A CUT above…

CUTsteakhouseLast week, my work brought me to Las Vegas. My first night in town, Sunday, I was on my own for dinner and decided to try CUT steakhouse along Restaurant Row between the The Venetian and The Palazzo hotels.

Since I was dining alone, I sat at the bar where I was served by a bartender named Brendan. From the moment he took my drink order, I knew it was going to be memorable. And from there, it only got better.

As he accepted my drink order, a Manhattan, Brendan asked, “Would you prefer that up or on the rocks?” I hesitated before requesting the drink ‘up’ because I preferred the drink be served in a rocks glass but didn’t want a glass full of ice. He sensed my hesitation, even detecting the source of it, offering, “Here, we use large ice chips (to chill the drink without diluting it so quickly). Would you like to try one in your Manhattan?”

When it arrived, it was perfect. And the hunk of ice was well suited to a steakhouse named CUT. It just worked. A minute later, Brendan approached me to ask about my drink. It was then that he described the six-and-a-half-foot block of ice that was delivered to the restaurant daily in order to be carved into ice chips for the evening’s libations. He even presented me with one of the actual 3-prong ice picks used to do the job.

After I had ordered a dry-aged New York strip steak from Nebraska, Brendan presented me with a tray containing three sauces and a dipping salt, saying, “These are compliments of the chef,” before describing each. A few minutes later, he delivered an amuse-bouche (a complimentary bite-size hors d’oeuvre intended to amuse the mouth and invigorate the palate) of cheese gougères.

Now, I’m sure I was not the only guest that evening who received the dipping sauces and cheese puff appetizers “compliments of the chef.” Even so, the effect that these overtures had on me, together with Brendan’s perceptiveness relating to my drink order and willingness to share a peek behind the curtain at the restaurant, was to elevate the experience to a magical place where price is irrelevant and promoters like me are born.

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