Tag Archives: critique

Dylan Prime

Dylan Prime overall score: 81

This review has been updated. Click HERE for the new review.
First, I’d like to thank Tom for picking up the bill. That was really generous; thank you for a great meal with great company.

Flavor: 10

Friday was my first time eating at Dylan Prime in TriBeCa. In all my years of living in the neighborhood, I am surprised I never tried it before I moved out. My ribeye was DELICIOUS. I had a few bites of the filet as well, and it too was equally mouth-watering. Two guests I was with tried the strip; they said it was delicious but I did not have a bite. Dylan Prime manages to get a really crispy coating of seasoning across the entire steak that really adds texture and flavor to the meal; we all experienced this and commented positively on it. The ribeye had at a few distinct flavors as I worked from one end to the other. One area was gamey; perhaps it aged differently in that section, causing it to have a varying flavor. Usually I don’t like gamey flavored red meats, but this was interesting; I welcomed it. The majority was just a really delicious buttery-fat ribeye flavor, perfect in almost every sense (missing the mark a bit on portion size, and no bone-in options). I ate every ounce of it – even the fatty parts were good; it was the kind that melts in your mouth and isn’t chewy. Great job on the steaks, Dylan Prime, and that is what really matters in the end.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

The main 4 cuts (strip, filet, porterhouse, and ribeye) are all represented on the basic menu, however they did not offer various ages, and everything was boneless (except the porterhouse I imagine).  They offered two sizes for the filet and strip, but we all agreed that the cuts were a little on the small side. The porterhouse for two was only 35oz; maybe they are trying to make America thin by limiting portion size or some other garbage. Other meats are represented, like lamb, as well as skirt steak, hangar, short ribs, and a very enticing “bacon chop.” Top marks for variety and quality. I only took a point off for lack of aging choices and larger cuts.

Portion Size & Plating: 7

The portions are slightly smaller than usual. The ribeye was 14oz (boneless). It is possible that the steak started out larger and lost size in the aging process, but 14oz is a bit small for a ribeye. I maintain that the ribeye portion should be around the 20oz mark. The other cuts were slightly on the small side as well, but the filet was average sized. What Dylan Prime lacks in portion size, however, they make up for in taste. Appetizer portions were small as well (see below), but dessert was normal or above average in size.

Price: 8

I can’t take too much off for price, since, thanks to Tom, I only spent money on drinks at the bar while waiting for some of our party to arrive. But, as an objective observer, the price seemed a bit high for the portion size, but close to spot on in terms of quality.

Bar: 9

Dylan Prime is essentially cut in half; the right side is the main dining room, and the left side is a large bar that is not overtly or obviously integrated with the restaurant. The two areas feel like two entirely different places. I am on the fence about whether that is good or bad right now, so I won’t let it alter my scoring. A hallway at the entrance connects the two areas, and behind the hallway is the kitchen, which can be observed from the end of the bar. Drinks were pricey ($80 for four gin martinis and two beers, including tip). The martinis could have been filled higher in the glass, but they were made properly to our liking (Beefeater, up, very dry, with olives). Behind the bar was an interesting shaped set of shelves that looked like the hull of an old wooden ship displaying the high end liquors, of which they had a good selection. Tables adorned areas near the large, TriBeCa streetside windows, and the full restaurant menu (steaks and all) seems to be made available to bar patrons regardless of where they sit. There is also a small bar in the dining room, but we did not sit there or look it over very closely. It is likely meant to service the dining room only, allowing the main bar to act seperately as a traditional street bar/pub rather than a restaurant bar.

Specials and Other Meats: 10

As mentioned above, Dylan Prime offered a good selection of other items; both in terms of red meat and other dead animals gloriously killed in sacrificial service to the divine sustenence of men. The Colorado Rack of Lamb was enticing, as were the Bacon Chop and hangar steak options. Our waitress, although not very knowledgeable about meats other than ribeyes being more fatty than filets, did offer us some other specials that were not on the menu. We roundly rejected them in favor of the main four meatstays of classic carnivore cuisine.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6

We ordered the pork belly tater tots, the miniature beef wellingtons, mushrooms, and the creamed spinach to go with our meal. The tater tots were more pork belly than tater tot, which was good, but I would have liked a little more of that tater tot texture that I expected upon reading the description. They were good, don’t get me wrong; served with a nice (what I think was) corriander flavored BBQ sauce (which, on some bites, had a bitter taste since the corriander/cilantro [if that was the flavor] was likely cooked in the sauce rather than added at the end as a garnish or aromatic). The creamed spinach was small and not very creamy or flavorful, especially when you ate it alongside the steak, which packed so much incredible flavor. This is one pace where you can skip the creamed spinach and go with something less traditional. Speaking of traditional: I was in the mood for oysters.  To my disappointment, the only ones I could find were stuffed inside a filet and called a “Carpetbagger Steak.” In fact I didn’t see any shellfish for appetizers aside from shrimp and a crabcake. The mushrooms were good but nothing memorable. The mini beef wellingtons may have been good, but I wouldn’t know. The moment I popped one into my mouth, the skin on the roof of my mouth was scorched off and left bare and bloodied. They were served to us WAY TOO HOT; points off for that. At a restaurant of this caliber, nothing should damage the eater except for maybe a hot plate holding the pre-sliced porterhouse (which is reasonable since it comes from under the broiler many times). I was lucky to taste my steak afterwards. For dessert we all shared a creme brulee, which was very thick and creamy, cool and refreshing, and large in comparison to the portions of other items on the menu.

Seafood Selection: 7

Salmon, tuna, and a surf & turf meal (no lobster by itself) seemed to be the main seafood selections here at Dylan Prime. As mentioned in the appetizer section, they were slim on the shellfish appetizers. If I recall, there was also a seafood item read to us in the specials.

Service: 7

Our waitress didn’t seem to know her meat the way you sometimes experience in other steak joints. She was good and attentive though, of course, but seemed to recommend the strip simply because it was the most expensive. As mentioned earlier, the mini beef wellingtons were extremely hot and burned my mouth to shit. I am still tonguing the smooth, bare skin on the roof of my mouth. I score that as a service issue as well, since the cook on the line should not have let it leave the kitchen at that temperature. On the table, we received an interesting dinner roll that tasted and looked like a soft pretzel, however it, along with the butter, was cold. Table breads should always be warm, and the butter should always be spreadable.

Ambiance: 8

The lighting is dim, more like that of a romantic restaurant than a traditonal steakhouse. The dark wood floor was beat up like the character of a pub floor, but everything upward was nicely decorated and elegant. The music was a mix of hits from yesterday and today. We were there on a Friday evening, so the dining room was full, loud and packed with a crowd that ranged from families to groups of friends and after work folks. The bathroom smelled clean and was adequately ventilated; it even had those nice, thick paper towels that you can probably use to clean up an oil spill. The neighborhood is really amazing, though the specific location is quite isolated.

Primehouse NYC

Primehouse overall score: 91

NOTE: This restaurant is now CLOSED.
Primehouse is a BR Guest restaurant. My wife and I have gone to the NYC location on Park & 27th several times. Overall this was one of my top three favorite steakhouses in New York, but things have changed much since they first opened.  
Flavor: 10
In all my years of devouring animal carcass, Primehouse is one of the best steakhouses I’ve been to in terms of flavor. The seasoning is just right; you never need to add salt, pepper, or sauces to the meat. They seem to take pride in the simplicity of the ingredient and do extremely well at showcasing it in a pure form. This seems to be the case with most BR Guest restaurants I’ve been to as a matter of fact, whether it is steak, BBQ or seafood.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
The main four cuts (strip, filet, porterhouse, and ribeye) are all represented on the basic menu, often in several sizes and forms, such as bone-in or boneless. As the name of the restaurant suggests, they use prime grade beef, most of which is already aged. Occasionally they offer cuts of meat not listed on the menu, such as special aged cuts, but there is an amazing selection of aged meat on the normal menu. I’ve tasted their 40-day aged ribeye, both bone-in and boneless filets, and the bone-in strip; all were fantastic. This place wins the prize for the best filet I have ever tasted to date. On top of having the basic four cuts in several varieties, they also offer alternative cuts like the hanger steak, as well as other types of meat.

Portion Size & Plating: 9
The portions are normal to above average in size. The “real” steaks hover around the 20oz mark, where they should be. The bone-in filet is massive. Plating is simple, but elegant.

Price: 8
Primehouse can be pricey if you go for the better cuts, but you get a lot for your money, and the quality is fantastic. You WILL NOT leave hungry. The food is well worth the price. The fist time my wife and I went, they offered a $75/pp three course tasting which included a slightly smaller sized appetizer, a petit filet, and dessert. In reality it was more like a four or five course tasting because they brought over complimentary bite-sized samplings of their side items and other things the chef was experimenting with. We try to go every time they offer specials like this, since you save a lot of money and still get all of their best food, but unfortunately we haven’t seen it offered much anymore in the past couple of years. Times are tough.

Bar: 9
Primehouse has an amazing bar food menu. A few times we were tempted to skip steaks and just sit at the bar and snack on pork belly all night. They know how to mix a drink too, and the martinis are always made well. Not too sweet, not too strong, most of the special drink menu items are unique and refreshing. Great selection of wines, scotches and special cocktails. This is a place you can definitely hang out in. Several large TVs adorn the high-ceiling bar area, and the large windows offer a view of Park Avenue for people watching.

Specials and Other Meats: 8
I’ve really only ever saw chicken and veal on the menu, other than beef. I’d like to see some lamb preparations, or a braised short rib. I know this place can do a great job on those, despite primarily being a place for steak. As I said above, the meats on the regular menu are already pretty damn special, but occasionally the waiter will read off some things that are not on the menu.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
On the appetizer angle, the big eye tuna tartare is probably the best preparation of tuna I have ever eaten. The table-side ceasar is amazing, and so is the carpaccio, and all are good sized. The crabcake was a bit small, but still tasty; I think it was small because the time I got it, it was from the special $75 prix fix tasting menu, where portions tend to be smaller. The tomato bisque was really tasty and smokey. It came with small squares of grilled cheese cut up in the empty bowl, and the server poured the soup into the bowl tableside. Primehouse offers a great selection of raw oysters and shellfish towers that will feed more than one person. For the sides, I wasn’t impressed with the potato-based items (I’ve tried the lobster whipped, duck fat hash browns, and asiago fries), but the creamed spinach and grilled asparagus are great, as are the green beans and mac & cheese. For dessert, the box of doughnuts is absolutely amazing. They are fresh homemade doughnut holes topped with cinnamon and sugar, and they come in a brown Chinese-food container box with a few bottles of “fillings” that you squirt into the doughnuts. Other than a generously filled flight of bourbons or a single malt scotch, that is all I have ever tried for dessert. My wife tried a chocolate souffle once and said it was good. Fuck chocolate – I can’t eat much without getting sick of it. The cold items are good to cleanse the palate.

Seafood Selection: 8
Aside from the multitude of shellfish and seafood in the appetizer section, Primehouse offers a few basic preparations of the standards like salmon, tuna, sea bass, and of course lobster. I’ve never tried, but they look delicious, and the selection is about normal for a steakhouse menu. The seafood towers on the appetizer menu could also substitute as a meal. The smaller “flatiron” size came with four oysters (raw), two clams (raw), half a lobster tail, a lobster claw, a king crab leg, a dish of salmon tartare, about a dozen mussels, and homemade potato chips.

Service: 9
Primehouse is not a traditional style steakhouse with an all-male staff. The waiters/waitresses all know their stuff. They will suggest a less or more gamey steak, or a milder aged steak, if you explain what you like and dislike. They are not out to get you to buy the most expensive item on the menu; they are concerned with making you happy. They are on top of the bread and water refills, and the refreshing of booze. Worth mentioning here is the bread served with dinner. Freshly baked, warm, square bagels – some plain but naturally salty, some with chopped calamata olives inside. And the butter is whipped and soft, easy to spread – not hard like it just came out of the freezer. I could eat these all day. Tableside items like the salad and soup engage the diner in the culinary experience. Occasionally my wife and I will make reservations for special occasions online, and, if you tell them it is your birthday or anniversary, they will sometimes bring over a complimentary box of doughnuts for dessert, a pair of champagne flutes or a small cake with a candle and some writing on the plate. They know how to take care of their patrons. The only down side is that in recent months or the last year or so, some of the nice perks about this restaurant have started to fade away, like a free dessert or drink if you make anniversary reservations, the complimentary tasting-sized sampling of special items or palate cleansers between courses, or the olive square bagel (now they seem to only serve the plain, which is still delicious – don’t get me wrong). This is probably due to the recent economic downturn and its impact on the rising cost of food items, so it is understandable in that sense. A business still needs to make money, right?

Ambiance: 9
Although Primehouse is not a traditional, wood-grained, Rockwell-print-adorned, tavern-like classic “steakhouse” restaurant, I still give it surprisingly good marks for ambiance. Don’t be fooled by the initial appearance of a club or lounge atmosphere. No one is rude, the music is a comfortable volume and a mix of things everyone knows, and the vibe is relaxed; no dress code. The floor is an amazing nod to the mod stylings of the 60s, with bold black and white circles embedded in the tile. High ceilings make you feel light and not so weighed down by the massive meat wad that sits in your stomach as the meal progresses. The crowd is hip and trendy, but not pretentious like some places in the city. It attracts after-workers, young people, as well as daters and birthdayers. Bathrooms are clean and spacious, flatware is clean, white and non-traditional/interestingly shaped, and silverware is robust and modern. Overall Primehouse is a great change-up from the typical steakhouse feel. I was pleasantly surprised, and now I have grown to love it, even though my meat bone still belongs to the classic steakhouse decor.