A Really "PRIME" Meal!

posted on March 27, 2011 by Ian MacPhee

Followers of this blog know my penchant for good food and great dining.  I love a good meal and as one of Abbeymoore Manor's Innkeepers it is my job to make sure none of our quests end up wasting a good dining opportunity.  Given that Victoria has the highest ratio of restaurants to residents in Canada it's pretty easy to make sure guests dine well.

With Victoria located on the ocean we are blessed with fabulous seafood. The most common request for dining is, in fact, a good seafood restaurant and we have more than our share.  However not all guests love the sea and it's not uncommon to be asked "Where can I get a great steak?"  Well after my meal out last night I won't hesitate to recommend PRIME Steakhouse at 621 Courtenay St.

Locals will probably recognize that address as it has held a number of restaurants over the past 10 yrs including the popular Hugo's and the awesome Sanuk (remember the butter chicken pizza from chef Patrick - now at FOO!). It is a beautiful space with multiple levels, lush booths and a great bar and it's always puzzled me why restaurants don't "make it" there?

I'm betting that PRIME, under the capable management of Bill Almeida is here to stay.  I first met Bill when he managed Pescatore's and had it humming as the city's best seafood spot.  Bill's attention to everything is evident right from the menu selections to the accesible and varied wine list.  It was fun watching Bill work the room in conjunction with an attentive and knowledgable wait staff.

So - what about the food?  Mmmmmn!   Where to start.....?  Well as the name suggests PRIME is, first and foremost, a steakhouse and that's what I went for. My mind was all set for a juicy ribeye or perhaps their specialty - the Dry Aged, Bone On New York. Unfortunately the decision wasn't made any easier as the nightly specials all sounded divine.

I summarily dismissed the "first of the season" fresh halibut. I was there as a carnivore and tempted as I was by such a great fish I held firm for meat!  Alas the next option, Rabbit three ways, put me at a crossroads. I love rabbit and you so rarely see it on a menu so how could I pass up an opportunity like this?  The third special was rack of lamb, another gastro delight, but luckily my partner Anne had chosen this so I figured I might get a taste.

Staying strong and on course I chose the 12oz Ribeye cooked rare with mushroom rissotto and seasonal veggies. Wow what a choice!  I've rarely enjoyed a steak so tender and flavorful. The 28 day aging was evident and I was in heaven.  The lamb lovers at the table were equally impressed and while I lamented the lost rabbit opportunity I couldn't have made a better choice.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there are a number of great wines priced quite affordably.  We enjoyed the 2008 Sandhill Estate Syrah at $45. Given that the retail price is $21.99 this is a markup I can live with.

Our date with the symphony beckoned so we skipped dessert and were out the door.  Thanks to all at PRIME for a great meal. We'll be back soon!

Sandhill Estate Vineyards

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