Tag Archives: critique

Cattlemen’s (Long Island)

Cattlemen’s overall score: 54

Alright this is a low-rung steakhouse, but I figured I would write it up because it has been a while since my last review. During that time I have made business cards to drop at check paying time, so that waitresses, chefs, and owners can take a look at the blog and read my review for themselves. You may also be wondering why I am reviewing so many Long Island steakhouses and neglecting the NYC standards. The answer is that I have found a half-off coupon website through a Long Island radio station, and, well, why not? Blackwell’s and Mac’s are on the list as well. This place was close to home, and doable on a weeknight after a shit-bag commute on the shit-bag LIRR.
Flavor: 5
Flavor is kinda run of the mill here. I can make a better steak at home, but then again I am a pretty damned good cook. Seasoning was good, and I ate the whole thing, but it just wasn’t where it should be, especially if the establishment calls itself a steakhouse. They do offer original, house seasoned and marinated preparations, which is good to do in places that don’t have prime cuts. I had the double cut (14oz – lame and small for being a “double cut”) ribeye with house seasonings.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 6
Props to Cattlemen’s here, especially for a cheap-o place. They have all four basic steak cuts, along with a few sizes of each. Negatives: the double cut ribeye was a sad, pathetic, less-than-an-inch-thick 14oz cut, and it was boneless. Positives: they also do a skirt steak, T-bone (but why bother when the porterhouse is only $5 more?) and prime rib. The cuts are all choice grade, which is fine, but they are on the skimpy side. They DO have an 88oz ribeye steak challenge. Ahhhh John Candy. I will miss you. They have other challenges too – like a 5lb burger, and 10 insane hot wings in ten minutes.  Interesting. Where’s Adam Richman?
Portion Size & Plating: 5
Portion sizes ranged from small to average. As I mentioned above, the double cut ribeye was a sad, thin, boneless 14oz slice. It may have been better utilized sliced up and in sandwich form, with some spicy horseradish sauce and melted swiss. I’d hate to find out the size of a single cut steak at this joint. Plating is on par with Fridays – nothing fancy.
Price: 7
We came here to use a $35 gift certificate that we purchased online for $15. So right off the bat, my price rating is biased and skewed. However, two meals totalled $60 – including drinks and apps (drinks were cheap!). That’s right – our bill was $25, for all you math whizzes. We spent a total of $40 when you take the $15 we spent on the gift certificate into consideration. They even knocked off the appetizer for us since we waited a while and they messed up a side order. Down side: “shit you pay, shit you get,” as my dad always says. The price is low because the quality is low. You do get full, however, because you get a bunch of crap for your money.
Bar: 5
I can’t picture myself hanging out at the bar other than when waiting for a seat (which we did). It is a basic square bar with a jukebox and regular, standard beers on tap and bottles behind the bar. They do offer a house microbrew called Cattlemen’s something-or-other, but the bartender said it is a light beer. Overall this is the kind of place to drink a beer – not martinis or manhattans. Prices are good though.
Specials and Other Meats: 6
Cattlemen’s suffers from a slight lack of identity. They offer ribs, pulled pork, lamb chops, chicken, etc. They are a western-themed eatery, so maybe that is how it is done out west, but when I see “steakhouse” in the name I expect more chops and cuts rather than BBQ, among other things. Don’t get me wrong – I love BBQ – but the softest meat I want at a steakhouse is MAYBE a braised short rib or some prime rib (for chicks). They had some specials but no other steaks or chops than what is on the regular menu.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 5
To start we had the rattlesnake bites: minced shrimp and bacon with some bell peppers and cheese fried into shrimp-shaped discs. They were kinda heavy, but the chipotle mayo dip was nice. My wife had a house salad with “cusabi” dressing (cucumber + wasabi), which I thought was a really awesome dressing, despite being added to a bagged-lettuce quality salad (not a problem for a guy like me, but ladies like a fancy salad sometimes). For sides we ordered creamed spinach (creamy but may have been frozen), smoke pit home fries (sweet and heavy, with onions and bell peppers), fried onion strings (good), and sauteed mushrooms. The ‘shrooms came late because they gave us a mashed potato dish with gravy by mistake, but both were just okay – par at best. We skipped dessert since we weren’t that hungry and the food wasn’t wow-ing us. The good: you get two sides with your meal, and the portions are sized just right.
Seafood Selection: 4
They have a good amount of seafood selections – broiled salmon, tortilla crusted tilapia, several “gulf shrimp” preparations, and lobster tails – but we didn’t really like what we had. My wife had the combo with shrimp scampi, tortilla crusted tilapia and a lobster tail. The lobster tail was the only thing worth eating; it was cooked properly, and was sweet and juicy. The tilapia was soggy – not crispy as you would expect with a tortilla crusting. The shrimp scampi was rubbery, but at least not overcooked: a tell-tale sign of frozen items. Seafood was sub par all around despite the selections looking good on the menu.
Service: 5
The service was weird. First, we were told there was a 15 minute wait. I found that odd for a Thursday on Long Island. The dining room was maybe half-full at best, and they seemed to have enough waitresses. My only guess was an under-staffed kitchen. So be it. We had a drink at the bar and hung out. Other noteworthy issues: they brought us mashed potato instead of the sauteed mushrooms we ordered. No problem though, because they brought us the correct item when we told them. Later, however, it took a long time to get the check after asking for it. Maybe the gift certificate or the transfer of our drinks from bar tab to table check caused problems? Not sure. Staff seemed nice though.
Ambiance: 6
The western theme didn’t really seem corny until after we sat down and got our food. It doesn’t FEEL western in there. There are some wanted posters on the wall and some longhorns over the fireplace but that doesn’t transport the customer to the west. Especially when you are situated along Montauk Highway and the side windows open up to a nice outdoor area along a wide canal that leads to the Great South Bay. I think they should refocus their theme to something more like an ocean grill, and re-tool the menu. Make it smaller, offer better quality items, etc. The feeling you get when you look over the canal is nice, so they should work that into their theme and take advantage. Salt water + wild west does not compute. Weird thing: at 8:30 the jukebox kicked on and the lights abruptly shut down in the dining room, but then went back on at 8:32. Then the lights went back off at 8:35. Whatever.

127 Montauk Hwy.
Lindenhurst, NY 11757

Arthur’s Tavern (Hoboken, NJ)

Arthur’s Tavern overall score: 69

YES – I even review the “lesser” steak joints. There is a running joke that I am going to make a drunken, late night pit-stop at Tad’s before getting on the LIRR, and then write up a stellar review of it the next morning. That will surely throw off the non-locals! Tourists beware. Keep your eyes out for it – I WILL do it one day. Anyway – I hesitate to call Arthur’s a steak joint, and I don’t mean disrespect when I use the word “lesser;” Arthur’s tavern is just that – a tavern. But it has become well known to many NYC and NJ folks for its massive cuts of beef and man-sized 32oz beers. That said, it certainly deserves our attention.

Flavor: 6

I’ve been to Arthur’s about four times. For about six months I lived in Hoboken, so it became a nice comfortable place for huge beers and huge steaks at small prices. The flavor is okay. The steaks are fatty/gristled and only at choice quality without any enhancements, but they still taste pretty good. Hey – it gets the job done, right?

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 4

More of a pub in selection and atmosphere, Arthur’s really only has ribeyes and a sirloin. “Our Steak” is 24oz, for the light appetite (lol)… and the double is 49oz (be a man and get it). Those are some huge hunks of beef!

Portion Size & Plating: 10

Okay: MASSIVE. There – I said it again. If portion size is your thing, you will clearly not be disappointed. Again the ribeye is 24oz, the double is 49oz. Stomachs will fill. ‘Nuff said.

Price: 10

At about a dollar an ounce, or even less if you go for the double, Arthur’s is a steal. You would be hard pressed to find steak in the supermarket for that price these days. Eyes on the prize people: Arthur’s give’s you a lot of meat for your money.

Bar: 8

Arthur’s is a great bar; they are championed for their huge 32oz beers. When I lived in the area they were something ridiculously cheap like $4 (probably more now). Grab a 32oz Guinness and a 49oz Double Steak with a wedge of iceburg, and you are guaranteed to grow hair on your chest. Fuck it – you will grow hair on your damn fingernails; THAT is how manly you become.

Specials and Other Meats: 5

It is a tavern, people. What you see is what you get. They do have ribs, pastrami and corned beef though; I have never tried.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 6

To be honest, all I have ever gotten here were the steaks because they are so huge, with the exception of some sauteed onions and mushrooms, and also the iceburg wedge.

Seafood Selection: 4

I had to check the menu online, because I honestly didn’t think they had anything other than maybe some fried shrimp. As it turns out, Arthur’s has scrod, and shrimp scampi. Nothing fancy. But who the fuck is coming here to order shrimp scampi for dinner anyway? I’ll tell you who: pussies, losers, and quiff-bags. Get a steak, assholes. Some oysters or clams would be a good additon to the menu as appetizers, however.

Service: 8

The good people working at Arthur’s are friendly and fun. No complaints here, especially for the kind of place it is. The tables have these awesome metal bowls of pickled items: half sour pickles, cherry peppers, and slaw. I could eat this stuff all day, and the generous people over at Arthur’s are more than happy to keep them coming, bowl after glorious bowl.

Ambiance: 8

I love Arthur’s because there is no bullshit. The tables are covered with plastic red and white checkered picnic-style tablecloths. Everything is wood and has character. The music is fun, loud but not annoying, and the crowd can’t help but have a good time. My kind of place.

237 Washington St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030

21 Main (Long Island)

21 Main overall score: 85

21 Main is located on Long Island in the Sayville/West Sayville area on Montauk highway. In addition to being a steakhouse restaurant, they also sell various cuts of 28-day dry-aged steaks to take home and cook, retail, at reasonable prices.

Flavor: 8

I’ve been to 21 Main twice. The first time I ordered the 32oz ribeye, and the second time I ordered a strip, which was a special menu item. I enjoyed the meals, but, while both steaks were very good, they weren’t the best prepared meats that I ever had.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9

21 Main offers three of the four main four cuts in a few forms; some are 28-day dry aged prime, and some are 28-day dry aged certified black angus. These are top quality, and there are various portion sizes to fit each appetite. The back angus sirloin is similar to a strip steak, and they also offer a boneless ribeye (delmonico). Occasionally they have additional cuts on special, and they also offer a skirt steak and other chops like pork.

Portion Size & Plating: 9

Portion sizes at 21 Main are average to above average. The bone-in ribeye is a whopping 32oz; an extremely generous hunk of fantastic meat that clings to the end of a nearly full 12+ inch rib bone. When someone orders this, everyone in the restaurant turns their head and stares, appreciating the fact that they are graced with the presence of such manliness. Even the boneless ribeye is still at the 20oz mark! The other cuts are average/normal sizes, and plating is elegant but not obnoxious.

Price: 9

Out on Long Island, you tend to see some more reasonable pricing. At $45 for a prime, 28-day aged 32oz ribeye, you are getting a massive amount of majorly good meat for your moolah. Everything else on the menu is anywhere from $3 to $8 cheaper than comparable NYC steak joints.

Bar: 8

21 Main has a great and socially active bar that attracts locals even when they are not gorging on steer corpse. The room with the bar has a piano for live music as well. The bartenders make a good martini, and they offer several specialty drinks on their cocktail menu.

Specials and Other Meats: 8

I ordered a special steak cut off the daily specials menu on my second trip to 21 Main. They also offer chicken, a pork porterhouse, and lamb on the regular menu for losers who are afraid to man-the-fuck-up and order a real meal.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8

It has been a while since I was first at 21 Main, but I do recall the oysters being fresh, cold, and delicious. They even allowed us to add a wasabi foam to them despite the foam being listed as part of a different sashimi dish. The creamed spinach with crispy pancetta was delicious. The smoke and saltiness of the pancetta is cut nicely by the cream and makes for a nice balance. The calamari was nicely cooked in a very light, crispy, and firm batter. By far, though, my favorite side was the blue cheese potato croquette. If I wasn’t there for steak, I would have had a few of those bad boys. For dessert I had the creme brulee the first time, which was good, and a Baily’s shake the second time, which I sucked down faster than the oysters at the beginning of the meal; it was really incredible. My wife had the 21 Main Split, which was really yummy, but looked like a cock. Yes – a dick.

Seafood Selection: 9

21 Main offers lobster, salmon, tuna steak, and a variety of items from the raw bar menu as far as “steak from the sea” is concerned. If I recall correctly, there was also a fish item among the daily specials. Every manner of shellfish I can think of is represented, with perhaps the exception of the mussel (who cares), in some way shape or form, whether it is an appetizer or an entree. The only seafood item I tried were the oysters, however, and they were delicious.

Service: 9

The wait staff knows their meat well. They will press you for your preferences if you ask them what they recommend, which tells me they are looking out for the diner and not the amount of the bill. Without hesitation they allowed me to swap a mignonette sauce for a wasabi foam on my oysters appetizer, and they are very attentive to things like drinks. Table breads were warm and unique, and the butter was soft.

Ambiance: 8

21 Main is a classy joint. It is not a traditionally decorated steakhouse; it looks more like a fine dining type of restaurant. It essentially is a large, old home on a hill, with carpeting throughout, sheer white drapery, valet parking, and a view from the window that overlooks a small peaceful pond just north of Montauk Highway. There is additional seating upstairs. The crowd is mostly adults, although they do offer a children’s menu.

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.