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Primehouse: Restaurant Week Summer '09 Review + Photos

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My boyfriend, Kamran, and I base most of our Restaurant Week dining decisions on the inventiveness of the menu, which is why we chose Primehouse over Smith & Wollensky or Delmonico’s on the 31st. Passion fruit and gazpacho? Yes, please.

• APPETIZERS •

Passion Fruit Gazpacho
Lump Crab & Avocado

Grilled Double Cut Bacon
Roasted Figs, Frisée, Maytag Blue Cheese

Heirloom Tomato & Goat Cheese Salad
Micro Basil, Sea Salt, Aged Balsamic

• ENTREES •

Scottish Salmon
English Pea & Mushroom Risotto,
Preserved Lemon Beurre Blanc

Marinated Hanger Steak
Grilled Portabella & Arugula Salad, Roasted Pepper Salsa

7oz Dry Aged Petit Sirloin
Caramelized Summer Vegetables

• DESSERTS •

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Ladyfingers, Nutella Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake
Coconut sorbet

I don’t care for seafood and absolutely can’t eat tomatoes, so even though a salad is the least-appealing appetizer in the world to me, it was my only choice, and it turned out to be one I didn’t regret. The lettuce was lettuce, but the goat cheese with the bacon was perfect for the glutton in me, and figs are one of my favourite fruits. There was a upper-thick slice of bacon on either side of the plate, and while one was perfectly crisp, the other was chewy and fatty. While I’m usually much more of the burnt bacon type, I welcomed the diversity.

Kamran ordered the passion fruit gazpacho, of course. It arrived with the mound of crab and basil (or tarragon–we weren’t sure) looking rather lonely in the center of the large bowl, but then the waiter poured the soup around it for a delightful presentation. I don’t know that I’ve ever had gazpacho in my life, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste, but this tasted exactly like salsa. A really, really good salsa. The kind you always want in Mexican joints but never actually get.

Kamran and I like to get different entrées and sample each other’s, so when I decided on the filet (obviously), he went for the hanger, thinking he’d appreciate the larger size. But no. The moment he saw the look on my face as I tasted my first bite, he knew he’d made a mistake.

I know the steak looks a little crusty and the vegetables a little drab in this photo, but the dish was very much the opposite of both these adjectives. Kamran’s hanger was a little bit embarrassing next to my filet, and although he tried to tell himself that it was just delicious in a different way, it wasn’t. It was decent and nothing more, and Kamran didn’t even want all of the extra portion size in the end. Sorry, hanger.

We didn’t even discuss getting a side, but as soon as our waitress walked away, I casually mentioned macaroni and cheese, and so it was. It was very homemade-tasting and had a nice crunchy topping. It was pretty standard, but standard mac and cheese is still pretty special.

My bittersweet chocolate tart was rich and fudgey, although the cake crust dumbed it down. No complaints, though. I ate every last bite of it and mopped up the chocolate drizzle on the plate with the sliver of chocolate stuck in my ice cream, too.

Kamran prefers a lighter dessert, so he was happy with his strawberry shortcake. The crunchy coconut slivers provided a nice texture, and there was no chance of the coconut sorbet with fresh strawberries being bad. I finished Kamran’s dessert for him, too, if you must know.

For the remainder of Restaurant Week, Primehouse appears to be lunch only, but we went at night and were surprised at how many couples weren’t trying the Restaurant Week menu. All around us were tables with raw bar towers, and one in particular caught Kamran’s eye, because he swore Tom Colicchio was sitting at it. I wasn’t convinced, so we called it a truce by deciding that it was his younger brother, Rod Colicchio. (Who doesn’t really exist, of course.) But watching to see how the supposed Rod Colicchio was enjoying his food became the focal point of the dinner nonetheless.

I really thought my filet at Primehouse was as good as any I’ve had in the city, although I hesitate to say that, knowing that the restaurant is part of the B.R. Guest restaurant conglomerate. However, a waiter near us flaunted the fact, telling his table that their size allows them access to the best ingredients. And they’re serious about what they serve, going so far as to have their own Kentucky bull (named Prime) that provides all of the beef they serve in the dining room. So maybe I shouldn’t be embarrassed to have liked it so much.

The only thing the older steakhouses have on Primehouse in my mind is the environment. While I appreciate a more trendy setting for a date, I also like how the sparse, serious décor of a steakhouse like Peter Luger lends itself to more of a focus on the food. Primehouse was full of soft chairs, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and an inexplicable slick 80s feel. It was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t my grandpa’s steakhouse. Which may be just what you’re looking for.

Photos can be seen here: http://www.donuts4dinner.com/2009/08/...

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  1. I'll chime in about Prime House. I am glad you had a good meal there, but one my lone visit there I left disappointed. I don't really think it should be considered a top steakhouse (or really a steakhouse at all for that matter). There are many better ones to go to in the city. The restaurant is swanky and they do a very good job with their sides and desserts. But the bottom line is the STEAKS aren't great. I went once and that was enough for me.

    5 Replies
    1. re: steakrules85

      I was scared when I saw your username, because I KNEW you'd fight me. I'm sticking by what I wrote, though, and saying that Prime the bull is doing a great job. I was surprised myself.

      What about the steaks didn't you like?

      1. re: plumpdumpling

        Haha plump never be scared. We are all entitled to our opinions. Well my steak was not cooked to the proper temperature number 1. It had to be sent back. Also, for the price they charged I did not feel their ribeye to be as large as they advertised and the quality was not as good as other steakhouses in the city.

        I wouldn't even consider Prime House a steakhouse. It is one of those "nouveau" restaurants trying to claim they are a steakhouse just because they serve it and it is SUPPOSED to be their main focus. Meanwhie, they are focusing on the design of the restaurant (which is ok but a bit tacky honestly), trying to gussy up the sides and such to differentiate themselves as different.

        The truffle fries, macaroni and cheese, and pistachio souffle were all delicious. But again, I judge a steakhouse on what they do in the steak department. It's like a beautiful sportscar that has a great design but is equipped with a 4 cylinder engine. Who cares?

        I can name 10 steahouses I feel are better than this imposter.

        1. re: steakrules85

          I guess this is the joy of Restaurant Week, eh? When I'm paying $35, any amount of steak seems like a huge amount. I guess the fact that it happened to taste delicious yo me was just an added bonus.

          1. re: steakrules85

            What annoys more about that ribeye even more than the lack of size is the lack of flavor. You only get that musky aged flavor around the bone at Primehouse. When I get the ribeye lunch special at Benjamin's for 30 bux, that ribeye is the same size as the more expensive Primehouse ribeye but you also get that nice flavor all through the steak.

            1. re: SomeRandomIdiot

              I totally agree.... it just wasn't great at all. The one thing I will give them is they got a decent crust on the outside of the steak. I have had MUCH better ribeyes at Old Homestead, Smith and Wollensky, Del Frisco's (albeit kobe), Quality Meats (the double), Uncle Jack's (which is severely underrated). All of them dwarfed Prime House is both size and taste. I tasted a piece of my friend's ribeye at Peter Luger ( I only order the porterhouse of course) and naturally that was amazing also.

              At the other steakhouses I have frequented I have went with porterhouse (Keens, Strip House, BLT Prime) so I won't list them as it is unfair to compare two different cuts. But you get the idea. There are so many better options out there.