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Restaurants & Bars 5

David Burke's Primehouse

Pugman | Apr 14, 200604:41 PM

I went for lunch yesterday; mostly very good. The Caesar salad prepared tableside in the old-school manner was excellent. Certainly the best I've had at a restaurant within the last 10 years.

The popovers served with flourish and an elaborate explanation were virtually inedible. The popovers at the Zodiac Room (Neiman Marcus) are to-die-for. So were the ones at Primehouse...but in a more literal sense. Something went wrong with the batch we were served (beyond simply just being way overcooked, i.e., burnt).

However, EVERYTHING else was good-to-excellent. My steak frites was tender and appropriately sized for lunch and the fries were perfect. The meat didn't quite have the mineral tang I expected, but it was still quite good. My only other gripe is that they still need to work on issues of pacing. There was way too long of a gap between salad and entree. I don't mind a slow pace at dinner, but they need to speed up the kitchen at lunch. Our waiter was terrific, however.

Comparisons to Shawn McClain's Custom House will be inevitable, because both are swanky, modern restaurants featuring a lot of meats and attached to boutique hotels. Custom House is a much more beautiful space and my friend--who isn't as picky as I am--feels that CH just seems more "fully realized" and mature.

Primehouse may be trying too hard to impress (gold leaf on the meatloaf and really "selling" the customer on how fantastic everything is). But, hey, it's brand-new and off to a mostly good start. The prices are actually quite reasonable, too: Caesar was $10 and plenty large enough to share. My steak frites was around $16. At dinner, even steak and lobster was only $42--a bargain given the location. The big steaks also seemed a bit cheaper than Morton's, for example.

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