Cut 432 is the steakhouse in Delray Beach. Unlike Fort Lauderdale or Miami, where there are more steakhouses than people who want to eat steak, Delray is more of a "Foodie Town". There's no Morton's or Capital Grill or Ruth's Chris in Delray. Over on Linton, you've got an Outback and a Longhorn for the little people. On Atlantic, you have Cut 432.
Now this place is named for the address; there's no secret meaning. It's not like they cook the steaks at 432 degrees or anything like that. If they opened next door, it would be called Cut 434. So you get the drift. Their website is more marketing than substance, and I wouldn't rely on anything on there; the menu is not current (nor is the one we have here) but isn't hideously out of date; but I'll guess that the rest of the website hasn't been changed since they opened in 2008. The "Modern Restaurant Group" is another one of the faux "groups" operating in Delray; their website is parked and I don't see that they have any other restaurants. The other problem with the web site is that the place isn't much like it appears on the website. They have different chairs now. Trickery is the norm here in South Florida.
With all the older venues on Atlantic, Cut 432 is a sleek space. It would be a lot nicer if they had real, white bricks instead of the ceramic tiles that you'd find in a budget bathroom. The mix of industrial decor and chandeliers is ruined by the cheap tiles.
My dining companion (the girl) was meeting some out-of-town friends at the hard rock for some gambling at 9pm, so the plan was to hit the Buddha happy hour at 5:30 and Cut around 7pm. I called for a reservation, and I was told that they only had 6:15 and 9pm. I initially balked and figured we'd go somewhere else. But then I called back and took the 6:15. For a variety of reasons we were running late, and it was almost 6 by the time we got parked and on the street. No happy hour for us.
We got to Cut 432 at about 6:10 and decided to get a drink at the bar first. The restaurant was practically empty. There were even seats at the bar. I surmised that they had a slew of reservations at 7pm which was why they couldn't give us a later reservation. The bar is pretty small here: 10 seats I'd say. They have a TV off to the side; the Mets vs Yankees was on. They have a big menu on the wall, which I thought was pretty cool. The menu included the wines by the glass. I spotted a Casa D'Albola Chianti which would pair well with a nice steak. For now I thought I'd get a beer. But they don't have any "regular" beer here. No Heineken, no Bud Light, no Corona or Amstel. I decided to pass and just go to our table. As I mentioned the place was empty; one of the young hostesses asked if we wanted to sit inside or out; at 6pm in South Florida in the summer it's too hot and sticky to eat outside, so we opted for inside. I was overcome with amusement as she tried to seat us at a table just inside where the sliding glass doors would be if they were closed; the only reason this table wasn't outside was because it was on the inside of the door rail. "This is an inside table?", I asked. "Yes" she said. I mentioned that the point of being indoors was for the air conditioning and to avoid the smokers, and that sitting at the edge of the patio behind a chalk line wasn't going to serve either of those purposes. She went and conferred with someone and came back and sat us at a table about 6 more feet inside; at least we would catch some A/C. The real issue is that they don't have any tables for 2 "inside", and even though the restaurant was empty they didn't want to seat us at a table for 4.
I often wonder why multi-million dollar "upscale" restaurants put 20 year olds in charge of seating. The "table for 2" isn't enough room to dine comfortably with sides, bottles and sauces; a table like this should only be used when the restaurant is full and there's nothing else available. It's just bad, stupid service.
Tables here are armed with a knife block and 4 signature stainless steel steak knives. When your entries are served they pull the knives out of the block and add them to the setup.
They gave us menus and a wine list and set up the table with "bread", which were really biscuits. They were served with an inexplicable choice of "spreads"; butter, orange marmalade and honey.
To me this is just the place trying to be too fancy; most people just want some good bread and butter at a steakhouse. I'm not really looking for biscuits and marmalade. The biscuits where ok, the marmalade could have been Smuckers. It really served no purpose.
The menu here is pretty small; they had a few specials which didn't appeal to us; it is a plus that our server told us the prices of the specials. The entire right side of the menu are wines by the glass; most of which were unfamiliar to me. We ordered appetizers, entrees and sides; everything here is completely ala-carte. I hadn't looked at the wine since I has already decided what I wanted; but I couldn't find it on the menu. I told our server what I wanted; he then told us that the menu on the wall was their menu in 2008 and you couldn't get most of what was on it. Great, a fake menu that serves only as a decoration. Unfortunately, they don't have a chianti or any other pure Italian red wine on the list, so I ordered an unfamiliar Malbec.
First out were the Appetizers: a $16 crabcake and a four count of Oysters Rockefeller for $13.
The crabcake was mostly crab and very good. The accompanying tartar sauce was also good; rich with good sweet pickles or cornichons. The "roasted corn salad" could have been omitted; another desperate attempt to inject southwestern influence that just didn't pair with the crabcake.
The Oysters Rockefeller were of a recipe similar to the junk you get at Morton's or some other chain restaurant were you have line cooks cranking out simplified menus.
This culinary embarrassment is basically creamed spinach spooned on top of overcooked oysters with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and pancetta. Oysters Rockefeller can come in a variety of recipes; it's supposed to be several blended green leaf herbs (parsley, celery, watercress, chervil) in a rich buttery sauce; the big problem with this version is that the oysters are overcooked to the point of being a waste of time, and the dish is like eating creamed spinach out of a shell. I also swear that one of my shells didn't have an oyster at all; if it indeed was in there it's a firm commentary on the failure of the recipe. I commented that we were probably going to be having more of this spinach when our entrees came; and on this point I was correct.
Presentation is not a strong point here; to avoid sending out a big white plate with a lonely piece of meat; they have trays of roasted garlic in the back; they throw a head of garlic and a sprig of rosemary on the plate.
From old reviews it seems that they used to have a choice of steak sauces, but we were offered none for the strip. The steak had a heavy char and was cooked perfectly medium rare, as ordered. While the steak was good, it was not particularly tender; certainly not what I'd expect from a Prime steak. "It Cut like butter" is not a term I'd use.
The short rib we ordered did come with sauces; a grainy mustard, chimichurri and something else that I can't quite remember and really don't care. The short rib itself was disappointing; not very flavorful. Very tender as braised dishes go, but it seemed like they were relying on the sauces to add flavor. The problem is that the sauces weren't good. The Chimichurri was terrible, eliciting sour faces immediately from both myself and the girl. The mustard was "ok", but frankly it was better with the strip than the short rib. The 3rd sauce was one of those taste and reject deals; I don't really care what it was because it was awful. This short rib wasn't worth $29; the rib is better at Timpano where for $21 you also get a nice parmesan risotto.
For sides, we had more of the creamed spinach and roasted mushrooms, half orders priced at $6. Half orders are plenty for 2. The spinach was passable but not remarkable; the roasted mushrooms were just that; no butter or garlic or lemony flavor to them. They just lacked any richness that you want to enhance the beef.
The general ambiance of the place is New York City loud. They play pretty loud, funky music that seemed to annoy the girl, although I'm pretty immune to it as it's a formula that most restaurants adhere to despite the lack of reason for it. Another annoyance is the lack of salt shakers; steak needs salt. There are no shakers on the tables; I asked for salt and a little bowl of course sea salt was delivered with a spoon. It's not easy to properly salt a $40 steak with a spoon; a grinder would be more "modern". And I shouldn't have to ask for it. Also, they have 2 co-ed single stall bathrooms here, which are fine as long as you don't have to wait (although I'm not sure how the ladies like sharing a bathroom with guys who may not bother putting up the seat). The issue is that if you have to wait, which is likely on a Saturday night, you're standing in a hallway in between the janitor's closet and where the servers gather in front of the open kitchen. It's just uncomfortable and not very "upscale".
The tab for this affair was $190, I had 1 glass of wine and the girl had 2 drinks. That's a high price to pay for what we got here. As cookie cutter as Ruth's Chris is, you alway leave smiling from all the butter and tender beef. I can't say I left here stuffed and happy; there were too many disappointments to justify the high price.
Now during the entire adventure we were monitoring the restaurant, and at no time was every table occupied, nor was there a wait. There's 2 different perspectives on this; I suppose it's good if you have a reservation and they actually hold a table for you. But what really happened here is that they didn't want to give a lowly party of 2 a table for 4; just in case a party of 4 might happen to arrive. They'd rather turn away a stinking $190 table in hopes of gaining a $300. table. So if you're just on a date you probably want to go somewhere else, unless you want to sit at a small table and be treated like some sort of nuisance by their 20 year old hostesses.
Note that our server was fine; the service rating includes the reservation policy and the hostess trying to seat us at a crap table.