Monday, April 13, 2009

Prime Rib : Philadelphia

Unlike my more international friends, who seemed to have grown up, gone to school and worked in separate countries and continents, my background is more boring. I was born in and spent 25 years not only in the U.S., but specifically in one state. I've of course done my share of travel, but at heart I still consider myself American through and through.

And yet one thing that has always puzzled me about this fair country is its focus on singular tastes in food. Of course, this is a massively over-reaching generalization (which obviously excludes foodies), but the fact that a restaurant like Prime Rib, continues to exist and seems to thrive in three cities no less, is beguiling to me. I simply do not understand the appeal of this restaurant and the school of thought behind it.

Roasted Tomato Soup - This was mysterious; after a split second, all flavor, whatsoever, dissipated. A magic trick? And for what purpose? Does the customer dislike the taste of tomatoes?

Prime Rib - I'm not sure why, but I've never really been a steak person. I like meat and I certainly like ingredient-focused dishes, but steaks have always left me with the reaction, "is this it?" And that was my exact thoughts upon eating this prime rib. It was bloody, tender and cooked like how I suspect my more steak-loving friends would have wanted a prime rib to be cooked. But it has always seemed to me that steak doesn't naturally have that natural complexity and intrigue in flavor or texture to be served by itself, especially not in the quantities, which are usually served. (I'd of course be happy to be proved wrong)

Mashed Potatoes & Creamed Spinach - "One-note" is the perfect way to describe these. I mean that the dishes feature only one particular flavor. Not only that, but natural occurring foods like fruits and vegetables have complexity and a progression temporally in their tastes. Here, it was as if all of these natural subtleties had been purposely stamped out to achieve a more singular oddly unnatural one.

Chocolate Mousse Cake - See above comment.

Creme Brulee - Also see above comment.

I don't know. I suspect steak-lovers will say I just don't understand the primal urges of sinking your teeth into juicy, bloody meat and have the sides play the very supportive role to the steak. Perhaps that's so, but I'd just much prefer the variation of flavors and textures of meat, say at a good Brazilian Churrascaria...

Prime Rib
1701 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 772- 1701

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