In NYC, restaurants that are “good for large parties” are hard to find, especially if you don’t consider The Olive Garden or California Pizza Kitchen an option. So when the folks at the new steakhouse in Astoria/Long Island City, S Prime 35-15 36th Street, Long Island City, NY 11106, invited me for a visit, the feature that stood out at the modern steakhouse is “large”: large space, large tables, and large space between tables. They even have three private party rooms upstairs, the largest accommodating 40! It should be no surprise that S Prime is opened by the S Hospitality Group, the guys that own Studio Square, which is right next door.

About two weeks later we needed a place for my mom’s birthday dinner and our group totaled twelve so S Prime was the prime choice (catch that pun?). After our dinner it was clear that S Prime is great for large parties for more reasons than just size. When you think about it, large groups usually mean different tastes. It can be hard to find the right place for everyone. Our party included one vegetarian, one person eating gluten-free, some who ate meat rare, some medium, some well done, and some who didn’t eat red meat at all. Chef Joel Reiss will customize a main course for the vegetarian in your party and the existing menu already accommodates all those other parameters we mentioned. They even have organic chicken and organic salmon for those who appreciate that.

My first visit included a great tour of the clean, new, and suitably large kitchen. (The picture below only shows one small part.) The space is massive with a main dining room on the first floor with high ceilings where you can view the glass enclosed wine room on the far wall. Opposite the bar as you enter are VIP lockers available for $2,500 where you get your own Sambonet knives.

The best part: the meat aging room lined with a Himalayan salt wall.

Continuing my initial tour we sat down at the bar where I got to know Chef Joel Reiss (former posts at Park Avenue Cafe, Orsay, Artisanal, Smith & Wollensky, and The Post House) while sampling some great dishes.  My favorites were revisited when my family visited plus we ordered many more. After trying lots and lots, I offer you the game plan: exactly what I would order if I were you. =)

The plump mussels are served with slow roasted cherry tomatoes. The broth is so good, you’ll have to eat more bread or just drink it. They might not like me sharing this tip: this appetizer could easily be an entree for a non-meat eater in your party. Otherwise, the bronzino with the tomato olive relish is also a winner with that perfectly crisped skin.

Mussels with Slow Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes 4

The Steak Tartare is the best one I’ve had and it’s primarily attributed to the hand-cut beef. The texture is wonderful: a tender bite, no mush. Lon and my mom were raving too! In my mind, this and some fries would be the perfect lunch only they’re not open for lunch yet.

Steak Tartare

Of course, you should order their Signature 60-Day Dry Aged Rib Eye. Good meat, simply prepared with the right amount of salt and pepper, cooked medium-rare, no sauce is what I want from a steakhouse. Delivered.  Next I also want to try more of their cuts.

Bone-In Aged Ribeye

And, don’t forget sides: fries have a special place in my heart and these are good fries, both plain and Parmesan herb. You also can’t go wrong with their creamed spinach, onion rings, and sauteed wild mushrooms.

French Fries 2

Between the two visits, I’ve tried most (ok, maybe all) of the desserts and they are all solid renditions of classics, served in generous portions. My favorites are the key lime pie, apple tart, and cheesecake. (The picture of the pecan pie came out the best though.)

Pecan Pie with Caramel Ice Cream 2

Steakhouse meals are never going to be cheap. Keep in mind that the occasion will arise when you want to go big, big portions, grand high ceilings, a large party size, valet, a chef that will greet your guests, even over-sized menus (both physically and in content). I know I will be keeping S Prime in mind for those times…

posted by jessica at 04:54 PM Filed under American and New American, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.