There is nothing more tempting and mouth watering than the smell of steaks cooking on the grill. Take a moment to bring up that memory. Imagine biting into that juicy meat done just the way you like it. That first bite is just the best with that crusty outer char and the juicy center. Add some sides like hash browns, sautéed mushrooms and the obligatory creamed spinach; a nice glass of red wine and you are in meat lover’s heaven.
Every true steak lover has found a favorite place to frequent. Once they find one they are pretty much settled into that place. This review is for those people that still remain uncommitted or seeking a place to call their own. A few of you are always on the prowl to find an alternative place as a back up plan. No matter what your reason, you will find Hollywood Prime a great place to for “meat eater fare.”
Located inside the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, Hollywood Prime is an extraordinary steak house. The décor is open with a high ceiling, wooden plantation shutters and very good acoustics, which means that the noise level is quite low. The lighting was low and soft, but more than enough to read the menu and see what is on your plate.
“Robert,” a very affable waiter is a 10-year veteran of Hollywood Prime serviced the table. He had the history of the restaurant down as he did with every menu item. His description of each menu items was akin to a great storyteller. You want to hang onto his every word. He did not use those useless words like “delicious,” “tasty” and “wonderful,” but described each dish by its ingredients, flavors and smells. He excites your palate in such a way that you can honestly call it “an experience.”
As I sipped on a great martini, Laura Romano, the General Manager and the restaurant’s sommelier introduced herself. I discussed all of Robert’s menu suggestions with Laura. She agreed they were great choices, but she was going to go one better and have the chef prepare a sampling for me to savor. She did not stop there; she suggested that a wine paring was definitely in order. Well, you just cannot argue with great logic. There is nothing like the taste of a pared glass of a wine to compliment each dish.
A service of sourdough bread was brought to the table. I am not much of bread eater (way too many carbs), but this bread seemed to call to me. It was crusty and airy, just like a good sourdough should be. That true sour dough flavor coming through that there was not need for a smear of butter.
The appetizer course consisted of a four-compartment plate with oysters, jumbo shrimp and lump crabmeat in each of the compartments with a half of lemon in the fourth. Three sauces accompanied the plate, but the seafood was so fresh, sweet and did not need any condiments to add flavor.
The next plate was a beef carpaccio with arugula, shaved Reggiano cheese and truffle oil. The meat was sweet, chilled and the perfect compliment to the peppery taste of the arugula and sharp and salty flavor of the cheese and that light hint of flavor brought on by the truffle oil.
The salad plate was the next plate that was placed before me. This was a tasting of a tomatoes & buffalo mozzarella with a drizzled of aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and basil along with their version of a Caesar salad on the other side of the plate. Hereto, you could taste the freshness in the tomato and the house made mozzarella, along with the crisp Romaine lettuce with a light dressing with fresh anchovies on top plus that sharp and salty Parmesan cheese.
For you foie gras lovers out there, I have great news; Hollywood Prime offers one of the best foie gras I have ever tasted. The taste was rich, buttery and very delicate. This was goose liver foie gras that was prepared on a flat top grill lightly sheared on both sides and served with caramelized pears, champagne vinaigrette, and port wine reduction. Laura pared this with a 2008 Royal Tokaji. This Hungarian wine is sweet and smooth. It perfectly cut the richness of the foie gras. If you never tried foie gras you need to start here. Believe me, this is not your mama’s liver and onions. You will love it!
Then came that aroma—that great smell of grilled steak sizzling on the plate. There sitting front and center were two plates—one with an 18 ounce bone-in rib eye and the other with a 10 ounce bone-in sirloin both a lovely medium rare.
The meat was so flavorful. Each piece was like butter melting in your mouth. The char on the outside of meat met my demanding palate. You can taste the dry aging in every bite. Each of Hollywood Prime’s meat is prime beef and aged for at least 21-days.
As if the steak was not enough, they brought to the table four giant Alaskan king crab legs with the knuckles. They were split and ready to pull out, dunk in the clarified butter and eat. This is Hollywood Primes version of “Surf and Turf.” The crabmeat was sweet and succulent.
Then there were the sides; a choice of creamed spinach with béchamel, jumbo green and white asparagus with hollandaise, salt crusted baked potato, white cheddar mashed potatoes, roasted mushrooms with beurre monté, broccolini, and yukon gold potato hash browns with truffle oil. You cannot go wrong with any of these choices. Especially good was the creamed spinach. The chef adds Chinese Five Spice to the béchamel. Typically, it is nutmeg, but the Five Spice gives that added the warmth of the combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel that you do not get with nutmeg alone.
Then came dessert. A paring of a their version of a New York Style cheese cake and a moulton chocolate cake. They were both very good, but nothing out of the ordinary. They did not have to be any better because you just do not want to outdo the wonderful meal that comes before dessert. I was so impressed with the meat, the crab legs and the sides that I did something that I never have done before in a restaurant review; I took home a doggie bag. Now if that is not a good recommendation, I do not know what is.