Wolfgang Arrives in New York

October 17, 2016

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What took him so long?

Wolfgang Puck has conquered so much of America, it’s hard to believe he’s only now getting around to New York. But he’s arrived with a bang at his new Cut in the Four Seasons Hotel downtown.

It’s dark, cozy, romantic, loud – the kind of place that wants to send you out the door saying, “Boy that was fun!” It’s also inventive and up to the moment.

Consider, for example, the pork belly pictured above.  Half the chefs in the country are doing a version of the pork belly sliders David Chang first made famous at Momofuku Ssam bar – but Cut does it differently.  The pork is from Mosefund farm, and it comes with roasted apples and mustard seeds.  You make your own sandwich, placing the crisp pig between two white circles of dough.  Each one of those little dribs and drabs adds another level of flavor and sophistication. We couldn’t stop eating them.

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This is the Cut version of tuna tartare.  With togarishi crisps, wasabi, soy… the flavors dance around in your mouth very happily.

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And this is their steak tartare, which has a kind of thick egg yolk jam that adds a new layer of richness to the beef, and crisped beef tendon that gives it crunch. Another totally addictive treat.

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A little sashimi – of course! – hamachi, blood orange, ponzu, cucumber.

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Tortelloni with corn, mascarpone, cheese… a delightfully gilded lily.

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From the Negroni cart: the perfect expression of the drink of the moment.  The scent of citrus leaps from the glass.  And the glass is a joy to hold – smooth, a little too large, rounded – with the biggest ice cube you’ve ever seen smack in the middle.  It arrives with long parmesan crisps and a basket of gougeres.

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And then it’s show time: the meat display

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They make a big deal of the wagyu at the bottom, but frankly I’ve never understood the appeal of meat that’s more fat than chew.  We opted for the prime aged American beef at the top

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And onion rings…

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and creamed spinach that looks so unappealing in the photo I took that I refuse to subject you to it. Take my word that it tasted far better than it looked.

Other dishes that did not enjoy their moment on film: bone marrow flan, served snuggled into the bones, which turns out to be the perfect way to stretch marrow into more. I also loved the mush of mushrooms on the side.

Desserts, on the other hand, are pretty: I especially liked this baked Alaska.

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Cut strikes me as the perfect expression of the up and coming FIDI area: lots of inventive nibbles followed by straightforward red meat. The truth is, you might want to come just for a Negroni  – and to watch all those beautiful people come pouring through the door.

 

 

 

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