At a New York City steakhouse, you’re not supposed to get through a plate of oysters, three sides, a steak, and dessert without any of it leaving a single impression on your mind aside from, ‘I just ate and it was good.’
It happened last night at American Cut in Tribeca.
This fall Marc Forgione, the winner of the third season of Iron Chef, opened the restaurant to much anticipation. There was already an Atlantic City outpost of the spot at Revel casino, and steakhouse aficionados thought the NYC location might give favourites like Wolfgang’s and Sparks a run for its money.
So we had to check it out. That kind of talk is basically like sending a steak scented invitation to Wall Streeters, asking them to come on in and have a seat. Plus, the restaurant’s not far from Goldman Sachs HQ.
As I ordered my mandatory martini (gin, up with a twist) at the bar, it was clear that the bankers had RSVP’d yes. The guy standing next to me wearing a suit (no jacket) with a fleece vest ordered a Ketel and tonic and immediately started complaining about working too hard.
How was the martini? Fairly solid.
And that could be said for the experience in general. The oysters were good, but I’ve had brinier. The creamed spinach was good, but it was just standard. The wild mushrooms, twice baked truffled potatoes with cheddar, the wild mushrooms — standard, standard and standard.
I was told to have the $US10 carrot side too. It’s just two carrots, glazed. They’re big. I guess if you’re impressed with big things, that’s cool. But I’m a New Yorker, I’m used to big things. In fact, in this town, big is where you begin. After that there is still much more to do.
That brings us to the matter of the steak. It was delicious. But steak is delicious. If you put a cigarette in a cow’s mouth and then microwaved the animal its steak would still taste delicious (at least that’s what I’ve told every vegetarian I’ve ever known).
There are two things that make a steakhouse great — the food and the vibe. We’ve talked about the first, so lets get to the second.
Vibe can be everything. You can argue all you want about whether or not Sparks has the greatest steak, but it was once the scene of a Gambino crime family hit, and that makes it legendary. In fact, that makes it great. End of story.
You can also argue all you want about how great Del Frisco’s steak is, but the fact that former NY Knick Jeremy Lin got a standing ovation from the entire restaurant when he was snuck in there one rainy night tells you everything you need to know about the spot — it’s a great hang. That makes it great. End of story.
American Cut is a gorgeous restaurant, but as yet it is not a great hang (could be in time, but not right now).
I will remember Art Deco lamps better than I will remember the steak. And our sommelier — I’ll remember her. She was great.
That said, I’ll never complain about the number of steakhouses in this town. You can never have too many steakhouses.
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