I’ve never been a fan of big steakhouses. Maybe it’s because my soul was drained when I worked at Del Frisco’s for years, but I just don’t feel like I fit in with the white table cloths and the excessive spending and gluttony. It’s about power just as much as it is about the food.
That’s why I was really excited about Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens. It’s owned by the same people who run the Italian bistro Frankie’s 459, which is just a few doors down. The steak house is a little (seriously, they have like six seats and one long bar) German style steakhouse that feels like it’s been pulled from the turn of the century (and not 1999!). The waiters are all well-groomed, tall, lanky and with seemingly uncomfortable facial hair.
We arrived early on a Monday night because I know how crowded this place can get and since they have very few tables for now (they’re in the midst of adding an adjacent dining room), I didn’t want to be turned away. After a drink at the bar (which strangely has no place to sit), we got sat in a dark corner. This was eons away from all those big crowded steakhouses in Manhattan (about 200 years, to be precise)
I found the mix of hearty German dishes (spätzle and sausages) and American steak house fare a bit strange. It’s just not something I was used to, but I was more than willing to go with it.
Now I already posted about the housemade pretzels here but the other list item we had to consume was the steak frites. It was a charred 12 ounce strip steak with homemade fries and a chimichurri sauce. Chimichurri sauce? That’s not American or German. It’s an herby garlicky green sauce originating from South America.
I do need to say that strip is not my favorite cut. I much prefer something like a flank steak or a filet mignon. I like leaner, more flavorful cuts. But I know in the steak world, the strip and ribeye are prized for their high marbling (distribution of fat) and considered the most flavorful.
I disagree and the lack of flavor in this rather tough steak frites supports my stance. Firstly, it was definitely cooked to a medium when we ordered it medium rare (I blame the chef more than the waiter). Regardless, the steak lacked much seasoning and I really had to pour the chimichurri sauce on. With a good steak, you shouldn’t need any sauce. And this wasn’t a bad steak, but if I’m going to surrender to another steak house, I need to be wowed. I will say the $23 price tag for a 12 ounce steak in New York is almost unheard of I can see people flocking here just for a bargain.
Would Prime Meats’ Steak Frites make my Top 100 of the year? I bet I would have loved it if it was a flank or tenderloin, but the strip was over done and tough and the flavorful chimichurri sauce only helped a bit. A 5 out of 10.