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Dec 5, 2011 09:56 AM

Prime Meats Report

We were able to get seated within 10 minutes last night around 7:30pm, as a party of four, and had an excellent meal.

Started with the Vesper Brett meat place. Absolutely adored their house-made landjager and the smooth, silky chicken liver pate. The pastrami calve's tongue converted a few non-tongue fans amongst us, and the housemade pickles were excellent, especially the red onion.

The handmade pretzels were pretty good too, served with room temperature butter and mustard. We also asked for an additional side of spicy mustard, which was good. I do prefer the pretzels at Cafe Katja and Sigmund more, though.

Unfortunately, the steak tartare was not quite as good. Served with parsley, anchovy, capers, shallots, Tabasco, Worcestershire, mustard oil & quail egg, the texture and taste of the meat was excellent but we thought the proportions were off. We were dining with friends who are frequent guests at Prime Meats, and they thought the steak tartare was too salty and had too many capers that night (but promised it was typically better).

For my main, I had their pork chop, which is going in my book as one of the top in the city alongside Torrisi and Babbo. Cooked perfectly, wonderful tasting meat. Very juicy and flavorful. I also chewed on the crispy edges of the bone a bit. Served with an apple cider gastrique, brussels sprouts, and a mix of local potatoes (including some purple ones). Great! I also tried a bite of my friend's Beef Sauerbraten & Braised Red Cabbage, which was good but not my thing.

Meanwhile, my husband devastated the Prime Meats Burger, eating the entire thing, and most of the fries, too. (OK, he had some help.) 1/2 lb. Creekstone Certified Black Angus, house-made sesame roll & fermented dill pickle, lettuce, tomato, onion & hand-cut French fries, plus he added blue cheese and bacon to the burger. I thought the texture and taste of the burger (cooked medium rare) was excellent, but the blue cheese and bacon were a bit unnecessary; the men of the group disagree vehemently. Apparently this is a burger that brings out strong passions amongst men! The burger was very, very good though.

We finished with the Mast Brothers chocolate mousse, served with whipped cream, and some crushed hazelnuts and salt, a nice, light(er?) end to the meal. And some refreshing Underberg bitters, as a digestif.

Service was great and very friendly. They even offered to charge my husband's dead cell phone! Cocktails were good, too, especially the Friend of the Devil. Smith & Cross, Carpano Antica, Cocchi Americano, Mezcal, Angostura bitters. All in all, an excellent neighborhood place, and crave-worthy (but heavy).

Prime Meats
465 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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  1. Thanks kathryn, we are heading there tonight!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Motosport

      Prime Meats was as kathryn said. Excellent "lumberjack" service, short wait at the bar, nice selection of beers.
      Interesting and tasty salads, sweet fresh oysters and the pretzel was a fun surprise that we all shared.
      Two of us got the pork chop which was "to die for" I ate every morsel off of the bone. The other two ordered the burger which was beyond excellent. We mixed and matched so everyone got a taste.
      My only issue is that the room is loud and not good for conversation. If you have romantic dinner in mind go next door to Frankie's!!

      Prime Meats
      465 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

    2. I've been nothing but upset with Prime Meats lately. The German style food is good, but their steak just isn't. I've ordered the rib eye for 2-3 the last 2 times I've been there, and I feel like I'm getting hosed. Fatty cuts, not a lot of meat, and more expensive than any steak in town. I went with some buddies a few weeks back and we dropped $173 on a steak for 3 (pre tax, pre tip) and were all righting over the bones after. Hardly any meat, tons of fat. I was almost ostracized for recommending such a "fail". Unless it's for schnitzel or a burger, Prime Meats is out of the rotation.

      Prime Meats
      465 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      5 Replies
      1. re: the_state

        I haven't been happy with Prime Meats either as of late, but for me it's mostly issues of service. It seems the past few times we've gone there have been botched drink orders (getting the wrong drink, or no drink at all) and sloppy, inattentive service. We were there over the weekend and the server spilled water on the table while pouring it into a glass, but didn't bother to either apologize or wipe it up. Also served a messy cappuccino that had spilled about a third of its contents into the saucer. I realize they are hella busy & it's a hard job to do, but usually a quick apology goes a long way.

        1. re: the_state

          The wait times that I kept reading about had always kept me away from Prime Meats but I figured a Friday night in August might make things smoother. We arrived at around 7:30 and were seated immediately in the front room next to the bar.

          On some other threads I'd read that a couple of people that said this place is good but didn't live up to expectations. That was my take as well.

          I went with a friend. We split the Vesper Brett to start. "Alpine tasting board with house cured bacon, landjager, chicken liver pate, pastrami calve's tongue, smoked maple ham and house - made pickles."

          Very, very, ordinary. Out of that line up the only things that were slightly above average were the bacon and pickles. I had expected much better given the hype about the house made charcuterie. Let me take a moment, because I never get tired of it, to quote the famous line from the NY Times interview with the Frankies in which they discussed Prime Meats charcuterie program -

          “The whole process, truthfully, will take a long time.” Mr. Falcinelli said. “The aged stuff will take a year to understand. Pâté will take a few months.”

          Sorry. It was fine but nothing special.

          My friend had the burger which he thought was pretty good. (I didn't sample it. My friend, while knowledgeable about food, is not a poster and asking him to cut off a bit of burger so I could taste it would have identified me as a lunatic.) The bun was way too tall and my friend had to squash it down before he could put his mouth around it.

          I had the pork chop. "Hampshire Grilled Pork Chops - Organic pork chops served with cippolini onion, squash & pickeled pepper jus." Contrary to the menu description it was a single chop but generously cut. They didn't ask me how I wanted it cooked and I left it to the kitchen's judgment. It arrived well done but juicy. The flavor was fine but I could have had this chop anywhere. None of the meat magic associated with the two Frankies was evident. While it's not a direct comparison, the smoked pork loin served at Trestle is *much* better.

          The prices were fair, maybe 10 to 15 percent less than market rate, and expectations aside I enjoyed my meal.

          OK, can I talk about the atmosphere now? Just for fun, I looked at Yelp before my visit. One of the posters there described the wait staff as "looking like gay lumberjacks." Spot on. Full bushy beards, suspenders, plaid shirts, rapier thin. One after another. It was like watching a fashion show in the back woods of Alaska.

          The crowd was annoying at best. Imagine a group of Williamsburg hipsters and then add 10 years and give them real jobs and some money. Some of them attempted the lumberjack look but the rest of them managed to look precious in their very own special way. I got the feeling I had stumbled into a cult clubhouse. They air kissed each other and frequently hugged friends. All their gestures were exaggerated. It made for good people watching although if I had been alone it would have been unbearable. Luckily I was with a friend who appreciated it. Snark galore.

          In his NY Times review Sam Sifton complained that Prime Meats was cash only. They have now joined the 21st century. They finally take Visa.

          I'd go back but I'd have to be in the mood.

          Prime Meats
          465 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Just out of curiosity, have you been keeping this review in your pocket for six months or was August a typo?

            Im torn on the value of descriptions of restaurants patrons - espcially after the controversial bay ridge comment on the recent blue ribbon thread - i do genuinely think that descriptions of servers (and, to a lesser extent patrons) can help us judge whether or not we want to spend our dining dollars at a place, but im not sure im comfortable with how quickly these devolve into ad hominem character attacks based on stereotypes (clearly it is much more acceptable to stereotype the aging hipsters of brownstone brooklyn than what i assumed were veiled ethnic stereotypes of guidos from bay ridge). I have a perfect picture in my mind of the people you describe filling the room, and i agree, being surrounded by the type can be obnoxious, but do you not hug friends? (i guess that part, in particular, stuck out).

            Thanks for the info on taking cards - cash only is fine with me but at places where the bill adds up, it makes for occasionally annoying/awkward interactions when it comes time to pay.

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              I wrote the review on another board and meant to post it here too. When this thread popped up it prompted me to do some cutting and pasting.

              I posted about the food first - the descriptions of the patrons are a bonus, separate and apart from the food commentary. Restaurants are a composite of a number of things. Decor, location, pricing, food quality, and yes, the crowd too. You mentioned that "being surrounded by the type can be obnoxious." I feel the same way. I figured that would be good information for people who haven't been to the restaurant yet.

              On to the hugging behavior you mentioned (I wouldn't want to leave that out.) Yes, I do hug people I haven't seen in a long time. I define "long time" as 5 or 6 months, not 5 or 6 days.

              1. re: Bob Martinez

                totally fair, thanks for 'splaining. maybe the hugging thing is generational (whatever it is, its definitely not about food so ill keep from speculating more).

        2. Any updated experiences on Prime Meats? I'm thinking of taking my Grandpa here on a visit around Christmas time and would love to hear about recent experiences. Is the pork chop still the bee's knees?

          Also, I see they open at 4 on weeknights and on weekends. This may sound odd, but has anyone eaten there that early? Is the service/food up to par or does it suffer based on the shift just beginning? I've had some bad experiences with early dining in NYC so just though I'd ask.


          2 Replies
          1. re: ndukka562

            Just a silly question but will your Grandpa be adjusted to the NY time zone? He may want to eat LATE rather than early if he has not. On a recent trip to SF we grabbed the earliest seating we could because we literally could not stay awake til their normal dinnertime. If hes on his way back from Europe, well thats a different matter.

            1. re: jen kalb

              He's coming from CA, but will very quickly get back into his routine (wake at 5 am, lunch at 11, dinner by 5). I just know that I have had several experiences in NYC going to establishment that are not ready to serve at the time they say there are open and want to know if Prime Meats is such a place.