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Cut or Melisse?

planning an anniversary dinner next month. Yes, I know these are vastly different experiences. Hoping that other well seasoned diners can offer me some pros and cons to help my decision making process.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I've always wanted to try Melisse but haven't gotten around to it. As far as Cut goes my experience has been overpriced, overrated, and overhyped. Service is good there and the atmosphere is not bad (some star watching and the mayor likes to eat there). The side dishes are delicious. Wine selection is pretty good. The centerpiece of the place, the meat, is nothing extraordinary to justify the price ($75 for 8oz Wagyu Filet Mignon)... small portions and nothing spectacular about the preparation (aging etc). Been there once and never again and I'm not alone with this sentiment. Well, maybe I'll go back for the side dishes:)

    I'm prepared for the Cut-o-philes to begin flaming me. LOL

    42 Replies
    1. re: mrshankly

      I agree 100%. CUT is massively overrated and overpriced. I've had more flavorful steaks at Ruth's Chris. Seriously.

      1. re: Ernie

        I've had more flavorful steaks at Ruth's Chris. Seriously.

        ======================

        That would be the massive amounts of butter they put on the steaks at Ruth's Chris.

        Seriously, CUT is expensive and maybe even overhyped. But it is probably the number 1 or number 2 steakhouse in town (I haven't been to Wolfgang's) if we consider the quality of the meat...especially the dry aged stuff. I prefer it easily over Mastro's, Ruth's Chris, and Morton's...although the "Chef's cut" rib-eye at Mastro's is pretty darned good.

        1. re: Nootka

          Maybe they ordered the wrong steak? CUT does offer wet age as well and is a not worth the price. 35 day dry age is the way to go.

          Only steak that should be wet aged is filet, other than that whats the point.

          1. re: A5 KOBE

            Agreed. In fact, I found the 35 day dry aged Nebraska rib eye to be much more flavorful and better tasting than the Australian 100% Wagyu New York Steak...at half the price.

          2. re: Nootka

            Thanks, but I understand steaks very well. I tried the dry-aged Nebraska at CUT. It was unremarkable in flavor, size, and preparation (overcooked) especially considering price. BTW The best dry aged steak I've had in California is not in Los Angeles, but at the original LG's Prime in Palm Desert. The best I've had in the US so far is Sparks in New York.

            1. re: Ernie

              Then why make claim that a place that wet ages their steaks has more flavor than a place that dry ages their steaks. Wet aging does nothing as far as developing flavor. It is literally impossible for wet aging to have more flavor.

              But why am I telling you this? You already knew that.

              1. re: A5 KOBE

                Because the wet aged steak I had at RC tasted better than the dry aged steak at CUT, that is why.

                1. re: Ernie

                  Been to RC in NYC and SF and LA over the past few years on other people's dime. I'd say in total I've had somewhere close to a dozen steaks from there, split evenly between the filet and the ribeye. The predominant flavor is butter. After that, it's a large piece of tender protein. It got to a point where I turned down free steak dinners at RC because I felt the steaks there are so unremarkable. Basically, I wouldn't even go on other people's dime.

                  CUT, I paid for out of my own pocket. If I wanted to do steak in LA, I would rather go back to CUT (maybe give Wolfgang's a try) and pay for it than have a free steak dinner at RC. The meat quality isn't even in the same league for me with CUT being the "cut above".

                  1. re: Porthos

                    That is great. I hope you keep on enjoying CUT

                    1. re: Ernie

                      Yuck! These look flavorless. Better add some butter.

                       
                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                        The cuts at top look good, but I don't enjoy eating large pieces of ultra fatty Kobe/Wagyu beef at steakhouses. Unfortunately those nice pieces of beef are likely to be overcooked and overpriced at CUT

                        1. re: Ernie

                          Unfortunately those nice pieces of beef are likely to be overcooked and overpriced at CUT
                          ==========================
                          Overpriced and overhyped are valid criticisms. Overcooked and lacking flavor are not.

                          See Kevineats photo essays over 3 visits and photos of at least 12 different steaks in total. None of them look overcooked. Thin brown rim, and the rest dark pink/red through and through.

                          Here is the link:
                          http://www.kevineats.com/2007/08/cut-...

                          Here is a representative photo from Kevineats:

                           
                          1. re: Porthos

                            In comparison, the filet at Ruth's Chris cooked medium rare courtesy of Yelp:

                             
                            1. re: Porthos

                              Unfortunately, overcooked at CUT is a valid criticism...as is rudeness!

                              1. re: josephnl

                                Sorry you had a bad experience at Cut, but that is unlike any experience I've ever had there. For me the staff bent over backwards to make sure we were happy from the manager and down. Excellent service.

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  Josephnl, please provide evidence of the many incidences of overcooked steaks at CUT. Preferrably via photos. Links to the many reports of overcooked steaks at CUT would also suffice.

                                  As for rudeness, my experience was more like Weinermobile's. I am neither hip nor one of "CA's truly elite celebrities". I even BYO'd my own wine. However, I was treated very well at CUT. It's not the best service I've ever had, but it's as good I've had in LA. They asked me if it was my first time. If I would like to see the meat tray. Asked if they could decant my wine first so it could open up in time for my meal (recognizing both the wine and year). Asked if I would like dessert now or later since I was struggling to finish my meal at the end. All very pleasant and attentive despite the room being packed on a Saturday night. Servers at CUT were way more knowledgeable about service and wine than any of the servers I've had at Mastro's Costa Mesa over my 6 or so visits there.

                                  It's not the best steak I've ever had. It's not the best service I've ever had. It's not even my favorite restaurant in town. But they do serve very high quality and excellently prepared steaks with some very tasty side dishes and appetizers. Service was professional and friendly. And for most people, that is the type of place CUT is. It's not some awful restaurant burning steaks left and right making even Ruth's Chris taste good type of place people are trying to make it out to be.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Porthos...I don't believe I said anywhere that I've been to CUT more than once. Once was enough! I am not in the habit of taking a camera to restaurants, thus no photo. Please see my August 29, 2010 post at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/729055
                                    In this post I explain how I was served an obviously overcooked steak (admitted to by our server, & glaringly different from another similarly ordered steak at the table) which was returned to the kitchen by the server. It was unbelievably returned to me by another server a few minutes later after the chef sliced into ~10-15 pieces, replated it on another hot plate, and I was told by the server that the chef said it was "as ordered". Regardless of whether or not I was wrong about the doneness of the steak (and I very obviously wasn't), I have never had a server or chef treat me or anyone I know so rudely.

                                    I, of course, will never return to that restaurant.

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      Read your report. It seems that the chef was obviously in the wrong but the server and manager were on your side and offered to replace your steak. Maybe if you let them replace your steak things would have turned out differently? I think it would be fair to blast the chef in this very unique and unfortunate scenario but since the server and manager sided with you, is it fair to still blast them for rude service?

                                      It just seems like you have the worst luck with some of LA's finest (eg P.Mozza).

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        Unfortunately the server who returned my cut up steak on a hot plate (who was not our main server) was himself rude. You'd think he would have been ashamed to serve it and would have gone to a manager. It was truly unbelievable! Although my experience at CUT was certainly over-the-top awful, if you read through the reviews, many people have complained about mediocre food and service. Interestingly we were just in Las Vegas, and heard nothing but good about CUT there...and in L.A., Spago, Wolfgang Puck's flagship, is one of our favorites. We've always had great service there.

                                        My problem with PMozza is not so much the food, as it is with the very uncomfortable, crowded, and noisy ambiance. Furthermore, although we certainly never have had rude service there, we've not had terrific service there either.

                                        So...that's why for me, there is no comparison between Melisse and CUT. Melisse is wonderful on all levels. True it is expensive, but I never mind paying when the experience is great. BTW, my other three LA faves are Patina (only recently...they seemed to have improved remarkably on my last visit), Water Grill, and the casual newbie Fig & Olive.. I'm not easy to please, but nevertheless there are many restaurants in L.A. that I truly love.

                                        Thanks Porthos for your very upfront comments. Discussion and sometimes disagreement is what this board is about. As long as disagreements are politely expressed, they should be welcome to all of us.

                                        -----
                                        Water Grill
                                        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                        Spago
                                        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          My problem with PMozza is not so much the food,
                                          ============================
                                          Did you go back recently and change your mind? Your previous posts stated that you were not impressed with the pizza there.

                                          Disagreements are certainly welcome and part of the discussion. But it's hyperboles and claiming that clearly inferior products are better than a certain high quality restaurant (eg. Ruth's Chris is better than Cut, Trader Joe's pizza better than Ortica, etc.) that makes certain posts hard to believe and take seriously.

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            No, I have not been back to PMozza recently, but although I don't think the food there is awful, it's just not (in my opinion, of course) not as great as I had been led to believe it is. And...with the uncomfortably crowded seating, noise and the mediocre service, it's not a place I would want to go to.

                                            Unfortunately what you consider hyperbole, may not at all be so in the mind of others. I think your last paragraph was probably directed towards me. So...after my awful experience at CUT, yes I would truly prefer dining at the Ruth's Chris in Irvine where I've always been treated well, have had well prepared steaks, the room is comfortable, and perhaps because I go there often enough, they recognize me and we get great service. Not even a close call for me, I prefer the Irvine Ruth's Chris to the Beverly Hills CUT. By the way, someone else in this thread said the same thing. My overall preference for steak is Mastro's, but I must disagree that the total package a diner receives at Ruth's Chris is clearly inferior to that at CUT. You have every right to disagree, but this is not hyperbole.

                                            The same will apply to the pizza at Ortica. It may be perfectly prepared Neopolitan pizza in your opinion, but I think it is dreadful. On the few occasions I've dined there, I thought that the limp center portion of the pizza tasted like mushy raw dough. I didn't like it at all and although I'm not a great fan of TJ's pizza, I'll take their Alsacian Tarte anytime over an Ortica pizza. My favorite pizza in OC is probably that at Pizza e Vino, but I also like the pizzas at ECCO.

                                            So Porthos, please don't take strong disagreement as hyperbole, and what you consider clearly inferior may differ from what others think. Each of our opinions is valid...and that's what this board is all about....at least I think it should be.

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

                                    2. re: Porthos

                                      How does it compare to L'Ami Louis' Cotes du Boeuf in Paris ?

                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Stefan! How are you? Back in the states yet?

                                        I'm of the opinion that meat, especially beef tastes better in Europe and South America. The 35 day dry aged Nebraska rib eye has good flavor, but it's not nearly as thick as the cote at L'Amis Louis (maybe 1/8th the size) and not nearly as glorious.

                                        For you, I would only recommend Totoraku. Ribeye. Outside cap.

                                        -----
                                        Totoraku
                                        10610 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          If l hit the lottery, l would buy a small estate on the Cotes d'Azur and call it 'Outside Cap'

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            Maybe a couple of smaller parcels on the side called "Potato Galette" and "Riz au Lait"?

                                  2. re: Porthos

                                    Good for Kevin. My very expensive and small dry aged Nebraska steak at CUT was overcooked, unfortunately. In reading other comments in this thread, it looks like I am not the only one with this experience

                                    Regarding the service at CUT, I would say it borders on icy. At their price points misprepared steaks and cold service are not acceptable

                                    1. re: Ernie

                                      To Ernie and josephnl. When you showed them that the steak was overcooked and not according to your request, what did they say?

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        They offered to replace the steak but were not particularly gracious or apologetic about it. My dining companions had already started eating so I politely declined and decided it was my last visit there.

                                          1. re: A5 KOBE

                                            If you read my earlier reply, I stated I do not order butter on my steaks. But I understand you just trying to be facetious

                                          2. re: Ernie

                                            Offering to replace the steak sounds pretty professional and gracious to me. Thank you for being honest.

                                            1. re: Porthos

                                              You are welcome, but I would have expected the same from Sizzler too.

                                            2. re: Ernie

                                              Instead of offering, they should have just taken it back and fired you a new one without hesitation. Putting the onus on you is sort of weak and cheaping out. I've seen a Kobe steak order go back at Providence two time without hesitation from the server. At this level of dining, CUT should have done something similar.

                                              As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of CUT either, although their Bone Marrow Flan is one of my favorite dishes anywhere.

                                              BTW, we really enjoyed our experience at Wolfgang's. It is like Peter Luger's lite.

                                  3. re: Ernie

                                    I'm with you Ernie. I'll take RC anytime over the CUT in Beverly Hills. I do hear however, that the CUT in Las Vegas is better than the one in BH, Mastro's is my favorite steakhouse in SoCal...I love the one in Costa Mesa!

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      I'm sure this will get deleted cause it's about LV:

                                      I took 5 clients to Cut in the Palazzo after raving about the BH location and go figure... everyone thought it sucked. I have been to the BH location a handful of times and IMO it is far beyond LV so if you didn't like BH then don't step inside LV's.

                                      Now the Mastro's at City Center was excellent.

                                      It sucks you had to go through that @ BH CUT. I've never had a cooking temperature issue there. I've only been to BH Mastros twice and once had an issue with my Med Rare being too close to Med but I was hungry and it was valentines day so I didn't complain. As with everyone and everything YMWV

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

                            2. re: Ernie

                              well an overcooked steak will kill the entire experience. I would have sent it back or left altogether if they didn't agree to make it right. you're paying premium price you should demand premium product. just my thoughts that mistakes do happen and your experience was probably impacted by that.

                            3. re: Porthos

                              Um, no. I order my steaks without the butter at Ruth's Chris. CUT is nothing but an overhyped, overpriced corporate feeling hotel restaurant.

                              1. re: Ernie

                                I agree w/ josephnl & Ernie. I will never go back to Cut, at least on my own dime. Everything but the salads & dessert was extremely, unpleasantly, inexcusably salty. But even worse that that - the steaks were literally covered with cracked pepper to the point my mouth was numb after eating about a 1/4 of the steak - which is about all I ate of it because it was too damn salty & not very flavorful. I can't fathom why they would take what is purportedly an excellent piece of meat (which is debatable) and ruin it by covering it in pepper. Unlike some other folks, I wouldn't call myself a steak connoisseur but I know a good piece of meat from a so-so one. For that kind of money, I'll go to The Steakhouse in Torrance for the A5 wagyu. No, not exactly a fine dining experience but a total beef flavor bomb which is what I'm looking for on the few occasions that I crave steak. Add when you consider $12 for VALIDATED parking at Cut... no thank you!

                          2. re: mrshankly

                            The best meals I've had in my life have been at Melisse. Have the chef's menu & enjoy!

                            1. re: dotrat

                              I think most of us would agree that Melisse is L.A.'s best. There really is no serious competition in the City of the Angels.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                Really? What about Providence or Urasawa?

                                -----
                                Urasawa Restaurant
                                218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  You've got me. I personally like Melisse much better than Providence, and have not been to Urasawa. I misspoke when I said "most" of us...it should have been "many" or "some" of us. You are right... certainly Providence is right up there, and from what I hear, so is Urasawa.

                                  -----
                                  Urasawa Restaurant
                                  218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                          3. I've never been to Melisse but hear awesome things about it. Cut is good but overhyped and over-priced.

                            1. Love Melisse! Beautiful, well executed food often using veg 2 or different ways on a plate. Recommend a truffle dish if they have one (maybe out of season?) Great wine program.

                              1. Between the two, esp. for an anniversary, go to Melisse.

                                1. I've never been to Cut, but from what I hear, it's just a really good, expensive steakhouse. Melisse is definitely a great special occasion restaurant. I've been there a couple of times, and I highly recommend it. The food and service on both visits were outstanding. I thought it was absolutely worth the high price tag.

                                  1. I think that Cut is one of the best steak houses in our city. You can share the wonderful
                                    "Tasting of New York Sirloin" plate that comes wtih 3 steaks, their American “Kobe Style” From Snake River Farms, their U.S.D.A. PRIME 35 day Dry Aged Top Sirloin also included is their Australian Wagyu Beef Top Sirloin. The appetizers, side dishes and deserts are unique and wonderful. I loved the Bone Marrow Flan with Mushroom Marmalade, Parsley Salad,
                                    and their Maple Glazed Pork Belly with Asian Spices, Watercress, Sesame–Orange Dressing, Fuji Apple Compote also the Warm Veal Tongue with Marinated Artichokes, Cannellini Beans, “Salsa Verde”. Service is classy. Yes it is expensive but well worth it for a special night and you can book a room in the hotel too. Happy Anniversary.

                                    -----
                                    Cut
                                    9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      And after dinner try Cut's Salted Peanut Butter & Chocolate Semifreddo, Vanilla Crème, Dulce De Leche. Nice.

                                      -----
                                      Cut
                                      9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        And, when you make the reservation, you let the staff at Melisse know in advance that it's an anniversary, they will probably go out of their way to make the experience extra special for you guys.

                                      2. Another vote for Melisse...and if you're are looking for beef, their cote de boeuf is excellent!

                                        1. Not even a choice...Melisse for sure! Melisse is certainly one of the finest French restaurants on the west coast. You will be treated to wonderful service, excellent food and delightfully pleasant ambiance. It's expensive, but worth every penny.

                                          On the other hand, I have only been to CUT once, but will never return. Most importantly, the food was dreadful...I had a very overcooked $80 wagyu steak, and the restaurant was unbelievable rude in handling the situation. The service was not good...the food was overall very mediocre....and the ambiance was awful (noise level was over the top, and normal conversation almost impossible). We took an unbelievably hip and elegant elderly woman, indeed one of southern CA's truly elite celebrities who will remain unnamed,; she is more with it than most 30 year olds, and has been to LA's finest, and yes, she was not treated well. This is a place that I would never recommend to anyone, especially to celebrate an occasion! Go to Melisse!!!

                                          1. Melisse! It is more refined, more romantic and appropriate for an anniversary. Go to Cut when you want to impress a client or something.

                                            1. I've been to Cut once - and thought I will likey go back, I haven't been dying to go back. When I want beef, I pick up a porterhouse or two from Harvey Guss, and grill it over charcoal. Sometimes I pan roast it.

                                              But Melisse? Melisse I've been to at least few dozen times. Terrific. Get one of the tasting menus. The egg caviar, lobster bolognese, sweet corn ravioli. Had a few new and great things lately, but can't remember (too tired, too late).

                                              1. Have you made reservations yet? Availability could make the decision for you.

                                                1. No contest whatsoever. Melisse.

                                                  1. I love CUT, the best steaks I've ever had anywhere were at CUT. My fiancee loves CUT. She asks me to go there all the time.

                                                    That said, Melisse blows cut away, especially for a romantic dinner. Service is good at CUT but not in the same league as Melisse. CUT can be noisy. I think my fiancee would rather eat by herself at Melisse on our anniversary than join me at CUT, and I would say CUT is in her top 10 LA restaurants.

                                                    1. I would highly recommend Melisse for an anniversary experience. It is beauitful, outstanding service, classical quality food with california fresh market taste. I would recommend it highly. One little special treat that your partner will enjoy, many of the tables have "purse" stools!

                                                      Yes its expensive, food for two without drinks will run between $150-200. For a special occassion, its well worth it.

                                                      Good Luck!

                                                      -----
                                                      Melisse Restaurant
                                                      1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                      Good Luck Bar
                                                      1514 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                      1. Is there anyone In your party that views fine dining as "eating steak and lobster"? Haha I know that may be over Simplified, but I find that if you have an idea of what you want to eat, and it's steak, then the chef's tasting @ melisse will disappoint that type of diner. Now taking that into account, if you want to put yourself in the chef's hands, I believe you will have an incomparable experience @ Mellise as Chef Citrin is truly an artist. The only place that comes close (albeit different food style) is IMO Providence. Chef Cimarusti is equally excellent! So I guess it boils down to: do you want great dry aged beef? Or do you want the total experience?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: YJLoco

                                                          This was posted last year. In May. It's come and gone.