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Steakhouse is one for the dry ages

Overall impression: It's hard to believe that Cut 432 will be 6 years old in March. Owners Brandon Belluscio, Brian Albe and Anthony Pizzo set out to create a lively steakhouse for one of the busiest restaurant districts in South Florida. They've succeeded by keeping their focus on quality steaks and top-notch service. And at a time when most steakhouses are corporately owned, it's a delight to find such an excellent independent steakery with an energetic atmosphere.

Ambience: Belluscio also acted as decorator, and his design has held up well with its combination of white subway tile, white upholstery, crystal chandeliers and wooden floors and tabletops. It's modern, but warm with an energy that spills onto the sidewalk patio. Altogether, there's room for 150 people inside and out.

Starters: Everyone starts dinner with warm biscuits and a trio of toppings: butter, honey and orange marmalade. It's a homey, Southern touch. West Coast Kusshi oysters and East Coast Blue Points ($3 each) are served with a very hot house-made concoction, citron Bloody Mary cocktail sauce and cucumber-apple mignonette. The oversize signature salad ($14) is a delicious chopped mixture of avocado, mango, candied cashews, kale, tomatoes and aged Manchego cheese. We split it four ways. Tuna tartare ($13) is mixed with avocado, golden beets, Thai chiles and a bit of sesame. Steak tartare ($16) needed a salty element — capers, perhaps — because it was a bit one-note. Tender, char-grilled octopus ($16) was served with tender gigante beans and salsa verde.

Entree excellence: There are some interesting seafood choices on the menu, including Moroccan spiced yellowfin tuna ($32) and pan-roasted Alaskan halibut with lobster and fennel soubise and pickled fennel ($34). But this is a steakhouse, and that's the side of the menu all four of us headed for entrees. Most of the beef is prime Nebraska corn-fed. The 16-ounce Kansas City bone-in strip steak ($52) is dry-aged for 35 days. It was tasty, but not as tender as the 14-ounce New York strip ($45) that is aged 35 days. If you like strip steaks, you'll be remembering this one for a very long time. An 8-ounce filet mignon ($36) delivered all the tender qualities you want in this cut, while the 20-ounce bone-in rib-eye ($45) offered just the right amount of fatty marbling.

Side issues: Tater tots ($7/$10) don't get any better than the blue cheese version offered at Cut 432. They're oversize and served with a small pitcher of blue cheese sauce. Together, these deep-fried globs are pretty remarkable. Be sure to order them. Creamed corn ($7/$10) had just the right amount of cream so that the corn still had a chance to shine through. Pancetta Brussels sprouts ($7/$10) are equally remarkable and perfect for anyone who doesn't like the flavor of sprouts.

Sweet! Mascarpone cheesecake ($10) is outstanding with its toffeelike crust. Banana cream pie ($10) combine intense banana flavor with a thick layer of sweet dense cream.

Service: Outstanding. Our waiter wasn't afraid to make recommendations, including talking us out of ordering the porterhouse for two. He said that because it was sliced, it cooled down too quickly for his liking. Cut 432 isn't the biggest restaurant, nor the quietest, but the staff works ensemble-style to deliver.

Liquid assets: A well-priced wine list includes many by-the-glass choices.

Coming soon: The trio of owners also operates Park Tavern farther west on Atlantic Avenue. Up next is El Camino, a "Mexican soul food" restaurant featuring an eye-catching exterior mural by Miami artist Ruben Ubiera and a beer list that will include two beers created exclusively for El Camino by Due South Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach and Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. Look for it to open by the new year on Second Avenue, just north of Atlantic. or 954-356-4632. Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @FloridaEats.

432 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach


Cuisine: Steakhouse

Cost: Expensive-very expensive

Hours: Dinner daily

Reservations: Suggested

Credit cards: All major

Bar: Full service

Sound level: Loud at peak times

Outside smoking: No

For kids: Highchairs, boosters, menu items for kids

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Parking: Free valet at Fourth and Atlantic avenues

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