Ohohoho. Being a carnivorous meat eater living in Asia essentially means taking a vacation from some of your favorite "Northern Hemisphere"-centric comfort foods. For me there's only one gastronomic concept that I really miss (besides good Mexican food) and that's....steak. Sweet, juicy, tender, lovely steaaaaaaaaaak. Whenever my father comes to visit, he's the kind of man that's down to eat steak anytime, I incept him into taking me to eat a wonderful steak dinner. More specifically a wonderful steak dinner at A Cut Steak House. The menu is seasonal and changes every so often, so it's never a bore to eat there. =)
Located in the opulent Ambassador Hotel in Taipei, A Cut Steakhouse is nestled in the basement of the hotel away from the hustle and bustle of incoming and outgoing guests. I have to apologize in advance for the photos...I post the food reviews out of order and I think my skill with the camera has gotten better since this particular meal.
From the staff to the decor the restaurant exudes a sort of modern classiness. The waitstaff all have prim and proper uniforms, while the somalier and Maître'd are uniformed in suits. The service was impeccable and the entirety of the waitstaff was very attentive, knowledgeable and ready to help. I find when a waitstaff excels at their job, the diners do not mention it. It's only when they go above and beyond average service or, to the other extreme, of terrible, terrible service is the only instance when people mention it. Good service goes unmentioned. =) ~<3 So thank you polite, efficient servers of the world!
A Cut utilizes a color palette of chocolate brown, beige and cream, while the entire restaurant is "dimly lit" for a romantic and intimate atmosphere. A Cut incorporates lots of clean materials: leather, stainless steel, and marble into the restaurant's overall theme and design. You'll notice leather booth seating, a leather menu, stainless steel salt and pepper shakers, and other stainless steel accents around the room.
As for the meal...
Every time that my farther and I come here, we always make sure to order the two person tasting menu. The set includes bread, an appetizer, a soup or a salad, a meat or seafood main, a side dish, and a dessert. A Cut House is definitely guaranteed 100% delicious, but it is also definitely a once in a while splurge. The execution of each dish is precise and the presentation is delicate. Eating a meal at A Cut steakhouse is a genuine treat for the eyes and the palette.
One thing that I love, love, love about A Cut steakhouse is that they make their bread fresh, they have a full service bakery upstairs, and they deliver the little golden nuggets to your tables warm and piping hot. The bread is steaming and fragrant enough to get your appetite going, with its savory, lovely smell. I have to say it's hard to find a smell better than baking bread or fresh baked goods.
|Foie Gras Panna Cotta, Champange Poached Apple|
In this particular case I loved everything on the plate, although it seems very simple in presentation, it is actually relatively difficult to execute. Since foie gras is essentially 100% fat, it's easy to overcook it by accident...and then you either end up with a hard puck of foie gras or a pool of fat in the pan. Ick.
The foie gras in the picture was perfectly cooked with a light crusty outside and a juicy, succulent middle. There was a good balance of sweet and savory with the fruit and meat elements of the dish. The only thing that I didn't really like was the "fruit foam" that came with the dish, it's in that little half-circle on the left-hand side in the picture. It was way too acidic and a bit bitter after the delightful umami bomb that hit my mouth.
This lovely little cake is what my dad ordered for his appetizer. It's a fresh scallop cerviche, wrapped in bacon, and garnished with pink peppercorns.
While I only had a bite of this one, much to my chagrin, the ceviche was as equally balanced in flavor as the foie gras. Although I should probably say, that this option leaves a much lighter impression on the palette. It's hardly as rich as the foie gras, but the pure, fresh sweetness of the raw scallop enchants in its own way. It was perfect paired with the salty, crunchy bacon. There was enough bite and textual difference within this dish to keep my dad and I amused, without making the cerviche overly mushy.
|French Onion Soup|
I chose the French Onion Soup, for my soup/salad portion. Although french onion soup is one of my favorite soups in the world. I do find that many restaurants have the tendency to make french onion soup overly salty and entirely un-enjoyable.
However, this little molten hot French Onion Soup was a joy to eat. It was beefy, salty, robust, and yet allowed the sweet taste of the caramelized onions to come through. The top was broiled to perfection with the melted combination of Gruyere and Mozzarella cheese on top, with soft, soup soaked baguette just nestled underneath it. Be careful not to be too messy though, if you spill this soup anywhere on exposed flesh or otherwise it will burn you. BURNZ.
|Mushroom Cappuccino Soup|
The addition of cappuccino to an already rich, creamy soup gives it a broader variety of taste sensations. I am not a gastronomy major/scientist in any way, shape, or form and I can't explain to you what chemical reactions happen with cappuccino added to mushrooms....but I do think the end result is really good. The texture of the soup is pretty uniform, smooth with little micro diced mushroom bits, and not too watery. I find it hard to try and describe the flavor of this particular soup, other than delicious, but I encourage you all to give it a try for yourselves. =)
Before your steak comes out of the grill and gloriously to your table, the waiters and waitresses very ceremoniously bring out this container of salt so you have the option to have the option to season your meat if you so choose. There's fleur de sel, Spanish black salt, pink Hawaiian salt, and Himalayan rock salt.
This time the stars aligned and granted my father and I the perfect meal, the perfect beef, and the perfect execution. The beef had loads of natural flavor and it was juicy, yet tender....it had a perfect seared crust....ah! My mouth is watering just writing about it.
As we always order the set meal, we each get a side, and by far the butter whipped mashed potatoes are my favorite, favorite, favorite. The mashed potatoes are smooth, fluffy and so deliciously creamy. Normal mashed potatoes have a slight propensity to be slightly "grainy" if they aren't mashed well, but these....these...mashed potatoes are like eating heavy whipped cream. They're so soft and luscious. To seal the deal there's also a light sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese on top that melt gently into the potatoes. If anyone here has ever lived in Asia, then you'll know getting "good cheese" is incredibly difficult or incredibly effective. The taste of the Parmesan on these potatoes were enough to get me through a several months of waiting. =P
In fact, I love these potatoes so much that my dad gives me his. >< I get two servings! Woohoo!
For the dessert, I ordered a vanilla crème brûlée that came with a strawberry puree and a chocolate dipped strawberry. Honestly, I'm very particular when it comes to creme brulee, but this was the perfect finisher to the night. The strawberry puree was fresh and light, and mixed perfectly with the sweet creaminess of the vanilla custard. I think it was Amelie who said breaking through the sugar crust of a crème brûlée was one of the indulgent joys in life. She was completely right.
A close up on deliciousness.
What my father ordered for dessert was the Grand Marnier Souffle. Again the execution was excellent, the souffle was light and airy, without any cracks or breaking....but the alcohol taste was just way too strong for me. I don't think I'll ever like to drink alcohol. >< However, for those people that love alcohol infused desserts this one's for you! =P
Anyway, if you're ever in Taipei and want a nice western meal I encourage you to go here. I love it and I hope you do too.
Thanks for reading!
Kid Friendly: Yes, the waitstaff are very attentive when it comes to children.
Price: $$$$ out of $$$$$