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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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A Cut Above

Cote de boeuf

Cote de boeuf

How do you find the right words to classify Reserve Cut, the contemporary steakhouse that opened in the financial district on October 9th? On the one hand, its location in the heart of Wall Street makes Reserve Cut the ideal setting for a business meeting. On the other hand, that same location, just minutes away from Midtown, Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey, makes Reserve Cut a convenient destination for an enjoyable night out. With a menu that features prime steaks that are dry aged on the premises, elegant decor, seating for over 300 and impeccable service, Reserve Cut manages to strike just the right note and has quickly become the hottest kosher restaurant in town.

While the impressive menu includes an extensive selection of sushi and sashimi, as well as rack of lamb and duck, there is no doubt that the stars of the show at Reserve Cut are the steaks. Owner Albert Allaham hails from a long line of Syrian master butchers, and with Reserve Cut, the 27-year-old Allaham brings to life his dream of providing diners with the highest quality meats available, all of which come from The Prime Cut, Allaham’s own high end Brooklyn butcher shop.

The upscale experience at Reserve Cut begins the moment you arrive at The Setai, located at 40 Broad Street. A separate entrance with a Reserve Cut carpet beckons diners to the proper entrance where doormen escort you to the elevator, taking you to the second floor restaurant. Walking into Reserve Cut, you are greeted by a cocktail bar, a sushi bar and the most spectacular wine display I have ever seen: two enormous glass cases that form a hallway into the main dining area, holding hundreds of bottles of the 68 wine selections that make up the restaurant’s wine list.

The main dining area is deceptively large and can seat 200, but broken up as it is into different sections, the space isn’t overwhelming. An additional two private rooms, plus the wine room seating area, provide space for an additional 106 guests. Despite the fact that my husband and I visited Reserve Cut on a weeknight, the dining room was full for the two and a half hours that we were there. The noise level in the room was companionable and energetic, giving you the feeling that you were in a place that was happening, but not overly loud. The tasteful Asian decor is appealing and the padded armchairs were both comfortable and inviting.

But the food….ah, the food. What a meal.

With a menu as enticing as Reserve Cut’s we left the difficult dilemma of what to eat to our personable and efficient waiter, Csaba. In no time at all a basket of bread appeared on our table, joined by three appetizers. The veal osso buco tortellini, served with baby watercress, shitake mushrooms, toasted sesame seeds in a rosemary sherry wine vinaigrette, were tender and delicate and truly a sight to behold, with the pasta stretched so thin it was almost translucent. The glazed veal sweetbreads with edamame, chestnuts, turnips, porcini black truffles and marsala sauce were smooth and flavorful and unlike any sweetbreads I have ever tasted. As for the grilled wagyu angus ribs, they were out of this world. Set off to perfection by a port wine fig glaze, pickled pearl onions and king trumpet mushrooms, they were like thin baby steaks and were so juicy they literally melted in your mouth.

Our main dishes were equally remarkable. My husband’s cote de boeuf was the most succulent piece of meat I have ever had the privilege of eating. This was heaven in a cow, paradise on a plate; whatever you want to call it, it was an incredible culinary experience. While the bone in prime rib, topped with a red wine shallot sauce, was clearly the center of attention on that plate, the baby frisee, Bordelaise sauce, and glazed cipollini onion were all delicious as well.

My angus filet au champignon was also drool-worthy. The fillet itself was seriously beautiful and tantalizingly juicy when I sliced into it even though I ordered it cooked to medium-well.

Csaba brought us all three sauces to enjoy with our dinners: Bordelaise, Bearnaise and green peppercorn, each of which was distinctive and flavorful. My steak was accompanied by an assortment of vegetables that were cooked and seasoned to perfection including fingerling potatoes, asparagus, pickled pearl onions and wild mushrooms that were simply fabulous. Much to my husband’s delight, marrow bones adorned our plates and he savored them both, proclaiming them “absolutely astounding.” We also shared a side dish of white asparagus with wild mushrooms, delicately seasoned with tarragon and truffle oil, which were so good that we could have just eaten them for dessert.

But of course, we didn’t. Because Csaba brought us dessert as well. Or more specifically, three desserts.

Our first dessert was a plum crisp topped with organic extra virgin olive oil ice cream. It is hard to describe what olive oil ice cream tastes like, but it was a subtle flavor that went well with the warm plum crisp. The plums themselves were just slightly tart and the warm, crunchy cinnamony topping was excellent. Next up was a soft chocolate cake with matcha ice cream. I must confess, I had to go home and Google matcha, because I had no idea what the green ice cream I was eating was supposed to taste like. As for the soft chocolate cake, it was a velvety circle of chocolate euphoria. A cross between a mousse and a cake it was creamy and silky and I have no doubt that there will be a parade of soft chocolate cakes dancing through my dreams tonight. Finally, we shared a chocolate covered mound of peanut butter mousse that was nothing short of perfection. Accompanied by caramelized popcorn and topped with a large round chocolate wafer, the presentation was visually stunning and was almost too beautiful to eat. Almost, but not quite. Needless to say, we ate the entire thing.

The service at Reserve Cut was exceptional, with the wait staff magically appearing to bring food, remove extra plates, refill water glasses and the bread basket, de-crumb the table and grind fresh pepper on our food. More than just enjoying dinner, we spent over two hours at Reserve Cut feeling like we were living in the lap of luxury.

Clearly, luxury doesn’t come at bargain basement prices. Appetizers at Reserve Cut range from $14 to $32, with entrees from $32 to $98 and desserts at $14. But Allaham, together with executive chef Hok Chin, has managed to put together a premium dining experience and judging from the many happy diners we saw, it is long awaited and nothing short of first class.

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