NYC Restaurants

Prime Meats


465 Court St (Luquer St)
Brooklyn, NY, 11231
(718) 254-0327

Cuisine: New American

Menu:   View the Menu

Reader Ratings:

Cititour Review:

The Franks (Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, that is) are slowly becoming the mayors of Brooklyn’s Court Street. First, they seduced the neighborhood with their hip and homey version of Italian fare at Frankie’s 457. Since then they’ve been hard at work (growing their beards) and expanding their empire on Court Street to include an artisan coffee salon (Café Pedlar, in partnership with Duane Sorenson of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee), and an old school steakhouse called Prime Meats. While they are expanding rapidly, they’re doing everything with their signature hypersensitivity to style as much as substance.

Prime Meats is gorgeous, dressed in tin ceilings and heavy dark woods, centered on a stunning bar where proper cocktails are served in delicate vintage glassware, cold beers are poured into heavy steins, and platters of delicate housemade charcuterie are snacked on, along with soft, just-out-of-the-oven Bavarian pretzels sprinkled with salt, perfect for dipping in their accompanying pots of sweet dark mustard. If my day could be spent eating pretzels and drinking beer at Prime Meats, I’d be a happy woman. Add their juicy and salty aged steaks (from Creekstone Farms), and nirvana might be in reach.

Craig and I stopped in last week for early dinner, leaving Emily at home with my mom for a little date night. We found the place completely deserted, save one table up by the front window where two men in shirts and ties feasted on generous burgers draped with thick slab bacon. We were seated at a corner table for two in the back with a view of the garden and shared a couple of glasses of wine and looked over the menu, which is brief—just a few salads, a steak, a burger, a Weisswurst, a trout and a chouchrote carnie, but that was enough to tempt us.

A lamb special that night was delicious: tender, juicy chops ribboned with fat, and slices of loin on a bed of sautéed kale and roasted fingerling potatoes. It’s a simple meal, but that’s sort of the Frank’s hallmark here: nothing too fussy, just good ingredients, expertly prepared, and served with little fanfare. The strip steak, in fact, arrives humbly on a white oval plate, with nothing more than a fluff of mache and slivered radishes to keep it company. In presentation, it’s sort of one step above a working man’s lunch, but in terms of taste, it’s fit for a king. In my opinion, the steak here rivals the best steaks in the city (yes, that includes Luger’s).

If you’re interested in sides, and by all means you should be, have the spinach, sautéed with garlic, or a vat of golden fries. The spaetzle comes in two “flavors”—wild mushroom or herb and gruyere. We had the latter. It’s sort of sloppy with cheese and comes off more like a mac n’ cheese with spaetzle standing in for the pasta elbows. It’s a bit too greasy, if that’s possible, but it does the job.

After such a good dinner, I decided to take Kathy there for lunch when she visited me in Brooklyn last week. We took a nice long walk down Court Street and found the restaurant fairly empty, but filled with sunlight streaming in through the windows. We contemplated sitting in the garden, but it was just too muggy so we found a table for two in the cool dining room. We started with the Farmer’s Salad which is quite a “salad” in that it includes wide leaves of red oak lettuce dressed in a bacon vinaigrette, tossed with slivered slices of bacon and granny smith apples. Even though it’s practically a farce to call it a salad, it’s a spectacular combination of fatty richness and tart sweetness.

After seeing (and envying) the burger in all its glory on my previous visit with Craig, I had to have it for myself. It’s a good one, indeed, a sink-your-teeth-in, half pound of Creekstone Farms Black Angus (meaty and juicy) topped with lettuce, tomato, onion (I also added gruyere cheese) served on a housemade sesame roll with skinny fries ($13, plus $2 for the cheese). Kathy stole a few bites of my burger, and I did the same of her Weisswurst, a traditional German white sausage. The sausage is served in a way I’d never seen before, but apparently this is the way it’s done in Germany. It arrives in a covered white china bowl, topped with a warm Bavarian pretzel. Remove the pretzel, remove the cover, and pull the wurst from the steamy waters. Let it drip dry a bit and then place it on your plate. To eat the wurst, slice into the casing, splitting it down the middle and peeling it off. Then slice off a fluffy piece of piggy wurst, add a dollop of that sweet brown Bavarian mustard, and tuck it into a piece of the pretzel and voila! It’s terrific. And I like the fact that there’s such respect for the way things should be served. You learn something and it’s fun.

Unfortunately, while the food is excellent, I found the restaurant rather uncomfortable. And this is really disappointing because it is a beautiful space. From the street, big bay windows trimmed in white reveal a bar topped with ceramic vases fat with spring blossoms and an interior that looks like a period movie set from Public Enemies. It’s the sort of place you’d expect to find rows of black felt fedoras on a hat rack at by door. But the thing is the place is just not set up well.

The bar, which is carved from a muscular slab of wood that was reclaimed from an old hotel, is a masterpiece, but it’s massive, so massive that there’s no room for stools. So when you saddle up to the bar, you must stand and are constantly forced to lean in to permit guests and waiters to squeeze by. This makes dining at the bar (and, quite frankly, even drinking) a less than appealing option.

The tables are also configured in a strange way. There are a few nice booths, but other tables for four along the wooden banquettes are long and narrow so that persons sitting on opposite ends have to send notes to communicate. Tables for two are also too big, and awkwardly shaped, hitting knees and not allowing for the intimacy that you crave in this sort of a vintage dining space.

But the appeal of the menu does make a compelling argument for return visits. If there weren’t a prohibition against strollers, we’d bring Emily.

Review By: Andrea Strong

Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens

Hours: Breakfast 7 days a week
7am - 1pm
Saturday & Sunday 7am - 3pm

Lunch & Dinner
Sunday - Wednesday 10am - 1am
Thursday - Saturday 10am - 2am

Payment: Cash only

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