Described by one enthusiastic customer Portland Prime steakhouse is a “classy downtown gem.” We agree and throw in that on Saturday evenings it also becomes a jazz jewel as well.
Situated on Third Avenue, almost across from the ever ridiculously popular Voodoo Donuts, on the ground floor of the Embassy Suites hotel, the restaurant draws not only hotel guests but also savvy Portlanders who know that their steaks are as good as many of the pricier eateries nearby. Their joyously marbled prime steaks, aged for 28 days, headline their food fare and, like any great steakhouse are served “to temperature” not “still pink inside” rareness.
Some of the stars include the Prime Baseball Cut Sirloin with house-made demi-glaze that serves up a home run, a Filet Mignon you could cut with a plastic spoon, and a mouthwatering New York Steak au Poivre that is lightly crusted with a pink and green peppercorn and cognac sauce and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
But not just steaks shine on their menu, some of their other protein offerings; appetizers, side dishes and oh-so-calorically-wonderful desserts deserve spotlights as well. Their Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna Steak is crusted with a peanut-sesame crust, and is so tender and rich in flavor we declined the very-tasty plum sauce, which comes along for the ride. The tower presentation of their Pan-Seared Sea Bass, served with roasted red pepper polenta, mixed vegetables with a citrus champagne and pink peppercorn cream sauce is amazing to look at and amazinger to eat.
And, lest we forget our porcine friends, Prime’s House Double-Cut Pork Chop from legendary Carlton Farms is fire-grilled and served with a Milanese-style pan-seared egg, mascarpone caper and Roma tomato cream sauce and the house standard whipped potatoes with caramelized garlic and herb boursin cheese. Also on the menu are braised beef short ribs, flat iron steak, luscious and very popular Prime Rib and a very large and tender braised lamb shank.
Wild Diver Scallops, Pacific NW Salmon Fillets and Dungeness Crab cakes fill out their marine-harvested entrees.
Appetizers include a Tiger Prawn Cocktail Trio offering up three variations of shrimp, one perched on a glass of classic cocktail sauce, the second in a zippy shoyu and sesame sauce with wasabi, and the third akin to a Bloody Mary shrimp shooter, and a unique presentation of Calamari Fries brined in buttermilk and tinged with five-spice powder and served with a ramekin of chili, cilantro and citrus dip.
Memorable side dishes include several legends of their own design: Tufffled Macaroni and Cheese, Creamed Corn with Shallot Bourbon Butter, and way-over-the-top Blue Cheese and Shaved Parmesan Au Gratin Potatoes.
Desserts feature local berries and fruits and an excellent molten chocolate cake. The Peach Cobbler in a sugary-crisp crust vanished in a near-tie with the Caramel-Drizzled Bread Pudding and it’s sliced strawberry-whipped cream entourage.
Very much a steakhouse fashioned after the days of yore the dining room is long and narrow and is separated from the very-popular Prime Bar by a private dining room (seating 36) that functions as a wine room with two walls consisting of fine wines in wooden racks. Speaking of wine the restaurant has a state of the art barrel-to-tap wine system featuring four Pinot Noir wines produced exclusively for Portland Prime in the Willamette Valley in addition to a wide spectrum of wines including a Reserve Wine List that offers up vintages from $75 to $280, with several magnums near the $500 dollar summit.
Oh, and about the jazzy note in the lead, Prime shines its own spotlight on the locally-famous and nationally-recognized Mel Brown Trio every Saturday evening from 7:30 to 11pm. Restaurants hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30am to midnight, and Sunday from 11:30am to 10pm.