As someone who is always trying new things, I thought it was going to be tough to choose. I decided, since last year I spent my $100 on a bunch of little things, that this time around I would try blowing my entire budget in one place instead.
When I thought of "splurgey" things downtown that I have never done before, I immediately decided I wanted to go out for dinner at a fancy-ish restaurant (Why are you looking at me like that? On this blog, words like "splurgey" and "fancyish" actually exist. Deal with it). But not just any fancy-ish restaurant - a place I had a) never been before, and b) that specializes in food I would not normally eat or have never tried before.
My choice: CUT Steakhouse.
I know. It's true though. And I have EATEN steak before, just only when it was served to me at other people's homes. I have never made myself one and I have never willingly ordered one for myself.
I have nothing against steak, it just isn't something I am drawn to for some reason that I cannot definitively explain. There is some psychological discomfort for me in eating animals that I think are cute (e.g. cows, sheep, deer, rabbits, and babies of those species in particular - and hence why I have no problem eating chickens or fish - they are not cute. And, yes, I suppose cows aren't particularly cute either, but don't ask me to explain my psychological hang-ups! I don't understand them either!)
Anyway, this is why I chose CUT:
Fancy-ish/expensive restaurant? CHECK
Place I have never eaten before? CHECK
Place that serves food I do not normally eat? CHECK
So, off we went! We were seated at a great table by the window where we could look out on the sun going down and see the sparkly white lights on the trees in front of the building on Lower Water come on after dark.
Our first impressions were pretty much what we expected - very sleek, modern decor and stylish, sophisticated servers (I almost feel bad calling them that because it seems almost beneath them, but I have no idea what their actual titles are). We felt very well taken care of from the moment we walked in - our server helped us decide on drinks (I had a Berry Tom Collins - delish! Very fresh and made with my fav Bombay Sapphire). Then she offered to bring out a tray displaying the various cuts of meat they feature.
I decided on the local 10oz striploin and the boy got the Delmonico. The steaks come on their own and you order sides separately (which is one reason why I could see the budget getting out of hand). We decided on asparagus with hollandaise sauce, sweet potato au gratin and two sauces (bernaise for me, horseradish for him).
On the way out, they capped off our night with a sweet surprise by giving us a small, homemade banana nut loaf to take home (which we promptly ate up the next morning and very much enjoyed). Any place that hands me free desserts on the way out the door is a "must-visit" in my book!
Our total bill (two cocktails + two steaks + two sides + two sauces) came to approximately $120 (not including tip) which I thought was pretty good considering the quality of the service and food.
I am glad I went outside my comfort zone and tried something new. However, I am sorry to say I am not a converted carnivore after my experience at CUT. While, I appreciate that a steak cooked properly can be an enjoyable meal, it just didn't turn me on enough to pull me away from my usual chicken/fish/pasta preferred trifecta. I will probably still stick to white meat most of the time.
I do, however, appreciate the fine ingredients and obvious skill that goes into making the dishes at this restaurant. I also appreciate the friendly and helpful service we received without pretention. I only wish I could afford to eat at such restaurants more often (then again, when it doesn't happen often it kind of makes it more special, no?).
Thank you SO much to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for allowing me to have this experience - and for encouraging people to have new experiences in downtown Halifax period!
*All photos from CUT website or taken by me