It's your birthday

Yesterday was, alas, one more tick of the odometer on my life gauge. Yesterday some friends of mine decided to accelerate my progress towards the grave by taking me to Cut, the acclaimed Wolfgang Puck steakhouse in the Beverly Wilshire hotel, a 2007 nominee for "Best New Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation and the winner of Esquire's 2006 Restaurant of the Year award.

It's one serious luxury steakhouse with one heavy-hitting menu. Walking in we strolled past a Bentley and an Aston Martin and several dozen middle aged people whose dress and mannerisms screamed of old money. If I knew what many executives in town looked like I probably would have spotted several seated in the dining room

The first three starters listed:

  • Kobe Steak Sashimi, Spice Radishes

  • Prime Sirloin "Steak Tartare", Herb Aioli, Mustard

  • Bone Marrow Flan, Mushroom Marmalade, Parsley Salad

It went on to include starters such as...

  • Austrian Oxtail Bouillon, Chive Blossoms, Chervil, Bone Marrow Dumplings

  • Prime Filet Mignon "Carpaccio", Celery Hearts, Shaved French Black Truffles

  • Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Asian Spices, Sesame-Orange Dressing, Winterella Pear Compote

Even the breadsticks and bread, laced with parmesan, tasted decadent. Cut serves four levels of beef (listed here from expensive to obscenely expensive):

  • U.S.D.A. PRIME, Illinois Corn Fed, Aged 21 Days

  • U.S.D.A. PRIME, Nebraska Corn Fed, Dry Aged 35 Days

  • American Wagyu/Angus "Kobe Style" Beef from Snake River Farms, Idaho

  • True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef from Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

Before our meal, the waiter brought out five huge slabs of beef wrapped in cloth, three slabs of American Wagyu and 2 of true Japanese Wagyu. The marbling in the meat was apparent to the eye, just beautiful and mouth-watering.

I went with the American Wagyu 10oz Rib Eye, while others ordered Bone-In Filet Mignon, New York Sirloin, Colorado Lamb Chops with Cucumber Mint Raita, and Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced" and cooked for eight hours.

For a starter I had the bone marrow flan. I still prefer the cleaner and simpler mix of flavors of the Beef Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade at Blue Ribbon Restaurant in New York, but the bone marrow flan is damn impressive. Transformed into flan, the bone marrow lost a bit of that marrow flavor I love so much, but in combination with the mushroom marmalade it made for one fancy bread spread.

Seven waiters delivered our entrees, setting them down in front of us with the choreographed timing of a theme park fountain show. I cut a piece of my rib eye, cooked rare plus, and dipped it into the shallot-red wine bordelaise sauce. Then I put it in my mouth, and about 1.7 seconds later, as I finished my first bite, I went to a happy place. The marbling produced a rib eye with the consistency of foie gras. It was spectacular.

Dessert of banana cream pie and chocolate souffle brought traffic in my remaining arteries to a standstill. As far as steak dinners go, this was one of the more memorable ones of my life. I may not eat another piece of beef for the remainder of the year, but if so, the memory of the various cuts I tasted last night will tide me over.

Happy birthday to me

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