Food Travel / SFO

SFO – House of Prime Rib

Nothing finishes off a prime rib dinner like another piece of prime rib.  And that was definitely the motto for most of the men around the my table at House of Prime Rib in San Francisco…

A few of my teammates were leftover on Monday in SFO and were invited by my coach to join his group at the House of Prime Rib(HOPR).  I was pretty excited for 3 reasons.  1) I was going to dine somewhere I’d never heard of, but seemed like a SF institution. 2) I only had to be a follower in this adventure and could thus work on tempering my need to always be in control and 3) PRIME RIB!

In lieu of an entrance photo which I didn’t take, you get this.

What struck me was how similar this place was to Lawry’s, (Vegas or LA).  Same menu, same spinning salad, same sides. So because of that this experience, (and thus this post) will be a comparison of 2 prime rib dinners.

House of Prime Rib Famous Spinning Salad

Both meals start with a spinning salad, both with the same julienned beets, crumbled egg and sourdough croutons.  The HOPR salad is served with Heritage dressing while the Lawry’s is called Vintage.  No matter, they both taste like a mixture of  Thousand Island and French dressing.  In a head to head match the Lawry’s salad is better as it’s less dressed and therefore crunchier.

City cut – medium rare and a side of creamed spinach.

I ordered the smallest cut, which is said to be about 6oz.  I learned from my Lawry’s experience that although I like my steaks rare, prime rib at medium rare is more to my liking.  You have a choice of 3 horseradishes; Creamed(mild), Mayo(medium) and fresh(hot, hot, hot!).  I used all 3 in different combinations and found that they all complimented the tender juicy flavourful meat so well.  I appreciated that we were served a pot of au jus on the side that we could add to our plate after our meat and yummy yorkshire pudding soaked up the first drizzling of jus.

Baked potato w/the works. Creamed corn, (my brother’s but he shared).

HOPR picked up huge bonus points when I was offered the choice of baked  or mashed potato with my dinner.   At Lawry’s, the mashed potatoes come with the dinner and if you want a baked potato, you order it on the side.  Although the mashed potatoes at Lawry’s are heavenly, I’m a huge fan of a loaded fluffy baked potato.  This one was perfect and the only thing I finished on my plate.

Another plus at HOPR is that they offer a choice of creamed spinach or creamed corn on the side as well, (again at Lawry’s you have to order all vegetables as a side).  I’ve never had creamed spinach before, and was pleasantly surprised with how much flavour the green glob on my plate had.  I laugh a bit as they describe it as “a light dish of garden spinach whipped with fresh cream and bacon”.  In a head to head match up, the Lawry’s creamed corn wins for having better cooked the corn better, (at HPR it seemed a bit over-cooked).

We come to the main reason why HOPR wins over Lawry’s, (although not so much for my benefit but any hungry eater would agree).  At HOPR, if you order the 9-11oz House Cut or larger and you finish your meat at the table, you will be offered another 2 oz taster, on the house.  And if you’re really hungry, they’ll offer you extra sides of mashed potatoes and spinach.  Looking over at my coach’s 2nd helping of the works, I couldn’t help but think that his taster would have been an ample sized dinner for me.  Most of the men around the table had their second helpings, and as I opened this post by quoting my brother, “nothing finishes off a prime rib dinner like another helping of prime rib”.

English trifle – not mine but I was sad it wasn’t.

Raspberry & mango sorbet – My brother’s but I had a few spoonfuls.

I was so full, but others around me had dessert.   I’ve never been a fan of trifles before.  Usually the cake is to dense and boozy and the custard too sweet or thick.  This one was light, creamy and delicious.  I’m happy to have sampled it because now if I run into a trifle again, I’ll be more willing to try it out.

Luckily HOPR and Lawry’s don’t exist in the same city so I’ll never have to choose between the two because if I was forced to make a decision, I’d second guess it all the way.

I didn’t do a great job taking touristy SFO photos on my weekend away, but my brother Vince did.  He’s challenging himself with a project of his own. Check it out if you get a chance!  http://vbando.wordpress.com/

House of Prime Rib – 1906 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

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