Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cut vs Morton's... Which is The Best Pricey Steakhouse in Singapore? & Some History of Morton's in SG

[UPDATE AS OF Sep 2015: Haven't been down in a while and finally made it down for my annual birthday dinner and a good meal was meant to be the highlight for the day. The food standard has dropped tremendously and my steak, both the cut and the done-ness, was just off. had to send the raw in the middle steak back and they butterflied it and it tasted worse after that. 
Service was also not great and the long time serving staff member added to the miscommunication on our desserts. The chefs are probably not as good as before or at least the one that did the food for my table and the one next to mine was a massive fail. The food on the next table had an overpouring sour-ish vinegar-ish smell that was too much for them and for us. OVERALL: I would not recommend going to Mortons anymore due to the drop in the food standard and the iffy service. All the positive notes about the place below can be ignored as they no longer apply. Consistency is extremely important and this place has lost it.]  

[this review is based on my taste(being subjective no one is right or wrong) and opinion in rating two of the more expensive steak joints in Singapore. if you disagree with it then all well and good & do read info in the disclaimer at the bottom of the page ;) oh and bear with the pics in this post as none were done with a dslr in pretty dark environments]

I won't dance around like those sites out there probably looking to maintain free food status and say these are the TOP steakhouses in Singapore blah blah blah. My post is simpler: which is better and why. Note this is not a food blog(although i may do a few food posts now and then), I pay for my food like regular folks, and I think I have had a decent amount of good food through the years. The paying for the meal bit matters as it goes to objectivity and a typical dining experience i.e. same as any other dude or dudette that walks in and pays for their meal. 

so which has the better beef and was the better dining experience? An emphatic win 
for Morton's impo :) medium rare filet mignon done wonderfully

Let's break it down a little:  

(1) Ambience [Morton's 4.5/5(for old layout ~ darker and felt more comfortable... the lights were almost out and you had the piggy light on the table and everything felt very cozy. had alot of old skool charm goin for it), 3.5-4/5(for new layout ~ brighter and newer and loses a bit of character. i don't think it's a plus to see a grey wall outside), Cut 4/5 ~ neat, chic and nice] 
(2) Service [Morton's 4/5, Cut 2.5/5]
Morton's staff are attentive and we never had to ask for something twice. Cut we had to ask multiple times for water top-ups and other stuff. Our waiter actually told the kitchen to put less salt in one of our dishes when we never asked for that and told us about it when he served us the food. If I wanted my food to taste different than how the chef meant to make it, I would make that decision. 

Cut restaurant interior
Morton's... u can see the outside on the left bit now... i prefer it before the renovation

(3) Bread and Appetisers: Normally not so key as you are really there for steak
Bread - Morton's bread is great and you need control yourself not to stuff your face
 with too much of it otherwise you won't have much space for steak and desserts.
Morton's excellent onion bread!
 and excellent stuff to dip it into... rich lobster bisque with nice creamy consistency
it was pretty forgettable bread in Cut but this is not terribly important

Prawn cocktail and tomato salad in Cut ~ wasabi panna cotta was interesting and the 
combination of flavors made it taste like a prawn cocktail. overall a nice take on the dish

Note on Seafood at steak joints(appetisers, surf and turf and what not) - these are steakhouses. they will have passable 
seafood but you should be there for it's core offering which is steak. If you want lobsters and scallops and prawns and stuff, 
then the really good stuff can probably be found somewhere else. 

THE MAIN EVENT: Filet Mignon [Morton's 4 to 5/5, Cut 3.5/5] & Sirloin Wagyu  [Cut 3.5/5]

Steak - I had US Filet Mignon at both places Medium Rare. I've had different cuts at Morton's(Porterhouse) and tried the Wagyu Sirloin at Cut. Morton's taste wins. 
Doneness - my recent visit both were done Medium Rare and done right. In some of my earlier Morton's visits, my Medium rare came rare and bloody and had to go back for a bit more heat. 

Bearnaise sauce - Morton's bearnaise for me is a great sauce to go with their Filet Mignon. The Cut one was too thick and almost had a butter like consistency and taste

Double Cut... mmmmmm
Surf and turf! the prawns weren't the best but the scallops were yummy and asparagus was good

Sides: Just rating one side. Sauteed Mushrooms [Cut 2.5/5 as they were too sweet. Morton's used to have this great sauteed mushrooms side which they don't have anymore by itself. now there's only a button mushroom with spinach thing on there. even further back more years and they had a sauteed mixed mushrooms (i believe with onions) side which was amazing. shame they don't have these offerings anymore. ]
Desserts: Chocolate dessert [Morton's 5/5 for the chocolate lava cake, Cut 3/5 for choc souffle] Apple crumble type dessert [Morton's 4/5, Cut 3.5/5]
Cut chocolate souffle was good but if i never had it, it wouldn't matter. 
Morton's molten lava Godiva chocolate cake is legendary for a reason. It was so good even though i was stuffed i still wanted to lick the plate. Disclaimer: I have been to Morton's late in the night just for desserts

Conclusion: Morton's is better than Cut in all ways and in the most important steak department too and if you I were looking to spend $150-200+ a pax on a steak dinner than there is only one choice. 

Some background info: I have been going Morton's on average at least once a year since 1999. I have been to Morton's in Chicago at their original location LINK, when it was called Morton's of Chicago and it was excellent there and then too. 

How has the dining experience for Morton's in Singapore changed over the years then?

(1) In the past they would do a presentation of all the different cuts of steak and show you the Maine lobster they were gonna cook for you if you so wanted lobster that night [ i named him Harry, He looked like a Harry to me ;) ] After the first few times the novelty wore off but for folks there for the first time(eg young lovers and the boy wanting to impress the girl etc), it was nice and fun and also for non-steak aficionados they have the answer to their questions of 'what can i expect from cut A vs cut B' or 'i like xyz type of meat what should i go for?'. 

(2) When you're celebrating a birthday they give you (1) a free dessert(chocolate lava cake is my choice ALWAYS) and the menu sheet with 'happy XXrd birthday Raphael!' on it and a photo of you and your guest in a card thingy with the staff's signatures. In the past they would sing happy birthday too and you would hear it being sung 2-3 times in the course of your dinner. Yes it is a great place to celebrate life events too. but i think over time everyone got tired of that so that's stopped for awhile. the souvenir menu sheet used to be on thicker stock paper and is thinner now and easier to roll up and hand to you as a souvenir. the camera used to take the pix for printing to give out in the card thing with signed staff names has improved :) 
from my bday in 2009... good times


(3) Presenting desserts - they still present the cold desserts and let you know what the hot desserts are. they aren't shown on the menu. this hasn't changed iirc. 

(4) they renovated the place too so now instead of the wall with black and white photos of folks lining em one of the walls has given way to windows(see pic above) and the front of the shop is now a glass see through thing(see pic below). more tables squeezed into the place too. 


(5) most or all of the long serving wait staff are gone. there was the Indian chap with the fine moustache and the caucasian with the squarish hair cut style and some others i would remember if i saw em again who worked there for at least 3-4 or more years but in this recent trip down, all the wait staff faces were new to me. of course it could be that they had the day off.

and that's it for this post. Morton's was a better overall experience in the past but even though it's slightly lesser than it's former self, it still is great and the best marquee steakhouse in Singapore for me. be prepared to spend $150-300(or more) per pax depending on how big an appetite you bring and what you be drinking. oh and my recommendation for any new to you restaurant is to go in with very low expectations, the only way should be up then :) cheers, raph

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