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KO Prime?

Has anyone been there? I've been looking at the OpenTable rest. week listings.

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  1. Nothing firsthand, but sadly I have heard less than good things from 2 sources. Let's hope growing pains.

    1. I was there once with a group and we shared a lot of dishes in the bar area. I thought it was great. Highlights were a charcuterie plate, bone marrow, skirt steak and a buttery mashed potato pot. The only clunker I recall was the short rib dish.

      The highlights were really superb and I'd go back for those dishes alone.

      1. I went about a month after they opened and was rather actively unimpressed, or more accurately, I was impressed for the wrong reasons. I was dining with a small group of not-particularly-chowish business types, so the table pretty much stuck to drinks, basic cuts of meat, and sides. I should say I'm perfectly willing to drop some cash on a sublime meal (Clio, for example), but I found KO Prime's cost/benefit ratio to be somewhere between silly and stupid.

        Our waiter tried multiple times to up-sell via shaming tactics, sometimes successfully. When we didn't order appetizers, he warned us that that our steaks would take 40 minutes to cook, which would be a long time to wait without any food (we abstained from appetizers despite the dire threat of starvation). When one diner tried to order the least expensive cut of beef, a hangar steak (still in the $30s a la carte), the waiter said, "That cut of meat is so tough that you won't be satisfied with your dinner. You really oughta order something else"; the diner sheepishly upgraded to a sirloin in the 40s.

        My big gripe: all the steaks we ordered rare or medium-rare were substantially overcooked, to medium and medium-well, respectively. Although the manager came over to apologize, he neither offered to have the kitchen try again (I suppose if a steak takes 40 minutes to cook… ) nor did he comp us for any of our meal.

        In KO Prime's defense, sides were all very good, most notably the mixed wild mushrooms, although portions were strikingly small. Cocktails were outstanding, some of the best-mixed drinks I've had in quite some time (although they didn't have the liquid nitrogen margaritas online yet). The wine list, while stratospherically priced, was thoughtfully chosen, with a number of great bottles available.

        I hope it was opening jitters; sooner or later, I'd like to give this place another shot. And for restaurant week, cost control will be a bit more feasible. But based on a single early experience, it's pretty low on my list of luxury dining destinations around town.

        7 Replies
        1. re: finlero

          well finlero, the 3rd times the charm. I was having high hopes for this place. Maybe it is one of those spaces that just fails. How else to explain the great minds behind this endeavor. Apps and drinks at the bar will be my first approach thanks to 9lives' thoughts.

          1. re: finlero

            Geez, when a steakhouse can't make steak right, that sets off all kinds of warning bells. And when a steakhouse manager doesn't offer a new steak or a comp when the kitchen screws up like that... well I'd have been pretty upset. I wouldn't eat a medium well steak if I'd ordered it rare or medium rare, and I wouldn't pay for it, either. As for trying it during Restaurant Week, this makes me want to stay away even more... I'd actually be MORE worried about the overcooking problem during Restaurant Week when places get slammed. Thanks for the review.

            1. re: Chris VR

              I had a very good meal there, including the steak.

              Foie gras
              Flatiron steak
              New York Strip
              Aligote potatoes
              Wild mushrooms

            2. re: finlero

              How on earth can it take 40 minutes to cook a steak??

              1. re: heathermb

                That would explain the overcooking. ;)

                  1. re: heathermb

                    if it is a bone-in 40oz. porter house, you better believe that it takes a bit of time to even get to Medium-Rare

                1. I've been, and thought it was good. The salmon belly was amazing. Our steaks were right. Chopped salad decent, but I was expecting a little more, though I don't have any complaints about the food, really. Service, however is another story. Not great and to the point of bumbling, which can put a damper on things, no matter how good the food is, and I'm not taken with the space. It still has that cold Spire feel, but with a rug thrown on the floor and American Gothic wallpapered to the ceiling.

                  1. So what's up with this place. I've mostly heard negative reports. Seems as if Ken O. isn't too involved?? And I stopped by a week before the opening and they hadn't done one thing to the room yet... so, imagine its not much different than the old spot.

                    Just what we need... another steak house in Boston???? With all the competition, they better start getting it right soon. Wonder is Smith and Wolensky is filling the huge space they've got... heard they were having some probs.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: WineTravel

                      Not to stray too far off-topic, but do others find S&W insultingly expensive for the quality? I thought the wine list, in particular, was grossly marked-up (though I'm no expert). I didn't think the food was anything special and yet I paid tippy-top dollar (which I don't mind, when the food is to the level of the bill).

                      1. re: ritcey

                        Steak houses prey on business people to snap up those overpriced wines. Agreed, S&W's list is painful and Grill 23 is the grandaddy price leader (but its a much better list). Haven't been to KO (and really don't have a compelling desire based on CH reports and a few friends that have been), but Im sure the list is no bargain.... especially if Clio, Ken Oringer's signature place, is any indication. Perhaps we can get a wine list report card from someone who's been to KO.

                      2. re: WineTravel

                        I didn't have any complaints about the food. Our meals were really pretty delicious. My disappointment was in the level of service, and the room itself. I guess I was expecting more of a change from Spire, but the changes were aesthetic rather than anything structural. Does Boston have enough steak houses? I don't know. A lot seem to be doing a steady and brisk business, so there certainly are customers here that want them. I do think KO has a different vibe than other steak houses. I could be wrong, but I think if Ruths Chris was up your alley, KO might not be. Then again, if you're not the steak-house-type, then KO might be just right for you.

                        1. re: fullbelly

                          How's the wine list? Selection / pricing?

                          1. re: WineTravel

                            The wine list is exactly as you speculated earlier in the thread: a fairly thoughtful selection, leaning heavily towards big California reds, all exorbitantly priced. Our table's favorite was a Rosenblum '04 "Maggie's Reserve" Sonoma Zin, ringing in at $102. Not a lot on the list for under $80.

                        2. re: WineTravel

                          "KO" is very involved. I was there a couple Thursdays ago, and he was there, both in the kitchen and surveying the room to make sure everything was going smoothly. I'm sure he is more often at Clio, but he not just rubber-stamping his name on this place.

                        3. Responding directly to the OP's question about RW, KO is a place I've wanted to try for some time but I found the RW choices kind of weak so chose not to book. Small plates and charcuterie seem to be well respected on this board.

                          1. Ate there about a month ago. Great meal, with very good, well-informed service. I like my steak rare, and rare it was. Husband's was medium rare, the differential between the two appropriately calibrated. Started with two tartares, tuna and beef and both were delicious, fresh, and distinct from one another. Had a very fine blackberry julep as a cocktail. Asparagus w/ hollandaise side was delish if overpriced (too few asparagus), and the fries were addictive - rosemary and just a touch of parm. Nice touch was the Happy Anniversary on our dessert plates.

                            A fellow at the table next to us had the most enormous Flinstones chop I've ever seen - this was just a massive piece of meat, with a giant bone sticking out of one end. We all laughed about it, and he took pictures! Last seen carving off portions to take home.

                            1. KO rocked... i'll be back as soon as i can.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: tibizzers

                                Would love to hear more detail about your experience at KO Prime, tibizzers.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  sorry i missed this post... and now its been nearly 6 weeks... will repost when i get back there in late aug/sept

                              2. My son and I were there on July 31, 2007 and it was horrible. Both the steak and my fish were overdone-the fish like rubber. Our waitress never came around to ask if all was well-perhaps she knew that the kitchen was overcooking? Our wine was nothing outstanding. I don't mind paying high dollar for a good meal, but paying high dollar for a bad meal frosts me. I won't go there again.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tysaca

                                  How did the server respond when you politely let her know that your entrees were over-cooked? I've dined at the bar 7 times since they opened and in the dining room twice, and always found the satff to be very cordial and accomodating. There are always a few minor adjustments that need to be made with any meal, but in my opinion, it's all in the approach. I've observed lots of customers behaving disrespectfully to servers and then wondering why they're getting "attitude".

                                2. We hit KO Prime on Friday night and the appetizers were great, but the rest of the meal was flawed.

                                  Charcuterie Plate – excellent, lots of variety and interesting meats, such as duck prosciutto and antelope sausage. There was even some blood sausage (which was previously on the list of 5 things I won’t eat) that was pretty good. Nice mustard selection.

                                  Roasted Bone Marrow – three large beef bones, roasted to perfection. Very rich and indulgent.

                                  I loved the appetizers, but DC didn’t share my opinion. I don’t think it was so much about the food itself, but the selections. In his words, “at the end of the day, I’m eating immune system and expensive luncheon meat. Not what I would choose.”

                                  Skirt steak w/ North African Spices – the meat was tender, but the spice rub was way too salty. I love my salt, but I ended up scraping what I could off the steak to eat it.

                                  New York Strip – This is the only dry aged steak on the menu. It was dry. It was bland. It was a waste of money.

                                  Dessert – Frozen Mint Mousse – inside a cylinder of mousse was a liquid chocolate center a la molten chocolate cake. It was okay, a pint of mint chocolate chip from Christina’s would have been half the price and twice as good.

                                  Service was attentive. On a funny side note, a member of the Boston Herald reviewer’s party had a choking incident and another diner had to give him the heimlick, and apparently “Not one KO Prime employee came to our assistance during the emergency or inquired, afterward, if she was all right.”

                                  DC took a sip of water and it when down the wrong way and he started coughing and making choking noises. Instantly, the manager was at our table and then even brought over unsolicited bread after, stating that it helps sometimes. I guess they have corrected that flaw in their service.

                                  Last thing, the decor is just weird. The first thing you see when you ascend the stairs is a giant antler chandelier, a la Bugaboo Creek. The next thing is the leather placemats. Ick.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gltsoi

                                    I went here recently - did not love it. First of all, the restaurant is beyond dim - annoyingly so...thank goodness I had a tiny flashlight.

                                    On the chowhound's recommendation, we ordered the bone marrow to share - unfortunately, not a good thing to share. Barely any bone marrow in the bones we got and the spoons were too big to get into the bones...a waste of time.

                                    I also ordered the chopped salad which was a little bland. And we shared the vietnamese shortribs which were tasy but mostly bones and very little meat to speak of, and hard to share between three people as portion was tiny.

                                    I ordered the skirt steak with North African spices, which everyone raved about on this site and it was like eating dry, bland, "sandy" steak (over cooked and not medium rare as I had ordered)...the spices, instead of enhancing the flavor, tasted like someone has rubbed sand on it. It had no flavor and was just plain dry.

                                    The mixed mushrooms side was great, but the sides here are TINY and smallish to share. I think Ken Oringer is big on the tiny portions for a lot of money, as I found Clio to be the same way (not that we need huge portions but let's be reasonable).

                                    The fingerling potato puree was good, again, smallish (not your normal potato sized side dish for the table that you get at the other Boston steakhouses). And the pea greens with ginger and scallion tasted like neither ginger nor scallion - they tasted like soy sauce which drenched the delicate pea shoots to the point where you could've been eating grass clippings and not known the difference. The cipollini onions were tasty.

                                    Desserts were unremarkable and I can't even remember what we had. I do remember asking about the liquid nitrogen martini's that have been discussed on this board...the waiter said they had them only for the opening night but have never served them since then...the machine is still housed downstairs but has never been used. All in all, go to Troquet, Sorellina or even Moo if you are up for an expensive dinner and skip KO prime.

                                  2. The name is KO Prime, but they serve USDA Choice Beef. I suggest they change the name.