Setting the Table
Service is a specialty at New York Prime in Myrtle Beach, where since 1995 the luxurious restaurant has been serving U.S.D.A. Prime steaks and other choice classic dishes.
Designed like a New York steak house with bistro flair, the layout is one long dining room with tables close enough together that diners often strike up conversations at adjoining tables, if they’re so inclined. The elevated bar is up a couple of steps from the dining room but is part of the scene.
Dark woods contrast with crisp white linens, and napkins are provided in two colors to coordinate with diners’ clothing.
Front of house waiters at New York Prime are assisted by back waiters, and there are food runners and an imposing-looking head waiter who strolls the restaurant and gives cues to the staff on clearing dishes and bringing the next courses. You will not be brought the next course until you’ve finished the one preceding it.
The service staff wears either bistro-style jackets or white shirts and ties, and food is brought out on wheeled carts.
Down the Hatch
Knowing that the service will be impeccable, diners have only to relax and wait for delicious food to be served. The menu is not lengthy – it’s only one page – but each choice is memorable.
Seven appetizers ($9.50-$18.50) include oysters Rockefeller, shellfish bisque and oysters on the half shell. For some diners their vacations are not complete without the jumbo lump crabmeat appetizer, and shrimp used in the shrimp cocktail or baked shrimp dish are colossal-sized three-biters.
My son and I started with chilled beef Carpaccio, where prime beef tenderloin is shaved almost paper-thin and topped with green oak leaf lettuce, capers, shredded Parmesan and a drizzle of horseradish/grain mustard cream. No cutting is required; use a fork to scoop up the tenderness.
A breadbasket was complimentary and contained two slices each of freshly baked sourdough and cinnamon raisin. A slab of sweet butter came with it.
Four salads big enough to share are each $9.50 including Caesar, which is served tableside; chopped Italian with lots of veggies, anchovies, almonds and blue cheese; and hearts of lettuce with tomato. I had Beefsteak tomatoes and onions, which is two thick tomato slices and a slice of white onion with a pewter dressing boat of red “Brooklyn French” dressing on the side. For tomato lovers, these specimens are a treat.
For your entrée there are 11 choices priced $28.50-$99.50, and most of them are steaks. The two exceptions are sea bass and live lobsters ranging in size from 3 to 13 pounds, which are market price.
We went for the meat, which is the U.S.D.A. Prime attraction for our family. My son had a 16-ounce New York strip and I enjoyed an 8-ounce center cut petite filet mignon, and they were juicy, tender and flavorful. They’re served in a pool of herbed butter. More cuts include Delmonico, bone-in rib steak, Porterhouse for two, chopped steak and a glorious 14-ounce barrel cut filet.
In addition to serving top-quality meat cuts at New York Prime, the restaurant has a delicious preparation method that calls for aging steaks for four weeks and trimming off most fat – leaving just a little for the cooking process. When steaks are ordered, they’re seared in a 1700-degree Southbend broiler that produces deliciously caramelized exteriors with succulently juicy interiors.
Side dishes are a la carte ($7-$13) and are portioned in either individual or sharing sizes. They’re also classic steak house recipes including asparagus with Hollandaise, creamed spinach, Lyonnaise potatoes, hash browns, onion rings, sautéed onions, cheese mashed potatoes and one-pound Idaho baked potatoes loaded with fresh bacon, chives, sour cream and butter.
My 21-year-old son, a lifelong French fry connoisseur, received four “steak cut” fried potato wedges for his $7 order, and he said they were “excellent.”
Dining at New York Prime is not cheap, but you do get quality for the price. My classic gin martini ($9.25) with house gin was filled to the brim of the frosted martini glass, at the table, from an icy shaker. The wine list is extensive and full of premium choices, with several available by the glass.
Desserts are as classic and decadent as the rest of the menu with selections including vanilla cheesecake from Carnegie Deli in New York City, white chocolate banana cream pie, cinnamon apple walnut pie and triple-layer chocolate cake crusted in mini chocolate chips. They’re portioned big enough to share.
Our total bill for one martini, one glass of Malbec, one soda, one beef Carpaccio appetizer, one tomato/onion salad, one 16-ounce New York strip, one 8-ounce filet and one order of fries came to $163.53, not including the tip.
I can’t afford to eat here often, but when I do it’s always a pleasurably pampered fine dining experience. Feel free to dress up for a visit to New York Prime – you won’t be out of place – but people also wear jeans and casual collared shirts. Shorts and T-shirts, however, would be too casual.
New York Prime is known for its themed dinners, and they are a way to sample the fare at a discount from menu prices. The next one starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 29 when for $59 per person (plus tax and tip), the meal includes chopped Italian salad, an 8-ounce filet mignon with Lyonnaise potatoes and creamed spinach, and cheesecake. Four Robert Mondavi wines are also included in the price.
Becky Billingsley serves up fresh news daily at MyrtleBeachRestaurantNews.com.