Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 6, 2010 02:06 PM

House of Prime Rib?

After seeing this place on No Reservations, I put it on my mental list for the next time I visited SF. But is it actually good and worth the price?

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I love this place and think it is well worth the price, but I don' know that it would be on my list of things to try as a visitor. Many cities have the same idea available (Lawry's in LA for example) and it certainly will never be on the cutting edge of cuisine or even the most interesting thing you eat in a single day. However, the prime rib is always well cooked, there are a variety of horseradishes to suit any craved spice level, the creamed spinach is amazing and I adore the salad. I love the old school, it hasn't changed in 20 years vibe as well as the fact that my only choices need to be how much prime rib I want and whether I want my potatoes mashed or stuffed.
    So I would say it is definitely good if what you want is old school prime rib with all the fixings, nothing deconstructed or reimagined. The price of the prime rib includes the salad and all the sides which at a lot of places it doesn't so I have always felt that while it isn't inexpensive, it has a definite value.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Meredith

      HOPR is good...but as you mention, might not really be worth a stop since any decently sized city should have similar. I think it got on NR because of it's institutional status and the whole plug of red meat was sorta of an anti-SF dig by Bourdain.

      I like AB but that episode was a real turd. It would be like going to NYC, avoiding all the glorious high end stuff and going to Papaya King. Sure it might be good for what it is...but I doubt it's the highlight of NYC eating. AB also went to Red's Java place given it's location and history but the food isn't anything special in any's actually pretty crappy.

      That said, for the right occasion, I'd go to HOPR in a second...just not sure I'd make it a destination if I were traveling. If you do go, you'll have a fine meal there's just a lot more going on in SF.

      1. re: Meredith

        Yep. That recent poster who decided on HOPR, saying they had a great time at a similar restaurant in Boston and wanted a similar great time. I'm sure they'll enjoy their trip, but not even marginally unique.

      2. Considering it comes with sides, and even seconds on the prime rib if you want, it is quite the bargain. Especially when compared with the other steak houses in town.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Civil Bear

          Seconds on the prime rib????????????????

                1. re: sydthekyd

                  Now you have to request seconds, rather than being offered automatically. Your plate has to be clean. Not available if you order the smaller City Cut, only for the HOPR cut or King Henry VII cut. No doggy bag allowed if you get seconds.

                  Here's my post from a few months ago on some of the changes at HOPR.

          1. One of my "old school" husband's favorite restos (and I like it too.) The food is very good (ask for half the amount of dressing on the tasty salad, otherwise they drown it), warm lovely bread, good manhattans for $7 which come in their own shaker, old fashioned but very comfortable decor, wonderful wait staff. Even if you are a dedicated foodie, you will likely find something to love about The House of PR.

            1. HOPR does a very good business, for very good reasons. If you are thinking of going, you should make a reservation well ahead of time

              1. We went for the first time last April for a birthday celebration.
                It was fun but a little hokey. Felt like a Disneyland experience.
                The food was good, if a little bland, but we all enjoyed ourselves.
                I think by the end of the night we were all saying it was good to experience it, but probably not something we need to do twice.
                I did love the bar however. Totally old school and I'd go back just for drinks. They use the most adorable martini shakers, available for sale if you are so inclined. Fun bar snacks too.
                Harris' I would go back to, is that is any help for a point of reference.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rabaja

                  Okay, I went to HOPR! We arrived a bit late without reservations - not a good idea. We waited 2 hours for a table for 2.....yikes! Luckily we got a table in the lounge so waited comfortably with wine and chatted with other walk-ins in the same boat.

                  When we were finally seated there was a definite party atmosphere in the room thanks to our great waiter and friendly fun people at the tables around us. Rabaja is right - it was kind of a Disneyland experience. The food was very good (though after waiting so long we may have eaten anything!). The meat was perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth. When I got through it, I was asked if I wanted another piece. Did I want seconds??? I wanted it, but knew I couldn't eat much more. The one disappointing thing was they ran out of yorkshire. We gave them a (friendly) hard time over it. I mean, how hard is it to make another batch of yorkshire pudding? We are both yorkshire fans and were looking forward to trying HOPR's as it's something we never see on a menu. Oh well, it left more room for the rest of the meal.

                  Overall we had a great time. I know there are a million other amazing restaurants to visit in SF (I'll post my highlights of the rest of my trip soon), but we don't have anything remotely like this where I'm from. I simply couldn't resist the rolling cart of prime rib!! Would I go back? Probably not. Am I glad I went? Definitely. Thanks for the feedback before I went!

                  1. re: Dubby Jo

                    Thank you for reporting back. I went through a period where I ate there 6 times in a year. I still enjoy it but much less frequently. As with others I enjoy the old school prime rib, environment,+decor, strong martinis and Manhattans, and sides. The Yorkshire is excellent-- I can't imagine them running out: crazy! The creamed spinach and corn are pretty unsophisticated but tasty; by that time I'm usually too full to appreciate it, having loaded up on the salad, fresh sourdough boule+butter, prime rib and yorkshire pudding.

                    The price is very fair, as well.

                    I would only make a point of coming for out of towners if they specifically want this type of thing, and not as a San Francisco experience. That said, many people do seem to want this kind of experience, and your experience gives a lot of good context. Cheers.