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Journal of No. 118


September 7th, 2013

CUT @ 09:09 pm


Dr. Pookie took me to Cut at the Beverly Wilshire for my birthday (a week early, since Wyrdcon coincides with the actual day).

It was pretty splendid. Because they are punks, Michelin hasn't given stars in LA for a few years, but once upon a time, Cut was a one-star restaurant. For better or worse, visiting Luce in San Francisco has only reinforced Dr. Pookie's desire to visit Michelin restaurants as and when appropriate.

I will start with the negatives. The plates had a raised lip that made it impossible to rest your steak knife on it, without the knife slipping down into the plate. Ok, all done. Oh wait. The wine list is for Rockefellers. Dr. Pookie's injunction to keep it under $100 made my selection much easier. $1,000 would have still narrowed your choices a bit. Choosing Sonoma rather than Napa made the $100 limit easier to handle, and we weren't disappointed.

The service was great. An army of different individuals from sommelier to mustard dude attended to our every desire.

For all the high-powered cuisine on display, Cut is a somewhat casual place, and the classic/alternative rock mix was much appreciated.

But the food, you ask. The food.

We started with the American wagyu sashimi. I have to agree with Dr. Pookie: although it was fine and nicely dressed with a vinaigrette, greens, and sliced radish, the beef itself had, it seemed, very little taste of its own. I think it's a testament to how much the Maillard reaction adds to what you think is the taste of meat.

Dr. Pookie had tipped them off that it was a birthday meal, and maybe also since it was our first time, 'the chef' was kind enough to send a tuna tartare our way. It reminded me a bit of Withnail & I, where it is said that some things are 'unattainable for those who can't afford it, but for those that can afford it, it's free.' They shoved a free $25 appetizer at us.

My aversion to fish and seafood is not quite as extreme as HPL's, and tuna is hardly the fishiest of fish, so even I could appreciate it, along with the avocado, and waffer-thin toasts and wasabi aioli. The tuna had more taste to it than the beef sashimi, but not unpleasant to my landlubber's palate.

I liked also the little cheesy poofs they brought, and the parmesan breadsticks.

But soon it was time for the main event.

Dr. Pookie opted for a Cornhusker NY strip, while I opted for the same cut of American wagyu from Idaho.

Sides of fingerling potatoes with bacon and onions, and several different forms of haricot vert with tomato. Both pretty tremendous.

Becca's cornfed cow was a magnificent hearty steak, but the quasi-wagyu was pretty amazing in every bite. Crispy moo-bacon edges, and lovely pink innards.

Here I should also mention that, as a sprightly jest, I said, some weeks ago, I wonder if, at Cut, they honor birthday celebrations by sticking a candle in a filet mignon. Dr. Pookie, perhaps remembering the 3 years I took off her life at a surprise birthday party in her honor, made this a reality. They brought me my steak with a lit candle in it. I doff my theoretical hat to Cut; they did not blink or shirk. The received a request from a customer and fulfilled it. Yes, singing would be beyond the pale, but they did all we required.

As I say, the steak was magnificent. It compared with the steak in Mexico City, the steak in Las Vegas, and that random well-marbled steak I grilled up myself. Very likely the best of them all, but nostalgia adds value to past steaks.

For afters, I had a lovely Tariquet armagnac. The little cookies and petit-fours they brought us as incidentals were more than enough dessert for us.

Fantastic.
 
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Journal of No. 118