Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cuts Like a Knife But It Feels So Right

Expensive Red Meat. Why is it so expensive? I mean, when I was a kid, my family and I would go to Sizzler and we'd have steaks all around with a baked potato, salad, cheese bread, and a drink and it was dirt cheap. I usually got the chicken because I don't like the blue'd as a French waiter once said to me about a rare steak - but still, the steaks from what I recall were pretty tasty.

Granted some meat is dry aged for days on end, so I guess that takes time. I picture the steak being hung up on a clothesline like an errant sock and slowly growing fuzz as it dries out. Then someone takes the steak sock down and puts it in their laundry basket to fry up in butter for you. This takes effort, so I guess you pay extra for that. And I know Wagyu is flown here from Japan and certainly airfare isn't cheap even for fatty chunks of meat that have been messaged and fed sake and beer.

But don't you agree the real reason red meat is expensive is because rich old guys like it that way? Cattle farmers, chefs and restauranteurs almost have to invent ways to make red meat more and more expensive in order to please the demand for more and more expensive red meat by rich old ballers with pinky rings and Maseratis. How else are they going to impress friends, enemies, girlfriends and themselves with their own wealth, power and Masculinity? We have cows here? Nah! Let's mail order them like brides from Asia. The meat is ready to eat as is? Nah! Let's dry age them for 35 days. I have three pinky rings and only two pinkies? Bah! I wear two on one pinky. Problem solved.

You see how they do it? But the red meat consipirators make up all kinds of reasons why the more expensive meat is superior grade and all that. I just read on wikipedia under the section for American Wagyu: "It has also been recently discovered that gouging out the eyeballs of cattle during the birthing process leads to an increase in marbeling, as the energy normally used to provide eyesite can now be diverted to create marbeling. Gouging is traditionally accomplished using a spork."

So, you see, cattle are now using those long white canes and challenging younger cows to "take the stone out of my hand, grasshopper" because they're more intensely marbled as braille readers. Weird, right?

As you can tell, expensive red meat is not my bag, but nonetheless, I appreciate the role it plays in the political economy of fine dining, because when it's birthday time, a steak dinner for certain friends is far more appreciated than frou frou cotton candy foie gras and the like. That's when a porky ass Japanese cow, its blinded American half-cousin and all that nonsense has to be taken semi-seriously by yours truly.

That's when I have to roll up to Cut at the Beverly Wilshire hotel which was the scene of one of my all-time favorite movies "Pretty Woman".

bev wilshire hotel

Yeah, that's right. You can suck it feminists, I love a hooker with a heart of gold. And so do you Gloria Steinem - don't lie, you fish with a garage full of bicycles. The first thing you see at Cut are the flashy autos of the pawn shop owners, Ukranian mobsters and music producers that dine on red red red meat and red red red wine. The second thing you see are the portraits of Heidi and Spenser of "The Hills". They look solemn especially Heidi who has eyes like the eyes gazing out at East Egg from The Great Gatsby. All the portraits that hang on the walls of Cut (President Obama, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, etc.) are not an implicit endorsement of Cut but are portraits that were taken by a famous photographer and which are rotated every so often at Cut. This is what I was told anyhows by the friendly hostess. It's super random but I kind of like it.

speidi portraits

Then you see the dining room which is fairly small, modern, with ergonomic office chairs and a glass walled kitchen off to one side. Classic rock plays audibly while you peruse the menu. Heart, John Cougar Mellencamp, Hall and Oates aka some really fabulous tunes that make me and the Ukranian mobster feel quite at home. The waiters are dressed in black suits with name tag looking things on their right male boob. They kind of look like they could sell shoes at Nordstroms in those outfits. Me no likey that look at all.
dining room

Breadsticks just encrusted with cheese possibly parmesan. Delicious.

We got a grenache that may have been a bit too thin and wispy for the super fatty meal we were about to embark on but which I really enjoyed regardless.

The gougeres were delicious as was the pretzel bread. The focaccia was whatever.

We got the bone marrow flan as our starter. It's a knockout. KO. K to the O my friends. The buttery sweet bone marrow flan and the mushroomy marmalade to the side on a bit of toast with parsley and a caper was so delicious. It was reminiscent of crab roe according to my friend and I'd have to agree. We ate every drop.I even scraped inside the bone and looked through the hollow hole like a pirate through a telescope. Clean as whistle!
bone marrow flan

For the main event, we got a 14 ounce Nebraska corn fed USDA prime 35 day dry aged New York Sirloin and an 8 ounce American Wagyu New York Sirloin. For our sides, we had mac and cheese and braised swiss chard and cavalo nero.

We ordered both meats medium rare. I think the American Wagyu was overcooked and bordering on medium. They both tasted meaty to me. They were good and clearly the American Wagyu was far more tender and rich but I preferred the juicy yet leaner cut of the dry aged beef. The mac and cheese was terrific with a chewy al dente noodle just innundated with the cheesiest gooiest gruyereiest sauce ever. The braised chard was salty but the bitter note really helped cut the grease of the the meat and the cheese.

mac and cheese
close up dry aged
The steaks had some serious sear son. Searious. Get it?

For dessert we got the creme brulee banana cream pie. This was like the soul of a banana whipped into air. Absolutely magnificent.
bday cake

The bill came out to $299 without tip. While I enjoyed the low key feeling, the casual music and dining, even the laid back but friendly service, I don't think this was a superior dining experience. There's a lack of cohesiveness in the look, sound, feel and service, and the flavors while good aren't unforgettable. Moreover, if you overcook an expensive steak on a night when the dining room is empty, I don't know what to say about that. I kind of feel like coming at you with a spork, you know what I'm saying?

But Cut is the kind of place where two waiters feel they need to explain how to eat bone marrow so I imagine that Cut regulars don't care about cohesiveness, food knowledge, fine wines, etc. They just want a place where they can come eat a simple steak dinner with their girlfriend and then go home and put on some velvet bedroom slippers and sip on a midnight scotch while admiring their pinky ring. So, not my kind of place at all, but good for a special occasion.
Cut (Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon


  1. Ding ding ding - Pretty Woman is my favorite movie of all time! Lookie here, we not only share compatible stomachs, but we also share bad taste in cinema! High five!

  2. Diana: I am very ashamed of you and of me. High five, down low REAL LOW my friend.

  3. Good taste in cinema! Come on ladies, Pretty Woman is tops, just like a Sizzler in Perris, CA.Looks like delish food but 300 legal tenders hurts my life.

  4. I am also ashamed. For unrelated reasons. Just sayin'.

  5. You're so right about steak. Why is it so damn expensive? Grass fed I get, but the others, don't have a clue.

    My Mama cooks steak in a frying pan on top of the stove, and then we dip it in Maggi sauce. Good stuff.

  6. pretty woman is badass. anyways, sounds like an alright time. why didn't you send the overcooked steak back? sporks don't hurt when you use them for stabbing...i know. trust me.

  7. wow, i thought you were joking about the portraits of heidi and spencer until i saw the photo. lol. the mac and cheese looked pretty good

  8. Anna: I"m seriously tempted to go to a Sizzler to see if it's as good as I remembered. That cheese bread I know was some good stuff! And I'm ashamed of you too! *shaking head at pretty woman watcher*

    Harb: Me too. Ummm.. what unrelated reasons? The meat eating? The spork thing was a joke. Not funny I know. Again, I'm ashamed. Damn it.

    Gastronomer: Now that's what I'm talkin' about Gassy. Frying pan on top of the stove and some A-1. Who needs an 80 dollar steak? Not me sister. Fry me up a steak for $5 and I'm a happy camper.

    Bags: Pretty woman looked great in brown polka dots. And she can sing Prince songs and wear scary cut out hobag dresses. I love Julia Roberts! I've not tried to hurt meself with a spork but I will now and yes I should have sent it back but on a bday it seems so diva-ish and it was only slightly overcooked.

    Joan H: WELCOME JOAN TO MY WORLD. THANKS FOR COMMENTING, YES I'm shouting. the Mac and Cheese was kickkickkickassassass.

  9. Did you just KO Cut with your pinky ring? I think you did.

  10. FoodMarathon: Why is my pinky ring so evil? Is it cuz it's cubic zirconia?