HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


House of Prime Rib?

  • m

Hi all,
I went to House of Prime Rib about 4-5 years ago, I remember I had a bad experience at that time, the beef was chewy and not so good.
I am planning to return this place for a b-day party dinner for 8 ppl this weekend. Do you guys have any comments on recent visit?

Thanks a lot.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I always had a great piece of meat.
    Ask for medium rare.

    End cuts are more likely to be chewy.

    CASH is King.
    CUSTOMER is King.

    if you had a bad piece of meat, ask for another.


    2 Replies
    1. re: RWONG

      HOPR does accept credit cards.

      1. re: Bob C.

        "Cash is king" is a cliche meaning that you're the one paying, so you're the boss. They were not implying that they didn't take credit cards, they were saying that you're paying so feel free to tell them if you're unhappy.

    2. Hmmm...I've never been disappointed there yet. Always great experience.

      1. I have to agree with the others, have always had a good experience there. Like the salad they make at the table and the prime rib has been great. Just remember, it's a PRIME RIB place, not fish, not steak, no lamb chops.

        1. Over the years, my friends and I have always been pleased here. Since I like well done, I prefer the end cut since it's crispy and salty. We try to remember to ask for 1/2 as much dressing on the salad; stays crisper this way. Don't agree to seasoning salt in the salad -- has msg, and gave some of us rapid heart beats later that night. Great place to take relatives, etc. because everything is included. At other places, bill can really add up with all the extras you order. Do you know about the free seconds?

          1. I've been there at least ten times, and it is a bit of hit-and-miss. I order mine medium-rare, and twice out of all my visits, I had meat that was tough and chewy -- probably was a lower grade, maybe even below USDA Select. Unfortunately, out-of-town friends that I had invited on those days were turned off by HOPR and don't want to go back when they visit me. I worry about taking guests there because of the couple bad experiences I've had, but as family we don't hesitate to go a few times a year because it is usually very good and is a good value for the money. I've just learned to accept that you can have bad days about 10% of the time.

            Also, the one time I asked for seconds, it seemed that the second piece of meat came from the back kitchen and was perhaps from a rump roast. It was definitely not the same rib meat as from the carts. It was a tough piece of meat, purely lean with no fat at all. I've never asked for seconds since that experience.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Peacemeal

              Isn't it a bit of false advertising to serve prime rib that is not prime?

              1. re: Civil Bear

                Prime rib is just the name for the cut of meat; it can be any USDA grade.

                1. re: Humbucker

                  Really? I could be wrong here, but I thought the cut of meat is a standing rib roast or a bone-in rib-eye roast, and that the "prime" is reserved for when it is cut from prime beef (which is why we are supposed to get so worked up over it ; >). I have noticed that I cannot find prime rib from a butcher unless it is prime-grade meat.

                  1. re: Civil Bear

                    From the epicurious.com food dictionary:

                    "The boneless rib-eye roast is the center, most desirable and tender portion of the rib section. Therefore, it's also the most expensive. Many rib roasts are often inappropriately labeled PRIME RIB. In fact, they can't be called prime rib unless the cut actually comes from USDA Prime beef — rarely found in meat markets today."

                    1. re: Dude

                      We should all file a class-action suit against the Lyon's, Carrow's and other chain restaurants of the world that dare advertise prime rib dinners for $9.95 or whatever they charge!!! We must rise up to protest such misleading advertising.

                      Then again, we'd have to eat there in order to validate our claims as plaintiffs. Doh well..... ;-D

                2. re: Civil Bear

                  Humbucker is correct. The 'prime' in Prime Rib refers to which rib section, not grade of beef. The term Prime Rib predates the USDA grading system which was established later. See the following link.

                  Link: http://new.cbbqa.com/articles/PrimeRi...

                  1. re: Peacemeal

                    You are wrong about that. See link to HOPR's website below. It specifically states that the meat is USDA Prime grade. Your information is sorely outdated.


                    1. re: chemchef

                      Although House of Prime Rib's meat may be USDA prime, all prime ribs are not necessarily so, which is what Peacemeal was confirming.

              2. I've been going to the HOPR a couple of times a year since I moved here 23 years ago. In the early days, before they closed with the strike and change in staff when they reopened, I felt it was always good. Since then, the meat has been a little inconsistent (80% good), but since I love the salad and creamed spinach, I still enjoy my meal. The last time I went, a few months ago, the meat was fine. I usually order med-rare.

                As for seconds, the one time I asked for a dollop extra of spinach, they gave me enough to fill my plate. Still one of the best deals in town!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lives to Eat

                  Add me to the chorus of those who love HoPR (which I always pronounce "Hoper" and people look at me like I'm crazy). I've never had a bad piece of meat there. Ask to have a whole Yorkie laid down on top of your meat and cut the Yorkie and meat together so you get a bit of both in a single bite. The jus and juice of the meat soaks into the Yorkie. Heaven!!!!

                2. question about asking for "seconds". i just moved to SF from Boston, and i've just started my venture into the city's culinary delights. co-workers tell me that at HoPR, if you order the larger cut of meat, and you're able to finish it, they will offer you a complimentary second portion. is that fact or fiction?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: yenyen828

                    It's not limited to the large size cut. Seconds (or thirds) are available for all. Then the natural question comes up, why pay for a bigger cut if you can have seconds anyway? Here's a clip from an older post by Curtis on that.

                    " 717 days ago Curtis replied to nja

                    Excellent question Nick and more that once the subject of much debate. The best way to consider this is to think of other cuts of meat. For example the difference between a regular pork chop versus a double center cut, or between different cuts of steak. In the case of HOPR, the only cut that is substantially different is the English cut which consists of several thinner slices of meat and I think is particularly good if you prefer your meat on the medium to welldone end of the spectrum. As to the heart of my friends' debate, the House versus Henry discussion rests a great deal on personal preference to be certain. However, my own slight bias towards the King Henry cut is that it is served with the rib bone which I feel imparts greater flavor and is itself an attraction. Hope that helps a bit. Perhaps, and I'm only throwing out the hypothetical, we should investigate the matter further with say a nice sturdy claret? Yes, me thinks the reponse to this post just might warrant such a venture.

                    a sante,
                    Curtis "


                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      in a way it is limited to the larger cuts. they don't offer seconds for the smallest plate of prime rib (city cut), at least they told us they didn't when we were there last. I know for sure that they offer seconds for the hopr and the king henry cut but we've never ordered the english cut so not sure on that one.

                      --oh yeah sometimes you can get the rib bone with the hopr cut depending on the server you get.

                      1. re: choctastic

                        Seconds are offered for the English cut (my cut of choice)

                  2. HOPR.... DOES use "Prime" beef... from their website,,,

                    "We serve only USDA Prime beef, the top 2% of all beef marketed. Although this incurs additional expense, our USDA Eastern corn-fed beef, aged for 21 days, is the most tender, juicy and flavorful beef available."

                    and my second slice is ALWAYS from the cart and never comes from "the kitchen"
                    If you have a problem with your meat, they bend over backwards to make it right...just ask!

                    1. I had a mediocre experience at HOPR. Several people told me this is the best restaurant they've ever been to. So my expectations were set very high.

                      We started with the salad, of course, and I found my lettuce drowning in dressing! I wish I read the post that said to ask for half the dressing... too bad for me. The bread was ok, I love crusty bread... but I thought HOPR bread was less than decent. I ordered the English Cut (?) 3 thinner pieces of Prime Rib. When my prime rib arrived, I was excited to see what all the hype was about. I cut into a rubbery, cooler than room temperature piece of meat. :( Needless to say I was disappointed. I nearly finished one piece when my SO took a little bite of it. I took a bite of my SO's HOPR cut. The HOPR cut was definitely 1000 times better than the English Cut. When the server came around to ask how we were doing, I told her that my prime rib was rubbery and cold. She replaced my meal with another English Cut, slightly less done (medium rare), hot, fresh and it was much better. Also, the creamed spinach at Ruth's Chris is WAAAAAAAAAAAY better.

                      point of my story? Skip the English cut and go for the HOPR cut...
                      (also... it never hurts to politely complain about your food)

                      1. hopr is big food at reasonable prices. if you're looking for dry aged prime rib that will glide underneath your knife and taste amazing, this aint the place, but it's packed anyways for a reason. it's $35 pp, lots of reasonably decent food for the price, and the owner is always roaming around to make sure things are going okay. i like it occasionally but i'm not a fiend. it's a favorite restaurant for others i know.

                        --actually my bad it is dry-aged for 21 days. personally i usually get a good slice of decent meat but i always order medium rare, and i learned to sit in the sections where my favorite servers are roaming.

                        also if you get the second plate, they always cut a little slice right there from the serving cart, add sides and hand the plate to the waiter right away. they don't go into the back except to replenish the carts.

                        I think it's a little unfair to compare it to ruth's Chris because here sides and unlimited bread are included in the approximately $30-35 entree price. Ruth's Chris costs us about $50 or so pp and you don't even get nearly as much food as you would at hopr. like i said, big food for reasonable prices.

                        1. I love the House of Prime Rib!!! Everytime I've been there, I thought that the service was great. The spinning salad tableside with the cherry vinegarette dressing is so yummy. I'm literally scrapping the beets off my plate!! The beef has always been tender and juicy (I ask for medium rare) and they always are willing to give more! More potatoes, more creamed spinach, more baked potato toppings, etc. I like to see the tiny owner walking around and greeting tables. Michael Bauer was right, though, in his review where he said that sometimes when the dining room is filled, the carving stations can't be right in front of your table. It's a bummer, but the meat is still delicious, and I almost enjoy having the meat carver waive his big knife back at me from across the room to say hello! ;o)

                          1. My SO and I are both steak lovers, and I have to say we've never been all that impressed with House of Prime Rib, even though it seems like it should be exactly our cup of tea. There are better steak houses. Having said that, I did enjoy a very nice HOPR cut last night. However, the atmosphere at HOPR always makes me feel like I'm at Epcot Center or some other amusement park. Plus, the sides are not all that great. The creamed spinach is passable, the salad is drowned in dressing, and the "seasoning" is essentially a huge sprinkling of MSG. Also, despite having reservations, we always end up waiting for a long period of time crammed into the bar area. The martinis are good... but not a substitute for food when you're really hungry and have been waiting forever.

                            1. Link:

                              House of Prime Rib
                              1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109