Chef Marc Forgione was perturbed when I suggested, in my review of Khe-Yo, that he was expanding rapidly with concepts that could run on auto-pilot.
He must have thought I was saying nobody is running them, which of course is not the case. Although I did not like Khe-Yo, I praised the service, which does not happen by accident. Somebody runs these places. I’m not sure Forgione does.
If he does, he might want to explain why the online menu at his new Tribeca steakhouse, American Cut, is posted without prices, a cynical ploy that I find downright insulting. The posted menu is a PDF facsimile of what is handed out at the restaurant. Someone had to do the extra work to take the prices off it.
Actually, prices are in line with other premium steakhouses in town. Such places are opening everywhere lately; they always do in an economic recovery. In a recent round-up of new steakhouses, the Post’s Steve Cuozzo ranked American Cut fifth out of nine—mediocre. That’s about right.
I tried the “NYC Cut” ($44; above left), a 20-ounce ribeye rubbed in pastrami spices: a beautiful hunk of meat practically ruined with a peculiar dry rub it didn’t need. This is the same steak that the Observer’s Joshua David Stein called “perfect,” so your mileage may vary. My friend Tim ordered a daily special, a filet mignon with lobster, of which he was not especially fond.
I’m sure you can have a great steak at American cut. Any restaurant with access to the top beef purveyors will get them right, at least some of the time. If I went back, I’d try something simpler, where only a broiler is standing in the way of my steak and the plate. (Sorry about the photos: steaks are notoriously difficult to photograph.)
Appetizers were a mixed bag. Thick-cut bacon (above right) was pretty good, but it didn’t need to be slathered in steak sauce. Peter Luger has known for decades that the best bacon doesn’t need that. We had one of the largest portions of bone marrow (below left) we’d ever seen, but it comes with far too little of the grilled sourdough bread it’s meant to be spread on.
The warm rolls that begin the meal (above right) are terrific, and the house cocktails are very good. The 19-page wine list has the big trophy reds that you’d expect, but there’s a good selection in the $50–70 range, a fair bottom for this type of restaurant. The service was as good as it should be at these prices.
American Cut has been busy since it opened. It’s in the overly large space that failed twice in recent years, first as Devin Tavern, and then as Trattoria Cinque. I predict a longer life for this place. It’s bustling, brash and confident, as steakhouses often are. But the steaks didn’t live up to their billing, and with so many great steakhouses to choose from there’s no reason to recommend this one.
American Cut (363 Greenwich St. between Franklin & Harrison Sts., Tribeca)
Food: A re-imagined steakhouse that over-complicates the steaks
Service: Very good
Ambiance: The stereotype of the brash, modern steakhouse
Rating: Not Recommended