Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Prime Grill

Let's Meat in Abq:  My son recently turned 30!  On one hand, this is the natural turn of events, or at least the way we want events to naturally turn.  On the other hand, this is a miraculous occurrence with no parallels in the known or unknown universe.

What to do?  Celebrate!  How to celebrate?  The way Jews traditionally celebrate: by eating!  Since my son lives in NYC and loves to eat meat, I could think of no better place to eat than The Prime Grill on East 49th Street.  And since my son is (kayna hara) engaged to be married to a beautiful and intelligent Jewish doctor (yes!), the two complete nuclear families (that's eight of us) met in Manhattan last week for a delightful meal together.

I showed up, tired, cold, and thirsty at the bar at The Prime Grill at 5:00 pm, planning to enjoy one or more single-malt Scotch whiskies from their excellent selection.

Why was I there at 5:00 pm, when our dinner reservation wasn't until eight?  Because MOMA closes at 5:30 on Thursdays . . . but that's another story, involving The Search For The Perfect Dress For The Mother Of The Groom and my subsequent arrival, sans wife, at MOMA around four - when, measured by the number of artworks I could potentially view in the time remaining, it just wasn't economical to enter.

My wife, my son, my daughter, and my future daughter-in-law soon joined me.  And together, we ran up a noticeable bar tab by the time the machetonim showed up, right around eight.  Why do I mention this?  Because The Prime Grill, may they know only success, is not cheap.  In fact, it's one of those places where "if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

I didn't have to ask - I've been there before, and I knew I couldn't afford it.  But I only have one son, and he only turns 30 once, and he was the whole reason we were visiting the East Coast.  I believe I ordered the Petite "Filet" ($43), with a side of French Fries ($11).  The other six Members Of The Family chose similarly. The Father Of The Bride and I split the bill.

Why do I bring this all up?  To show that Abq Jew can be a Big Spender when the occasion calls for it?

No, I bring this up because I believe that, in the Duke City, where the food service at the JCC (believe it or not) isn't kosher, what the Jewish community really needs is an extremely extravagant, extraordinarily expensive kosher meat restaurant like The Prime Grill.

"But the Jewish community won't support it!", I hear you cry.  But here's the trick, and (I believe) the secret behind The Prime Grill's success:  The food, the service, the atmosphere at The Abq Prime Grill have to be so ... rich, that even non-Jews will pay for the honor of dining there.  We shouldn't tell anyone it's kosher (unless they ask) - our lucky diners must simply recognize that the food is really, really good.

Did I mention that The Prime Grill doesn't advertise? Not in the general press; not in the Jewish press. And you have to look hard for a kosher certificate (it's there). But let me tell you - last week, on a cold winter night, the place was packed with Jews of all stripes, from the ultra-frum with beards and payas to the not-yet-observant with no head covering. There was even a pair of frum Jewish singles (one man, one woman) at the bar, obviously on a watchable, public, kosher date.  And there were even a few non-Jews.

What, you ask, have I been drinking?  The Dalmore.  $13 per 2-ounce serving at The Prime Grill.

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