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Jul 12, 2007 10:28 AM

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.