Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Un-Frugal Foodie: Prime Steakhouse

I apologize in advance for the photos but it is very difficult to get a good photographic representation of a meal in a dark setting. There would be have been no photos at all if my best friend, whom I will refer to from this point forward as Azurde (since she does have a name), hadn't taken them with her camera. Her Droid has my iPhone beat in low-lit areas since it has a flash. Anyhow, we went to Prime Steakhouse in the Bellagio last night for her birthday dinner, a restaurant owned by the reknowned chef Jean-George Vongerichten. I have eaten at his name-sake restaurant in New York so I was very excited that Azurde's mom, Loraine, and her boyfriend, Tom, invited us to experience the food here. My overall opinion would have to be that the restaurant was very good, but fell short in a few areas.

Az and I split two dishes, the Chilean Sea Bass served over braised mushrooms, poblano peppers and dill, and the special: a bone-in filet that was dry-aged 21 days. They served our meal first, which was a little disconcerting as it was split table-side. I was slightly cringing at the thought of the other dishes getting colder while ours was being prepared. The filet was terrific, perfectly cooked and juicy, while the sea bass was good, but rather un-inspired. The mushrooms underneath the seabass were superb, however, the poblano and dill were so mild the flavors never would have been obvious to the consumer. Mike, Az's fiance, ordered the roasted duck breast with almond crust and red wine amaretto sauce (pictured above). The crust was fantastic, but the duck was a bit tough. The best dish of the evening was ordered by Jan, Az's grandma. This was the rack of lamb with smoked chili glaze and broccoli rabe. The lamb was so tender and juicy, and the inherent flavor was fantastic. Obviously it came from a really good little lamb (I didn't start eating lamb again until a few years ago. They're pretty cute and very young so I was opposed to eating them for awhile, but apparently my morals have succumbed to the great flavor of lamb and my love for food).

As far as the sides, I would have to say they were hit and miss. The brussell sprouts were something worth going back for. They were roasted with just the right amount of char, and the use of pistachio nuts was ingenious. Execution = perfect. The sweet potato puree, which I swear also involved butternut squash, was superb, but the parmesean broccoli was painfully overcooked and the florets were cut too large for easy sharing.

All in all, I would say that Prime definitely uses great ingredients, and the food was solid, yet for the price I think one should demand more. I think this is a case of the talented, celebrity chef opening up a restaurant in Vegas because the $$$ is there (or rather, used to be there) and in the process reliquished a bit too much power to someone not as talented as themselves.

Tonight's Food Rating: 8
Ambiance: 8 (we had a beautiful view of the Bellagio fountains)

Rack of lamb

split bone-in filet and sea bass

me in front of the fountains, definitely more exciting in person

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