The Prime Rib

The Prime Rib, with outposts in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, is rated the #1 steakhouse by Zagat in each of those cities, quite an accomplishment when the competition includes the Capital Grille, Ruth’s Chris and Morton’s.

But the Prime Rib is the perfect blend of excellent food, wine, service and ambiance. The atmosphere harkens back to another age when supper clubs were all the rage and dining out was an event. It’s more casual today, but the feel is the same. Dark walls and soft lighting lend an intimacy to the rooms and live piano music injects just the right amount of gaiety. Leather banquettes and leopard print carpeting complete the clubby décor.

Happy Hour is popular here and during our visit the bar was packed. Why not, when there’s $5 Stoli martinis and a $6 bites menu with deviled eggs, prime rib minis and Kobe pigs in a blanket. Great way to end the day and start the evening.

The menu is classic steakhouse with the usual cuts of beef, chops and seafood, but the prime rib was so perfectly cooked and so delicious that I have been dreaming of my return. Lamb chops were meaty and tender, Maine lobster bisque was thick and loaded with pieces of lobster and the mashed potatoes were creamy and smooth. All in all, when you need your beef fix this is the place to go.

The wine list is not particularly extensive by steakhouse standards, but has some good choices, a section of 30 wines under $50 (yeah!) and sections of underappreciated reds and whites. On the night of our visit, all wines under $200 were half price. We enjoyed a delicious Mettler Petit Syrah, priced at $63 for only $30.

Dark and sexy, this is a place for romance.

“Dean and Frank would dig” this Rittenhouse Square “carnivores’ heaven”“a step back in time” with a “retro dinner-club feel”, where “impeccable” servers bring out an array of “fabulous” steaks “big enough for three meals” while live piano plays in the background; you may need a “corporate expense account” for the bill, but “you get what you pay for”, plus there are “bargains” to be found at happy hour or on the prix fixe menu. ZAGAT