10 Oz ($88)
This is where the (hei) magic happens. We initially ordered two steaks medium rare – one was the Australian wagyu that Eric said mirrored the Japanese version, and one was the American waygu that was supposed to have the perfect compromise of the wagyu and prime steaks. Any doubt I had about the Australian wagyu was erased upon first bite – it basically melted in my mouth! And the American wagyu didn’t back down either – it had a nice, meaty bite, which then released the fat while you chewed (exactly what the compromise should be).The steaks came with three types of mustards and fleur de sel, but nothing was needed for these steaks. They had the perfect amount of salt and pepper. I was in steak heaven.
Despite the richness of the two steaks, they were still considered quite small (six and ten ounces are way below the size of steaks served at typical steakhouses). Since Han and I basically fasted the whole day for this occasion, we weren’t about to let the opportunity go to waste. More steak! I think we kind of shocked the staff with this. Eric was wondering if we just wanted to get some sides or try a non-steak entree. Nonsense Eric! He was great in recommending a prime aged bone in filet rare, since it would be a nice contrast to the wagyu we had. Good call. The filet had a very smokey and meaty texture. Having it rare, we were also able to taste the quality of the filet. Amazing how this is technically their worst cut, and also technically the BEST cut at just about everywhere else.
We were pretty full at this point, but there was no way we were leaving without dessert. Sorry for the poor photo, but I was in a rush to eat this. I was intrigued by the creme brulee description, and when Eric said that it was kind of like a Napoleon (my favorite type of dessert) I was sold. It was like a banana cream pie with creme burlee filling constructed in Napoleon form. Dessert can’t get any better than that.
I haven’t had souffle in a long time, so I was really looking forward to this. Han was going to hog this all to himself, so we almost ordered two of these (luckily we didn’t, since the banana cream pie was so good). It was a very good souffle, but was a little dryer from what I remember souffles to be. The accompanying chocolate sauce, creme fraiche and ice cream really helped though.
Man this dinner was amazing. 3x appetizers, 3x steaks, 2x desserts = epic dinner for two. Andrew, the manager, came by our table several times to applaud us of our efforts (and we appreciated the support). Thanks for all the love Andrew, and for the four-top to fit all our food! As I’m finishing up this post, I realized that I’ve probably used more positive adjectives and exclamation points here than all the other posts combined. CUT is now the third restaurant to receive an “A” grade from me, but I have to say that this was indeed my favorite meal of the year so far. Sure, Providence might use expensive seafood and sexy techniques. But at the end of the day, all a man needs is a perfect steak.
Chris Hei grade: A
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212