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Dylan Prime Revisited

Dylan Prime overall score: 95


I had been meaning to get back to Dylan Prime since I started this blog. I had a great steak there but the rest of the meal was just average. That was back in 2011. But now, they have a new chef, the place was renovated, and the menu is different. Check out the results:

Flavor: 10
This place remains a solid 10 for flavor. They have 1600 degree ovens that char up a beautiful crisp on the meat, locking in all those essential juices. Almost every bit of meat we had was perfectly cooked. And since I was with a group of 5 guys, We were able to sample all the major cuts: strip, filet, and rib eye. Check out the images (apologies for not getting a shot of the strip – I was too busy taking down a 42oz rib eye by myself):

rib eye for two
rib eye for two

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
The meats here are aged at least a month, and every cut is available in both single and double portions. The single cuts are boneless, the double cuts are bone-in. There was lots of delicious fat jelly along the edges of my rib eye that just melted in my mouth. Awesome. Only negative was a little bit of over cooking on the edges and where there was heavy fat content, but I guess that can happen with such thick cuts of beef. It is this exact problem that I was tempted to try to avoid by going with the rib eye for one. I view this as a cut issue rather than a flavor or cooking preparation issue. My suggestion would be for Dylan Prime to add something like a 22oz bone in rib-eye to the menu, that way there is some heft to the single cut, but also a bone to ensure added flavor and good inner cooking temps without over cooking the edges.

Portion Size & Plating: 10
Portion size has improved greatly here. At 16oz the single cut rib eye is still a bit small for a fatty like me, but since it is off the bone it is a nice size. The plating is great: elegant, but not overboard with the fancy bullshit. You’ll see in the app pics what I mean.

Price: 10
For 5 people we only ended up spending $150 a piece with tip included. That was a great deal. Check out the details below and you will see that the staff hooked us up with some freebie apps and sides to try out:

William Price
William Price

Bar: 10
The bars have remained relatively unchanged, but I bumped the score up because of the people working them. In the main bar, we had the pleasure of meeting a gent named Johnny Champagne (Champaign is the actual spelling, I think). No joke – that is his REAL name. It was like meeting my long lost, more elegant and clean shaven cousin. The group of us got to talking about old school rap and the music industry, of all things. Cool guy, and he was an excellent bartender. In the dining room there’s another small bar, where Nico mixes up concoctions for the diners. At the end of our meal, Nico brought out a really great flight of scotches that took us across the map of Scotland from smooth to peaty. He really knew his stuff, and if he ever finds his way to this page, I hope he checks out my write up of the whiskey advent calendar that we were discussing.

Johnny Champagne
Johnny Champagne
main bar
main bar
flight of single malts
flight of single malts

Specials and Other Meats: 9

There weren’t too many specials, other than some oysters from east and west coast. Lamb, chicken, pork, duck and even oxtail graced the menu as far as alternameats go. Quite a nice selection.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
We had a crazy array of apps and sides. I’ll give a quick description of each photo below, and then do a little explanation of the others that I didn’t get pics of.

First was a roasted bone marrow with old bay buttered toast and fried oysters. This was probably my favorite part of the meal. The bone marrow was like meat butter/jelly. Outstanding.

bone marrow with fried oyster
bone marrow with fried oyster

The shellfish platter was really nice too. Some big prawns, oysters, mussels with a chive cream (amazing), lobster, and crab claws.

shellfish platter
shellfish platter

My charred octopus was perfectly cooked, nice texture with the right chew and snap to it.

charred octopus
charred octopus

We also had creamed kale, which in my opinion was a little over-salted, but the texture was much nicer than the typical feel of gloppy creamed spinach. It had a little more substance to it without tasting like the usual shit kale flavor. The chef also hooked us up with some freebies, some of which were excellent, and some of which were just okay. The trotter baked beans were good and smokey, and had an interesting bread crumb crisp on top. The buttermilk mashed potatoes weren’t anything to write home about, but the cheese fondue mashed potatoes were stellar: another highlight of the meal (aside from the meat, of course). They reminded me of my mom’s mozzarella mashed potatoes. The chef also sent over a lobster pot pie, which I wasn’t a fan of. Some of the other guys liked it though. To me it tasted a little too much like half decent Manhattan clam chowder in a pie crust. The other low point for me was the brussels sprouts. They were a little too heavy on the vinegar for my liking, but, again, some of the other guys loved them. Sorry I didn’t get pics of all these delightful items.

Seafood Selection: 8
There’s arctic char and monkfish in terms of entree seafood items. The app menu, though, is where the seafood really shines here.

Service: 10
Cory, our waiter, was tremendous. He knew his meats, had great menu suggestions for us, and was really attentive and genuine. My buddy remarked that when I got up to take a leak, which took all of 30 seconds, my napkin was promptly folded for me for my return. Rob, the manager, was a real gentleman, and checked in on us here and there to make sure we were happy, and to shoot the shit with us. I had lots of questions for him about the restaurant transformation, and he was happy and eager to discuss it all with me. Great staff all around, from bar, to front of the house, to wait staff, to kitchen.

Ambiance: 10
I love the look and feel of this place. It’s trendy and new, but still manly and bold. The wood floors are amazing, and the high ceilings and thoroughly “Tribeca” walls are just gorgeous. They even added a cool little chef’s table which you can see at the entrance. It has a wall of windows where you can peek into the kitchen to see what’s cooking.

view from the chef's table
view from the chef’s table

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.