This is a classic experience from start to finish – we had such an amazing time! It could have been the fact that the evening began our doorman at The St. Regis hailing the hotel’s gorgeous Bentley to transport us there (!). (Upon hearing we were dining at the House of Prime Rib, we felt we truly gained his respect.). And once there and through the doors, it was like stepping into a time before – very old school – probably has not changed one bit since it opened, and hopefully never will. From the Old English decor with its dark woods and brass, fireplaces, and white table linens – and the hearty, boisterous conversations that echo from each table – this is a place to eat, drink and be merry.
Upon arrival, we were escorted to the lounge and settled on a Manhattan and a Cosmo. Not only were our drinks presented to each of us in a generous cocktail glass, but we were each handed our respective shakers to top things up – and there was enough to do so not once, but twice!
With our drinks and shakers in hand, we were soon escorted to one of the dining rooms for the full House of Prime Rib experience. Starting things off with piping hot authentic San Francisco sourdough bread, we moved on to the next prime rib dinner* accompaniment – an awesome old-school salad – so refreshingly unfussy – spun in an ice bowl. Our server was friendly, jovial and knowledgeable and added to the pleasant, laid-back atmosphere. (*other than a fish option, prime rib is your dinner choice. They do one thing and they do it remarkably well!)
Now, the prime rib is not only the scrumptious centerpiece of the meal, it’s a bit of a show, or at the very least a mouth-watering spectacle. Aged for 21 days, the beef is wheeled out to your table in a custom stainless steal serving cart to keep everything hot, hot, hot – and allowing the beef to be carved in front of your eyes. As for my dining companion, he went for it – The Henry VIII cut which lives up to the legendary proportions of its namesake. I had the more modest (but still massive) House of Prime Rib cut. Both were prepared a perfect medium rare (and beautifully leaning to the rare side of things). Every bite was tender and so satisfying. And there were additional accompaniments – my beef came with a piping hot, gargantuan yorkshire pudding and a heap of fluffy mashed potatoes with gravy. Meanwhile for him – a fully-loaded baked potato (possibly stuffed with more bacon than potato).
This was all paired with a bottle of 2009 Bond St. Eden, a California Bordeaux blend from the strikingly-good wine list. The wine was dark with deep beautiful flavours that stood up well to the beef.
We ate. We lingered. We sipped. We even considered requested another slice of beef which was being done at tables around us – doled out like an extra morsel at family dinner. We lingered some more until we decided it was best to head ‘home.’
The House of Prime Rib was rather the opposite of many of our dining experiences on our trip and hardly the cutting edge, fusion, new world cuisine you might associate with San Franciscon, but perhaps because of this it stands out all the more. We couldn’t have ended our tour of the Bay in a better way.
As for you – just go!
House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco