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CUT - is it worth it?

j
josephnl Aug 21, 2010 12:59 PM

Can't find any recent reviews of CUT. Menu looks extremely expensive and we are wondering if it's worth it. We love Mastro's Steakhouse in Orange County which is expensive, but no more than 50-60% the price of CUT. So...has any CH been to CUT recently, and what do you think?

  1. OC Mutt Aug 21, 2010 04:52 PM

    Yes, it's worth it. However the Wagyu steak is only 8% tastier and definitely not worth the 120% more you'll pay for it. And the real Japanese Kobe looked un-appetizing so I did not try it but this is one of the few places in America where you can even get the real thing if you wanted it - and that is triple the price or more of "normal" steak. The pretzel rolls are transcendent. Worth the price of admission right there. The sides are and salads excellent and the service is impeccable. Be aware that Cut doesn't do the massive portions usually found with most steakhouses. Also, I didn't bother to order dessert, nothing on the dessert menu seemed even remotely appealing that night. But it's a different take on the steakhouse, and worth trying.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OC Mutt
      A5 KOBE Aug 21, 2010 04:59 PM

      OC Mutt

      CUT does a modern take on the classic banana cream pie which is pure decadence. It is one of my favorite all time desserts at any restaurant.

      1. re: A5 KOBE
        OC Mutt Aug 21, 2010 08:00 PM

        wish the banana cream pie was on the menu when I was there, that sounds great!

    2. ipsedixit Aug 21, 2010 07:15 PM

      Yes, I think it is, esp. if your point of comparison is Mastro's.

      And unless you are getting the Wagyu cuts, I don't really think CUT is necessarily 50-60% more expensive than Mastro's.

      And, personally, I don't believe steak is the best vehicle in which to enjoy Wagyu beef. Just too fatty. Wagyu should be served sliced tissue-paper thin and eaten shabu-shabu style. But that's just me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit
        Tripeler Aug 21, 2010 07:29 PM

        And me, too. As usual, Ipse's take is spot-on. Wagyu often just doesn't cut it as steak, and the Japanese styles of preparation that use thin slices and heavier seasonings are more appropriate owing to the higher fat content. Wagyu just doesn't have that "chew" you need for a great steak.

      2. Larry Aug 21, 2010 08:27 PM

        It's worth noting that CUT doesn't offer "real Japanese Kobe." CUT offers true Japanese Wagyu (but see note, below), but not true Kobe. There's a long and boring story behind this, but as far as I can tell there's no true Kobe in the United States. Thanks go to someone, on some board, for pointing this out to me - ain't my memory great?

        Now about Japanese Wagyu: if I understand the news correctly, there's no true Japanese Wagyu in the United States at the moment. A few months ago, Japan had an outbreak of hoof-an-mouth disease. All beef shipments from Japan to the United States were blocked. In July, I went to the branch of CUT in Las Vegas, and the chef there said pretty much the same thing; as a result, CUT only offered Australian Wagyu, of a somewhat lesser quality.

        Japan has recently declared the incident over, but news articles seem to indicate that it will be some time before shipments to the United States will be allowed. I've read estimates of a few months, to the middle of next to year, to even longer. Does anyone have better information about this?

        1. o
          ozsj0402 Aug 21, 2010 10:49 PM

          YESSSS!!!! but make sure to order something above american wagyu :)

          1. J.L. Aug 22, 2010 12:32 AM

            I'll be the dissenting voice in the wilderness and say No... Not for what they're charging. They screwed up and overcooked my $150 Japanese steak, despite my explicit instructions.

            6 Replies
            1. re: J.L.
              m
              mc michael Aug 22, 2010 07:22 AM

              so did you discuss this with them? if not, why not? if so, what result?

              1. re: mc michael
                J.L. Aug 22, 2010 11:57 AM

                I've already detailed this particular encounter at CUT on another thread in the past...

                But in essence, it was a business dinner, and we were discussing important matters. I didn't want to make a scene with my steak issues. Plus, I was the client (not paying for the meal), and didn't want my gracious hosts to lose face. Looking at the big picture: There are far worse fates in the world than to have to "endure" overcooked imported Japanese beef in Beverly Hills.

                1. re: J.L.
                  ipsedixit Aug 22, 2010 12:02 PM

                  Gotcha. Too bad.

                  1. re: J.L.
                    m
                    mc michael Aug 22, 2010 02:04 PM

                    Yes, face trumps a well cooked steak, etc.

                2. re: J.L.
                  ipsedixit Aug 22, 2010 11:00 AM

                  J.L.

                  That's an easy problem to remedy. Send it back and have them do a reset.

                  I was there once and they happily complied with our request to have our steak redone 3 times (yes, 3 times). The 2nd and 3rd time they stood there as we cut into the steak. We said, "not right". Apologized, whisked right away, and came back with another steak.

                  At the end, that particular steak was comped.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    Xericx Aug 22, 2010 06:07 PM

                    they overcooked my Idaho waygyu ribeye as well. sent it back. really killed the mood to wait 10 minutes while everyone else dined, I snacked on creamed spinach.

                    i don't think Cut is worth it to be honest...i did like the waygyu appetizer though.

                3. d
                  degustateur Aug 22, 2010 07:26 PM

                  For me, dining at CUT is more about the overall experience than merely the singular piece of meat en plate. I have relished a number of magnificent meals at CUT and it remains one of my premier LA dining venues. It is also one of my favorite spots to dine alone and to reflect. The ambience and service are second to none and the food has left me without a single complaint that I didn’t create for myself. What, you say! Well …

                  I once ordered CUT’s Japanese Wagyu Rib-Eye and found it cloying after just several bites. I forced myself to finish it. Although a prime specimen it was entirely too rich in fat content for my palate, particularly given its larger size. I was left to consider it a $200 novelty dish, one that I would not likely reorder in the same size or cut. “Too much of a good thing” … best enjoyed in small quantities (as per Ipse, shabu shabu, sukiyaki, or robata style), leaving one wanting for more, not wishing for less. Those first bites, however, were truly sublime.

                  I’ve yet to enjoy the full range of steaks at either CUT or Mastro’s and I’ve only dined at Mastro’s Orange County locations a few times in toto. Mastro’s Bone-in Kansas City Strip was exceptional as was its New York Strip, essentially the same cut but without the bone. Both were superbly prepared, but each a bit shy of the forward flavor that I so appreciate in the best examples. The creative starters such as the bone marrow flan, the superb side dishes such as their mac ‘n cheese and the exemplary service render the total experience of dining at CUT a cut above, inviting rather than just welcoming my return. Did I mention their chocolate soufflé?

                  A brief word about Kobe versus Wagyu beef. Kobe beef comes from the Wagyu cow. All Kobe beef is Wagyu beef, but not all Wagyu is Kobe. The fundamental difference is that true Kobe beef must come from the Kobe prefecture in Japan. Kobe beef is also bred in accord with strictly designated standards. Interestingly, a significant amount of Kobe beef comes from cattle raised in locales other than Japan, including the U.S. and shipped to Kobe, Japan for finishing and, thereby, enabling the Kobe appellation designation. It is true that, at present, CUT is not featuring any “real” Japanese Kobe beef on their menu. As with all beef, there are various grades of Kobe and Wagyu beef. The assigned grade applies to the entire carcass, not just to specific cuts from one part or another. The grade, i.e. quality, of Wagyu beef offered by CUT is, imho, at least as high as that of most of the genuine Kobe beef, when available, offered for sale in the U.S. market. Trust me.

                  Is CUT worth it?

                  You betcha!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: degustateur
                    Servorg Aug 22, 2010 07:49 PM

                    I still hold a warm place in my heart (and more than a bit of awe) for the meal and subsequent review/photos that Kevin H did of his Cut visit way back when: http://www.kevineats.com/2007/08/cut-...

                  2. r
                    reality check Aug 23, 2010 10:51 AM

                    I've been to Cut, three times and never had a problem with the way the steaks were cooked.

                    Is it worth it? Of those three times, I only paid once. I did enjoy my meal but I don't think it is worth the higher prices.

                    1. m
                      manku Aug 23, 2010 11:00 AM

                      No...a few reasons:

                      1. Obnoxious music...when I'm spending that kind of money, I don't want Led Zep (whom I love) cranked in the background.

                      2. HUGE Photos of Heidi and Spencer...enough said.

                      3. Food was pretty good, though amazingly the best parts of the meal were the apps and desert (great banana cream pie!)...the steaks were a letdown, save the $80 domestic waygu filet.

                      4. Too expensive...we brought our own wine, and it was nearly $800 for five of us! Every other steakhouse runs about $80/pp with BYOB...it's about a 100% premium.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: manku
                        ipsedixit Aug 23, 2010 12:10 PM

                        Bear in a mind a few things (esp. in reference to posts in the spirit of manku's).

                        When a poster asks whether something is "worth it" this is almost impossible to answer, or even to gather a general consensus.

                        Why?

                        All of us come from different social-economic backgrounds, meaning we each place different values on money, and all of us have different social economic status, meaning our incomes (and disposable incomes) vary.

                        So while Poster A may think a NY Prime 28 day dry-aged steak is "worth it" at $50, another poster, call her Poster B, may not.

                        And this difference isn't because said steak is not very good, or not "worth it"; rather, it is because Poster A and B place different values on their money, and more likely than not have different amounts of money to spend on a steak.

                        I think the best way for a person to gauge whether a restaurant is "worth it" is simply to ask on this board whether they thought the food was good, then look at the menu prices, and then make your own personal "worth it" calculation.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Servorg Aug 23, 2010 12:14 PM

                          I thought my recent NY steak breakfast at Pepy's Galley in Mar Vista was quite good (and it came with two eggs, breakfast potatoes, an English muffin and some of the best salsa rojo on earth) for $7.95. And yet I still think Cut is worth the price. Go figure. ;-D>

                          -----
                          Pepy's Galley
                          12125 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      2. j
                        josephnl Aug 29, 2010 10:32 AM

                        I'll answer my own question! We did go there for dinner last evening and we left feeling it was most definitely NOT worth it, in fact we thought it was one of the poorest dining experiences we have ever had in Los Angeles!

                        First regarding the food: Our cocktails were good, the bread and starters were all excellent, but aside from dessert, it went downhill from there. One of my guests and I each ordered a New York steak prepared medium (which we were told would be very pink throughout, but not bloody). She ordered the regular prime U.S. beef, and I ordered the U.S. wagyu. When we cut into our steaks, hers was pink, exactly as it should be, mine however was brown with a bit of pink showing through...obviously overcooked. When the server came back a few minutes later, I pointed this out, and he immediately whisked the steak away saying he would take care of it. About two minutes later another server returned with the same steak, now totally sliced into about 10-12 half-inch thick slices, and told me that the chef said it was cooked properly! If the steak was dry before, slicing the entire steak on a warm plate certainly ensured that it would be drier now. A bit later a manager came by and I did point out to him that the difference between the two "medium" steaks was so dramatic, that obviously one was not correct...mine was clearly overdone. Although he did then offer to recook the steak, by then we were all almost through eating, and I didn't want this done. Additionally both of us thought that our steak was extremely salty...very unpleasantly so. Furthermore, my wagyu steak had a very strange almost sinewy texture...not good! My other guest had turbot which was good, but not exceptional in any way. Likewise, our sides were good, but certainly no better than that.

                        We were comped for my steak, and for an excellent banana cake.

                        We were also very disappointed with the ambiance, especially with the extremely high noise level. All surfaces in the restaurant are hard, the background music was very loud and distracting, and combined with the fact that the room was totally full (amazingly!) made the ambient noise so loud that we needed to shout to be heard. Very unpleasant!

                        The service was generally pleasant and competent, but it's truly not forgivable for a server to return an obviously overcooked steak to a guest and tell him that the chef said it was "as ordered". And to totally slice my steak for me, as one would do for a child,...

                        Mastro's Steakhouse is head and shoulders above CUT...in every way, and although certainly not cheap, is a far better value. It's really a shame about CUT, because we absolutely love Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills!

                        -----
                        Mastro's Steakhouse
                        246 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: josephnl
                          J.L. Aug 29, 2010 11:29 AM

                          ... Sorry about your experience. It looks like you have arrived at my conclusion as well. See you at Mastro's next time.

                          1. re: J.L.
                            e
                            epop Aug 29, 2010 11:45 AM

                            The one steak I had at Mastro's, a porterhouse, needed to be returned. A credit was given. I won't go there again. Haven't been to Cut yet b/c I don't want to risk another similar experience. Peter Luger disappointed me only once in thirty visits. But that's in another city and I want to go out for steak. Woe is me.

                            -----
                            Mastros Restaurant
                            2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                          2. re: josephnl
                            ipsedixit Aug 29, 2010 12:25 PM

                            Too bad about your experience.

                            A note on the Wagyu. Like I've said before, steak form is probably the worst way to savor this type of beef. It's just too fatty, which may have lead you to the "sinewy" feeling.

                            As to the overdone steaks, this is endemic in all steakhouses. I don't know of any steakhouse that consistently (much less "always") gets the doneness of its steaks right each and every time. Each diner has their own personal definition of "medium" or "rare" or whatever. Although the way CUT handled your overdone steak was completely out-of-line and unforgivable.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              J.L. Aug 29, 2010 04:09 PM

                              Agree with ipse about the best way to enjoy wagyu beef. I like it best in precut thin, bite-sized slices/morsels, quickly heated on a stone or grill.

                              Undercooking a steak is easily remediable, and most chefs aim to err in that direction; it's how the steakhouse handles the overdone steak that makes or breaks them.

                              1. re: J.L.
                                j
                                josephnl Aug 29, 2010 04:30 PM

                                The dining room at CUT filled up promptly when they opened at 6, remained packed while we ate, and there was a crowd waiting to be seated when we left at about 8:30pm. Go figure...and for one of LA's most expensive restaurants!

                                Yes J.L., we'll see you at Mastro's next time!

                                -----
                                Mastros Restaurant
                                2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

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