At the Rosewood, Wolfgang Puck Is All About Being Local

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Chefs Andrew Skala and Wolfgang Puck in the kitchen of Cut restaurant at the Rosewood hotel on 31st Street. Photo by Robert Devaney.

The luxury hotel at 1050 31st St. NW, next to the C&O Canal, which opened in 2013 as a Capella showcase, is now part of the equally luxe Rosewood Hotel Group.

In 2016, the Rosewood group took over. The property later closed for nine months of renovations and reopened on July 29. Ready to move forward, the hotel chose to redo its first floor with a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Georgetown’s Cut is the fifth location of Puck’s more-than-a-steakhouse concept, also featuring fish and vegetable dishes.

Talking with the 70-year-old charismatic chef, whose food company is expansive, one looks at the open space on the first floor, a bar and restaurant space shining with emerald green and gold furniture designed by Jacques Garcia. Here, Puck’s energy and personality is on full display.

The hotel has a top-shelf staff led by its managing editor Gabor Vida, who has helmed other Rosewood properties. Vida wants the place to become “a neighborhood regular.” He is assisted by Evan Moore, restaurant and bar director.

Still, Puck is the star, along with Cut’s Andre Skala, who has worked with him for 13 years. Sitting down with this Austrian American culinary virtuoso at the newest Cut, one finds his enthusiasm infectious. He seems to know everyone and, he says, he’s happy in be in Georgetown.

Puck chose Rosewood because his clientele matches nicely with the hotel group’s. He has known one of the first executives of Rosewood for years.

“Cater to the locals first, then the tourists will follow,” Puck says. He and Skala are also working with local companies to bring in regional ingredients — “Mid-Atlantic,” they say.

The business ventures of this force of nature include a list of more than 40 restaurants, from Spago and Cut, along with catering, fast-casual spots and housewares. Puck is also a speaker and a writer.

For the inquiring palate, the new Cut menu includes Puck’s “first foray into the nose to tail movement. A compendium of signature wagyu, dry-aged cuts of beef and offal cuts like the Wagyu Beef Heart ‘a la plancha’ with nam jim, cucumber, lime and coriander are available for the steak enthusiast, alongside several dishes reminiscent of Puck’s childhood, like the Veal Holstein Schnitzel with capers, white anchovies, and Path Valley eggs.”

In the mix, chef Skala is all for veggie-centric entrees as well as fish — roasted turbot and black bass among others.

Skala says he has been dealing with Amish farmers, Chesapeake fishermen and Virginia cattlemen, also working with single-family farms as the Seven Hills Food purveyors. For more than a year, the chef has gotten close to his purveyors — going so far as giving out seeds for certain vegetables he’d like to have on his table. Cut is, Skala says, “a restaurant for locals with local ingredients.”

Not to be missed: The Raw Bar, which the Rosewood calls “an elevation” from versions one might find elsewhere.

The wine selection — 500 labels — is on display next to the bar with 2,500 bottles, including some Austrians for Puck and Hungarians for Vida, who adds that Cut’s menu is available via room service. There is also rooftop service, cheekily called A Cut Above.

The Rosewood is not quite complete with its reinvention. Next door, along 31st Street and around on South Street, it is reconstructing and will open, it reports, “one-of-a-kind townhouse suites later this year. . . . Each approximately 1,100 square feet in size, the accommodations will be designed by local interior designer Thomas Pheasant.”  Near the hotel’s entrance is the rehabilitation of the 31st Street bridge over the C&O Canal — that work should be completed by late 2020.

Meanwhile, Puck insists, “Turn off your phones. Share the tastes. A restaurant is like a family. Share a meal. It’s a special time and a great experience, not just food.”

The Rosewood Washington’s Managing Director Gabor Vida in the hotel’s library. Photo by Robert Devaney.
A Cut Above on the Rosewood rooftop. Courtesy Rosewood.
Cut D.C. at the Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown. Courtesy Rosewood.
At the Raw Bar in the Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown. Photo by Robert Devaney.
Some townhouses on 31st Street and South Street will soon be part of the Rosewood Hotel. Photo by Robert Devaney.
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