Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Review: The Prime Rib

Here in Philadelphia, Center City district organizes an event 4 times a year or so called Restaurant Week.  Scores of restaurants participate and offer 3 course meals for $35.  The aim is to get people out who wouldn't normally go out to eat, and to get people into some of the pricier places at an affordable price.  The spirit of the week is great, but in reality, its very crowded, it's hard to get into the really good restaurants, and the food isn't always handled with the care and professionalism that it might be during a normal week of service.  At least this has been my experience at more then one place.  I have a friend from grad school who live outside the city and is always very on top of restaurant week- she always gets us a reservation and its a great excuse to get together with a group of friends, so we go. 

Her pick was The Prime Rib, a steakhouse in the Radisson Warwick hotel.  The restaurant is much bigger then I anticipated.  The ambiance is strange and a bit outdated- huge, towering fake-floral arrangements, leopard print wall to wall carpet, mirrored walls, live piano player, floral printed booths, tuxedoed waiters. 

We were seated promptly, which was a surprise, considering other waits we've had for restaurant week tables, but sat a long time waiting for menus.  We ordered wine and food.  When the wine came, the ladies were served but the bottles were left on the table for the men to pour for themselves.  I've never seen this before.  Menu choices were simple: house, caesar or tomato salad or soup, prime rib or flat iron steak (also available, chicken and salmon), and creme brulee, key lime pie, or chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
We all opted for beef: the flat iron steak was well prepared, and the prime rib was decent, although you could tell these were special "restaurant week" portions, the ones being served off the a la carte menu were bigger and looked tastier. The salads were simple but uninspired, and there seemed to a be strict crouton-portion control of 2 per person.
There is nothing I can specifically fault, but the overall feeling in food and ambiance was being at a catered wedding. Service was rushed but adequate as was the food, nothing to write home about. However when I go to wedding I expect an open bar and the meal to be free. Sadly, this meal at the Prime Rib cost about as much as your average wedding present, and there were no ugly bridesmaids dresses to make fun of.

Prime Rib on Urbanspoon

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