Friday, January 28, 2011

Prime Meats Review

On a chilly Sunday night, after a show at St. Ann's Warehouse, a friend and I tried to get in for an early dinner at Vinegar Hill House. But not early enough alas —it had just filled up and it would be an hour wait. Taking advantage of my friend's car, we decided to try Prime Meats instead. We called ahead to see if there would be a wait and were told there wasn't at that time, but that that might change by the time we arrived. It seemed a bit unnecessarily couched as the place was mostly unoccupied when we arrived and never totally filled up by the time we left.

Prime Meats was dark and rustic, a good spot to hunker down and provision ourselves with some heavy wintry foods. There's been much talk of these no-reservations, long-waits restaurants; we might have had the cold weather to thank for being able to slip in easily.

Although my dining companion requested that the white bean and cabbage soup she ordered come to the table with my main course, it came at appetizer time. Not the worst offense, but it revealed there was some lack of attention, despite the fact that they were attentive to our water glasses. The soup was a nice roundly flavored broth filled with beans and strings of cabbage.

I loved the smoked trout salad — house-smoked trout, spelt crepe, pickled red onion with horseradish & quark dressing & local greens — so chunky and satisfying in its fishiness. This city doesn't serve nearly enough trout on its menus.

The beef sauerbrauten and braised cabbage was an unusual choice for me. But the slow braised brisket in red wine, vinegar & juniper berries seemed interesting and filling. I was most intrigued by the pretzel dumplings. The slices of beef were tender and had the flavor of the sauce it was soaked in. A huge mound of pickled cabbage was a good contrast. And I really liked the pretzel dumplings, which were sort of like mini latkes — made of pretzels.

The dessert offerings were limited to just three simple standards (apple tart, chocolate cake, creme brulee) that were easy to resist. We'd gotten what we'd come for and left happy.

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