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Sleek woods, beaded drapes, playful ceramic antlers and sunken dining areas were all crafted by Atlanta’s Innerworks Design Group.

A Fine Cut

by Wendell Brock | Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee | Men's Book Atlanta magazine | February 20, 2014

It has been well documented that successful men measure success as much by the size of their toys as their portfolios. Some find joy in puffing fat Cuban cohibas; others take satisfaction in rolling out their next business venture. A lucky few find a way to marry both business and pleasure. Such a man is Muzo Saritas.

An Istanbul native who has lived in Atlanta for 20 years now, Saritas has impressive credentials as a hotel manager and restaurateur. As a partner in downtown’s Truva Turkish Kitchen, he had a far grander vision for the massive property at the corner of Andrew Young International Boulevard and Peachtree Center Avenue. In January, he pushed the 4-year-old Truva into the upstairs space and unveiled his Cuts Steakhouse in the 13,000-square-foot downstairs expanse.

Ironically, this new Downtown steakhouse sits on the site of an old Steak and Ale, beloved by tourists and locals alike. But if you ever whizzed past that mock-Tudor pub, you’ll be amazed at what Saritas and his team have installed in its place. Outside, it has the feel of an Aspen lodge with loads of brick and glass—clean modern lines that Frank Lloyd Wright would salute. Inside, it’s a spacious Euro-chic warren of sunken booths and shimmering beaded curtains. There’s also a designated sports bar in one corner, with flat-screens and beer taps, and plans for a large patio to open this spring.

Taking credit for transforming the property into Saritas’ vision for a destination restaurant is Atlanta-based Innerworks Design Group. On the culinary side, Saritas told me he interviewed “several ‘name’ chefs,” ultimately hiring recent North Carolina transplant Donnie Wicker as executive chef. Wicker brings a free-range, vaguely Southern touch to the menu, where you will find the likes of pecan-crusted salmon with peach gastrique, shrimp and grits, and pimento mac and cheese, along with the requisite prime cuts and steakhouse fare you’d expect.

On a recent evening, we slipped from work mode into a pair of nice dry vodka martinis, slid into a curvaceous booth under a grouping of ceramic antlers and proceeded to sample Wicker’s wares. Both the braised beef short rib and smoked salmon appetizers were delicious. We especially admired the tender rib meat (with mushrooms, cabbage ragout and grated horseradish), and the hunk of salty salmon (with remoulade, pickled shallots and flatbread crackers). Wicker may be Southern at heart, but his menu has global intentions. So among the chicken soup and fried green tomatoes, you will also find ceviche, seared tuna and goat cheese-risotto fritters.

Because my guest was a tall hulking man who was determined to eat steak, I indulged him, selflessly. He chose a 12-ounce rib-eye, and I went for Southern fried lobster tails. Now, those tails were pretty tasty, competently battered and fried, with a scorching hot ramekin of drawn butter and sides of spinach and smashed garlic spuds. But I confess I was rather envious of my pardner’s steak—not to mention the creamy horseradish sauce and tangle of thyme-scented, caramelized onions that he chose as go-withs. As a side dish, his Brussels sprouts were a smarter, tastier choice than fries, grits or a loaded baked potato. (Quinoa salad and cole slaw are offered, too, as for-the-table-size steakhouse sides.) My Titanic-esque iceberg wedge was appropriately frigid, and surrounded by puddles of good stuff like bacon, blue cheese and tomato.

Dessert choices are pretty straightforward here—apple cobbler with salted caramel; cheesecake with peach coulis; walnut-fudge brownie a la mode. We picked the cheesecake and found it to be a clear-cut finish to a rich and extravagant meal.

Finally, I’d like to commend Saritas for following his dream, which is sort of summed up in the restaurant logo: a cubist long horn reminiscent of a Picasso sketch. With his ambitious new venture, Saritas storms Downtown’s moribund dining scene with all the zest and cojones of a raging bull.

Cuts Steakhouse
60 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE, 404.525.3399

Hours: Mon.-Fri., 5-10pm; Sat.-Sun., 5-11pm

The price point: Appetizers and salads, $7-$13; burgers and sandwiches, $11-$13; steaks and entrees: $19-$36

The beef: Downtown’s newest steak place aims to be a destination restaurant that appeals to everyone from the Dom Pérignon set to sports-lovers who just want to enjoy the beers, burgers and widescreen TVs before hitting a game at Philips Arena. (A bottle of Dom, by the way, will set you back $300, but there are lots of nice glasses of wine in the $9-$16 range.)

The vibe: The main room has the feel of a loungey night club, but the management insists it wants to keep the focus on the food. However, The Sports Bar at Cuts plans to stay open “late.”