Monday, May 07, 2012

The Prime Rib

The Prime Rib has always seemed to us like a place to celebrate big milestones, like 50th birthdays and 25th anniversaries. It's elegant, it's fancy, and it's expensive*. But it's certainly not out of the question for a weeknight dinner, just because.

We went early on a Wednesday evening, when the restaurant was still pretty much empty. A good idea, it turns out, because by 7pm the place was hopping and it was loud. While it was still quiet, we had a good opportunity to take in the surroundings a bit. The Prime Rib is dark and elegant. Dark as in black. The walls are black. But combined with subtle gold details, subdued lighting, the famous leopard-print carpeting, and interesting works of art, the decor comes off as old school glamorous. Old fashioned, perhaps, but not at all stodgy. It's the kind of place where men should wear suits and women should be a bit dressed up. That was the rule once upon a time, but the restaurant has sadly relaxed its dress code to "business casual," which some people translate as "slob," unfortunately. There were still a lot of suits in the place, most on businessmen getting their drink on at the bar.

Anyway...on to the good stuff. First of all was our waiter. A 17-year veteran of the Prime Rib, Chuck was extremely attentive, friendly, and a big part of the success of our meal. Right off the bat, he felt like a member of the family, like someone who wanted to make sure we had a good time on our night out on the town. And we did.

We wanted to try as many things on the menu as possible, without breaking the bank. We started off with a crabcake and the oysters Rockefeller, which Chuck had split in the kitchen so we didn't have to make a mess trying to do so at the table. A really nice touch - the single crab cake we ordered had been formed into two minis, one for each of us. And it was delicious - moist, lightly seasoned, with undetectable filler. The oysters were nice, too. They were huge and meaty, only lightly cooked so they were very tender, and topped with a light coating of spinach and a hint of cheese. Not overwhelmed by topping, the flavor of the oysters sang out.

For our entrée, we split the Signature 26oz bone-in prime rib, which was deboned and plated in two pieces for us. We also chose the fresh corn off the cob and the famous Greenberg potato skins as our sides. The potato skins had been recommended by several people, one of whom was our neighbor, Paula, whose sister Helen is the Prime Rib's accountant. Paula told me that their uncle, George, had worked for the Prime Rib when it opened in 1965 and invented the skins. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, George did a good thing. The skin of a baked potato, especially when it's a bit crispy, has always been my favorite part. At the Prime Rib, only the skins, with very little potato attached, are fried until crisp and served with horseradish sauce and sour cream with chives. The effect is like a very earthy potato chip; they're really nothing like the "skins" sold elsewhere that are barely-hollowed-out potatoes.

The meat itself was nearly fork-tender, very juicy, and nicely seasoned. On the side was a pile of freshly grated horseradish, which added a nice punch to the meat. Between the sauce for the skins and the fresh grated stuff, I was in horseradish heaven.

I barely made a dent in my meat because, honestly, those giant oysters might have been enough for me. When Chuck came back with our doggie bag of  beef and potato skins, he told us he had added cups of horseradish and sour cream, plus a loaf of bread in case we wanted to make sandwiches with the leftovers. Other restaurants should be so thoughtful.

It's touches like that that make the Prime Rib worth the price of admission. Service is impeccable.

We left a little room for dessert and tried the house-made key lime pie, which was nice and tangy, and the hot fudge sundae. I had visions of Marconi's bowl of fudge, or even my favorite childhood sundae from Read's, but this was neither. While it was fine, the ice cream seemed a bit icy.

Overall, we had a fabulous time at the Prime Rib. The food was really good and everything seemed fresh - as in not glopped with heavy cream and butter in typical steakhouse style. Chuck was like a favorite uncle we're eager to visit again, and General Manager David Derewicz was amazingly generous.

*Our meal was very generously paid for by The Prime Rib, however, my opinion was not. Everything I say in this post I honestly believe to be true.

The Prime Rib
1101 N Calvert St
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 539-1804
theprimerib.com

Prime Rib on Urbanspoon


Posted on Minxeats.com.
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