Once celebrity chefs hit a certain level of fame, they tend to either plunge right into the rough waters of NYC's restaurant scene, or else they wait, and wait, for the right moment. It's safe to say Wolfgang Puck did not take the first approach. Thirty-four years (34!) after opening his first Spago location along West Hollywood's Sunset Strip in 1982, the Austrian-born chef just opened Cut by Wolfgang Puck in Manhattan this weekend.
The "steak restaurant" (not to be confused with a steakhouse?) is inside the new Four Seasons Hotel Downtown, in lower Manhattan's financial district. Why there, and why now, finally? “It’s been incredible to follow the development of Downtown New York over the past few years, and we are very excited to open during such a significant time for this historic neighborhood,” said Puck in a statement. “My team and our partners, who have been instrumental in bringing Cut New York to life, all have something fresh to introduce to New York and the international visitors this beautiful city attracts each and every day."
Although Puck has 26 fine-dining spots and more than 70 casual spinoffs around the world, he's often associated with California thanks to six popular restaurants on the west coast: Spago, Beverly Hills; Cut, Beverly Hills; Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles; Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Los Angeles; WP24, Los Angeles; and Chinois, Santa Monica. His high-profile catering gigs include the Governor's Ball, the official Academy Awards after-party.
The NYC branch of Cut is the restaurant's sixth branch after Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Bahrain, Singapore and London, and is overseen by Puck, his corporate executive chef and partner Lee Hefter, and Raymond Weber, a company veteran who is running the kitchen.
Expect a Wolf-esque menu, with breakfast items ranging from house-made granola with lemon yogurt parfait to eggs Benedict with smoked country ham, a jalapeno-white cheddar biscuit and maple hollandaise. Rotating lunch options will include dishes like Puck’s signature house-made agnolotti with sweet corn, sage and Parmigiano Reggiano.
For lunch and dinner, you'll choose from the expansive menu of Japanese and American USDA prime and grass-fed steaks, which servers will display for you tableside so you can choose your marbling, flavor profile and cut. There's seafood too, from pan-roasted Stonington Maine lobster with black truffle sabayon, to whole roasted Dover sole “meuniere” with preserved Meyer lemon and parsley.
Interiors are the work of French designer Jacques Garcia, who created the dining room as a tribute to his Parisian roots and his interpretation of 21st century Manhattan. Speaking of which, how will Puck fare in 21st century NYC? Time will tell, but we predict a warmer welcome than certain other celebrity chefs got when they landed in NYC.
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