Prime and Beyond
90 E 10th St
(at 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Prime & Beyond is a steakhouse that originated in Fort Lee, NJ. In 2011, it opened its second location in East Village. Prime & Beyond is a traditional steakhouse with Korean accents. Actually, it has more than accents; it straight up has Korean bbq options on the menu. Cleverly, the guys from Prime & Beyond who inputted their info into Yelp categorized its initial NJ restaurant as “Korean.” There is a huge Korean population in Fort Lee (Wiki says Korean Americans accounted for 23.5% of the population in 2010) and it makes marketing sense to have the steakhouse under “Korean.” For the East Village location, where the crowd may be more diverse, it is categorized as “American (traditional).” Without looking at the menu first, you would assume that you are entering a traditional Smith & Wollensky-esque steakhouse. For once, I didn’t look ahead at the menu before going simply because I didn’t have time.
I immediately spotted Korean bbq influences after looking at the menu. In addition to tradition steaks, the restaurant has a short rib stew, kalbi (bbq short rib), bulgogi (Korean bbq beef), spicy pork, and for $5, will serve your steak with a side of Korean scallion salad (the kind that comes with all Korean bbq meals). After we placed our orders, we were immediately served a generous portion of salad with what tasted like a soy sauce based dressing. Free appetizers are a Korean tradition (aka. “ban chan” or small appetizers that come with any Korean meal you have in Ktown) so the free salad stood out at this steakhouse.
The next “Asian” thing I noticed was that after we had our salad and the waitress came by to swap out our plates, she brought along a napkin for each person to put their utensils on. I have always thought it was really strange that Americans put their utensils directly on the (potentially very dirty) table. I was happy to see that Prime & Beyond felt the same way about utensils.
Me, LAW, E.R., and A. Z. shared the Prime & Beyond Bacon Strips ($7). The bacon strips were 50% fat and 50% lean meat. The flavor was great, salty and smokey with a nice charred exterior in certain bites. Though, I must say that Peter Luger’s bacon smokes this bacon any day. The lean meat portion of the bacon was way too tough, almost like a jerky. It just didn’t melt in your mouth the same way Luger’s does.
LAW and I got the Brussels Sprouts ($7) (I am obsessed with Brussels Sprouts), which are not on the website menu. It must have been a seasonal option or a newly added menu item. Either way, I think they need to make some improvements to how it’s currently made. As you can see from this photo, the Brussels sprouts have clearly not been roasted long enough based on how tightly bound the leaves are. At the same time, the sprouts are also burnt… perhaps the temperature is too high. Regardless, this is the type of sprout I would make at home. Something you just drizzle some olive oil and sea salt over and throw into the oven. When I order Brussels sprouts in a restaurant, I expect it to be more like the one I had at Saxon + Parole. Those sprouts had attitude. They had a sweet chili caramelized glaze that complimented the natural bitterness of the sprouts. MmMmmmm… I got it. They should take off the baby strips of bacon and just toss those in with the Brussels Sprouts. Problem solved.
LAW and I shared the Dry Aged T-Bone (20 oz. $37). I’m not a huge meat person so it’s difficult for me to love a steak. This T-Bone was good but not great, mainly because I think I prefer more of a tender steak (porterhouse with more tenderloin please). I did learn to appreciate how MEATY this steak tasted. It was very … fragrant. The aftertaste after each bite was straight up reminiscent of delicious meat lingering in the air of a bbq or steakhouse. Sea salt was great. Scallions on top were great. Korean scallion salad is made with fresh scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, white vinegar, and sugar. I liked having the kick from the onion to complement the overly meaty steak. I had a bite of E.R./A.Z.’s wet aged steak and think I prefer that more. It’s more juicy and less “meaty” tasting.
LAW and I also shared the Kalbi ($20), which is a traditional Korean bbq short rib. For $20, we got a HUGE portion of meat. This is a really good deal compared to going to a bbq place in Ktown where $20 only gets you a few pieces.
The short rib was tender and flavorful. It came with a side of various pickles/kimchi and rice! Next time I come, I’ll definitely get this. This type of “steak” is more to my liking… thinner, flavored, and tender. I know, I’m clearly not a real steak lover.
The restaurant welcomes diners to visit their meat room in the basement. A waiter came down with us and introduced the aging process. E.R. had told me before dinner that this would be an option and it really sounded cooler than it was. The room is pretty small and rather than seeing gigantic sized meats hanging on hooks like at a real butcher, all we saw were neatly bound pieces of steak in a temperature controlled facility. Kind of cool, I guess.
I had an enjoyable experience at Prime & Beyond and am happy that a Korean family branched out from opening a traditional Korean restaurant to something a little different. I wouldn’t call this place fusion because its traditional steaks are truly American steaks.