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Oct 3, 2007 01:18 PM

Primehouse - anyone been?

Going there this week for dinner. Any feedback? What to order?

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    1. I have rezzies there too in 2 weeks. Place looks great, but menu looks a bit boring. Awaiting your review.

      6 Replies
      1. re: DoctortedNYC

        Had gotten a 20% off coupon for this week from a BR Guest email, but couldn't get a reservation. I believe this is the first week it is open (in preview week or something the email said).

        1. re: elecsheep9

          Ate at Primehouse Monday (opening night)....excellent....had the Kentucky ribeye, mac & cheese, and their house bread (formed as bagels...but not as good as bagels). Service was terrific, water glass refilled continually, and the wine list is comprehensive....incl. 1/2 bottle selections. You'll like it.

        2. re: DoctortedNYC

          WHAT AN INSULT! Had the displeasure of dining there last night (sat 10/6) and was so displeased in so many ways that I felt I just had to write about it. Service needs work but that was to be expected week 1. The place looks sleek and cool in pictures but is quite cold in person. Perhaps they are trying to go after the feel and vibe STK has downtown - but the feel missed the mark by a long shot. I imagine in the light of day lunch must have all the comfort of dining in a mausoleum. And in the back at night our table had the constant glare of white LED's in the wine racks - about as enjoyable as dining at the edge of the cosmetics counter at Bloomingdale's I imagine. But the a serious steak eater in a serious steak eatin' town - I am happy to pay top dollar for a terrific meal and experience. However, when I walk into a steakhouse called PRIMEhouse I expect USDA Prime Beef! The best! A quick review of the menu reveals they use Balck Angus beef...from a bull named PRIME! A pure gimmick of BULL that may play well in peoria but this is NYC! Now I am not an expert - though I do eat and buy a good amount of prime meat for grilling - but my information is that Angus generally is not graded on the USDA scale so cant be "prime" as we know the term (a host of requirements with barely 3% of beef earning the right to call itself prime and Angus usually not having the "marbeling" or fat in the muscle needed to be prime). If anyone has ACCURATE information otherwise I would be happy to learn.

          Back to the meal. First thing I wanted while I perused the menu was a glass of red wine. The selections were rather few and not the greatest representatives of the respective varietals. Then the glass arrived at the table and one of my dinner mates even commented "when are they bringing the rest of your wine?" The pour was so paltry I dont think it quite measured 5 oz - a meager pour in itself. And this glass was $15 and not too good (sadly, Houston's across the street does a better job in this respect with better selection, better prices and healthier pours of 7+ oz) - so I'm already feeling like I am getting taken for a ride...all the while the bright white lights from the wine rack glaring in my eyes.

          They do dry age on the premises which is a major plus...but again they are starting with Black Angus beef. Now Black Angus isnt bad stuff by any stretch. Makes for tasty steaks with good consistency but it does NOT make for the finest steaks. Review of the menu indicates what they serve should be the best of the best in town at just about $50 for a NY Strip served bare on a plate. Everything a la carte - which is fine - I'll pay what I have to just give me the best and I'll be back, just ask my cardiologist! Give me Black Angus - even dry aged - and you are gouging me by $15 at these prices. (Do a search online and you too will discover that Black Angus goes for 35 to 50% LESS than USDA Prime. You too will start to get steamed by the prices at this place!). When asking the staff about this issue I got a stock answer about "prime" the bull and a blank stare when I mentioned USDA obviously these werent steakhouse seasoned nor trained staff. They just expected oohs and ahhs from the hokey "Prime the Bull" story and the aging room tours...perhaps the next location should be at Epcot!

          My friends had the Caesar salad which was prepared tableside which they loved. The downside being that it was reminiscent of the guacamole presentation just down the block at sister restaurant Dos Caminos...and therein maybe lies the problem with this place. This is a formulaic restaurant from a solid corporate restaurant group which manages a group of serviceable midlevel restaurants. They are all decent places I go to for the scenery more than the food. They are midpriced and fine and enjoyable for what you are getting. Here they are trying to compete in a much more rarefied space - at least given their pricing. Sharp pencils in the accounting department at BR Guest may say Black Angus will make us profitable if we charge USDA Prime pricing since Angus cost so much less to source - but you are going after a discerning NYC customer that knows the difference and these days has no shortage of much better options around town. We know when a fast one is bing pulled...

          As for the steak, I am almost reluctant to comment. They served our steaks "black and blue" though we asked for medium. I might have stuck with mine if it came out medium rare but it was pretty much raw which i could tell just from pressing a fork on top of the steak (something the kitchen or its expediter should have done before it made its way to my table). To appease my waiter i reluctantly cut into my steak to prove it was raw knowing full well it needed more fire - sure enough it was RAW. All of our steaks went back...they returned in just a couple of minutes surely after hitting either the fryolator or microwave - they were done now alright...well done with one of my tablemates having a rather burnt steak in front of her (no, this was not the "char" we steak lovers look for and expect - these were big chunks of ashes crumbling off her steak!). I ate mine. I was hungry. I didnt wish to do further battle with myself or the staff to get what I should have gotten in the first place nor was I willing to risk making my tablemates uncomfortable. It was ok for a welldone steak. Maybe would have been rather good if properly prepared - but I doubt this would have had any chance of being a top steak.

          We shared 2 sides and I get to use the word insipid like i see restaurants critics do when they really dislike something. We had whipped potatoes that were boring and who knows - maybe from a box - and we tried the brussel sprouts that were truly the most tasteless brussel sprout I have ever had. I mean growing up I might have killed for such tasteless brussel sprouts but I've grown to love their strange and cabbagey flavor and was disappointed by the oily mushy little sprouts they served. OH, and by the way - one of the things you see in a steakhouse are generous exciting sides - these were not - they again had bottom line written all over them. They were small and uninteresting servings for top price and still went unfinished because they werent worth consuming.

          As a dessert we shared the doughnuts which were the highlight of the evening. At about $93 per person, not incl tip and before we reminded them about their 20% discount (note, there were 3 of us - we didnt drink much as we were not pleased by the wines we tried nor by the tiny pours and i skipped the appetizers altogether and we shared the 2 sides) it was pricey for what it was. We got several reservations on short notice and have canceled another res we got for a business dinner. Interestingly, by 10:30 the dining room was only about half full on a Saturday - it doesnt deserve to be more full than that, EVER!

          This place is superfluous in a town of steak joints that deliver for the price they exact and there is nothing that makes me feel i need to go back. Charge me top prices - but give me top quality, not a corporate formula that screams bottom line at every part of the menu! AVOID AVOID AVOID and take your money elsewhere.

          1. re: glenny

            The last reviewer lost me after the second paragraph.
            My wife and I went last night and had a great meal. It wasn't cheap, even with the week's preview 20% discount.
            Our porterhouse for two was cooked perfectly. We asked for medium rare. I like rare, my wife likes medium rare. So they sliced my meat from more toward the center and hers from the ends. Perfectly done. We were both very happy.
            We ordered a bottle of wine: A '98 Torre Muga Rioja. It was served at the perfect temperature, which doesn't seem to happen in a restaurant anymore.
            We had two sides: Sauteed onions and mushrooms mixed and an order of brussel sprouts flavored with crispy pork. Both were very good, the sprouts were much more interesting then the other dish.

            The servers were all on top of their game. We never needed anything we didn't get very quickly.

            By comparison, our steaks at BLT Steak were better, our steaks (last weekend) at Old Homestead were significantly less good.

            I can't speak intelligently about grading criteria.

            We thought the place looks nice but, yeah, there is a bit of an all-pleasing hotel lobby feel to it which completely lacks New York character. You should be fine.

            As for seating. We were first given the very last table in the back right next to a wait station of some kind with servers bustling all around it.
            We asked immediately for a different table and they gave us a real nice 4-top next to the window in the main dining area.

            I don't know. We had a perfectly nice time and a very enjoyable meal.

            1. re: Chow Baby

              Angus beef, pork rinds, and Pabst Blue Ribbon does the trick for me every time. We're checking out Prime this year for restaurant week, I hope it improved in the last half a year.

            2. re: glenny

              glenny thanks for the encompassing review.we were planning on dinner at Prime this Sat. but your review changed my mind. i am also very discriminating re. a really great steak. what other steak restaraunt do you suggest other than Lugers?

          2. I went with my son for lunch a couple of weeks ago and was not impressed with the food. I had the Tuna Burger and asked for it rare. The server said that the chef recommends it be cooked to medium. It came out well done and was tough. It tasted like a frozen tuna steak. My son had the burger medium rare and it came out medium well. They did pour a great Grey Goose on the rocks however. I will have to go back some night and have the steaks and give them a chance to redeem themselves but if you can't cook a burger on a slow lunch day I don't see a lot of hope on a busy evening rush.