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Primehouse review - Mediocre at Best

Here is a simplified breakdown of the check:

Two $50 steaks
Two $11 salads
Two $10 sides
That is about $75 per person if one drinks tap water.

We had a $58 bottle of wine ($15 in a wine shop). Total bill was $209 with tax.

However, I don't want to belabor the price. I would not have been happy with the quality of the food if it was $30 per person.

I gladly pay similar prices at other steakhouses in New York, but get a much higher quality experience in cuisine, service and atmosphere.

Apr 24, 2011
willygreen in Chicago Area

Primehouse review - Mediocre at Best

Our experience was mediocre at best. My one star reflects a beleif that one shouldn't pay $100 a person for mediocrity. Maybe this place was really good a few years ago, but I don’t get it.
We had a 6:30 reservation on a Saturday night. When we walked in there were about five hostesses talking with each other, apparently too busy with each other to notice guests arriving. They acknowledged us and then proceeded to take us through the dining room to a small deuce located directly next to the curtains separating the dining room from the kitchen. At this point the dining room was maybe 30% full; I would not seat guests at this table until all others were unavailable. We asked for a different table and were shown to a booth where the upholstery was coming off (I uploaded a picture of this). I took a closer look at our table and realized it was a plastic table covered with vinyl. This would not normally be a big deal, but this is $100/pp.
Our server was very friendly and immediately brought us a wine list and menu. We ordered the wedge salad, the arugula salad, a filet, a 35 day KC strip, the baked potato gnocchi and tempura fried green beans. Here are my thoughts.
Popover bread – this was pretty good but I’ve had better. No real complaints here.
Wedge salad – this was our favorite. A more modern take on an iceberg wedge.
Arugula salad – arugula with pine nuts and smoked tomatoes. I enjoyed the smokiness of the tomatoes with the peppery arugula.
35 day KC Sirloin – the steak was really crusty on the outside, and some parts of the crust even seemed gritty, like it came off of a dirty grill. I could taste the gamey aged quality especially near the bone and it was different.
European cut filet – again the outside was really charred and that flavor overpowered the rest of the steak.
I understand that grass fed beef can be inconsistent, but I expected much higher quality of the steaks.
Baked potato gnocchi – This was not the fluffy gnocchi I have experienced at other steak houses like BLT steak. It was a very heavy gnocchi in a rich sauce.
Tempura fried green beans—expected a light tempura batter, what we got was overcooked green beans in a greasy batter.
In summary, there is nothing special about this place and the basic dishes aren’t high enough quality to justify the price.

David Burke's Primehouse
616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Apr 23, 2011
willygreen in Chicago Area

Steak frites and good beer

I'm looking for a place thursday night that has steak and bistro style frites. A good beer selection - or at least a few local taps is important too.

Last time we went to Brasserie Jo and found out they use institutional frozen french fries.

We are staying in Magnificent Mile but willing to take a cab to get out of the touristy area.

Jul 01, 2009
willygreen in Chicago Area

Siren Hall - Elk Rapids, MI

I go to Siren Hall quite regurlarly and unfortunately the experience is inconsistent. I have had really good meals and also some bad ones. I had bad mussels once and some boring pastas. You would expect everything to be homemade but the french fries are frozen. Last night I had a pasta special -- the chicken in it tasted like it was a few days old and was really greasy - all dark meat that had been sitting in the bottom of a pan.

The experience depends upon when you go and which server you get. I haven't had good luck with the pasta dishes. Usually the special appetizers are really good. As mentioned by someone else, I like the iceberg wedge. I like the pizzas very much as well. If you go and get a pizza and a salad and a bottle of wine you will be pleased.

Top Chef Masters - Ep. 1 (potential spoilers)

Keller cooked circles around those guys last night.

Jun 11, 2009
willygreen in Food Media & News

Trend-O-Meter Says: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Still Goin' Strong (6/10/09)

Great lawnower beer. I will drink it over any other macrobrew. It's better than bud, miller, heineken, etc. Give me a PBR or a Michigan craft beer.

Jun 11, 2009
willygreen in Features

July Trip to Northern Michigan


I hope you have fun on your visit up here. I live in Nothern Michigan and there are many good places to eat but also many tourist traps.

Here are the places I like in or near Petoskey.

The New York in Harbor Springs
- Everything is always well executed here with exceptional service and a great wine list

Esperance in Charlevoix. This place can be hard to find for vacationers. It is an exceptional wine and gourmet food shop but they also added dining this year. Bistro style menu and you can pick any wine from the shop to have with your dinner.

Jose's Authentic Mexican in Petoskey - great tacos, homemade guac and salsa. Good lunch spot.

This link is also a good place to find places to visit.

IMHO the food at the Stafford's properties is average. Lots of Sysco and GFS ingredients.

Please stay away from any chains and support Northern Michigan businesses. We appreciate it.

Local lake fish

I was referencing the reports from the Michigan DNR ( Mercury is an issue with Walleye, especially in the southern parts of Lake Michigan that have been heavily polluted by industry.

If I am catching the fish myself so I know the size and where it was caught then I might be more likely to eat it. But in general I like to err on the side of caution and I don't eat local fish.

Apr 26, 2009
willygreen in Chicago Area

Local lake fish

I would stay away from Great Lakes walleye. PCB and Mercury levels can be high.

Whitefish from Lake Superior is safe and very good. Perch is good too when you can find it.

I would stay away from any fish that comes out of Michigan or Huron unless they are pretty small.

Apr 22, 2009
willygreen in Chicago Area

Any local cuisine?


I'm looking for restaurants that use as many local ingredients as possible and make everything from scratch. Looking for casual places, not your high end four star type restaurants.


Apr 22, 2009
willygreen in Chicago Area

Near Flint Airport

Italia Gardens. They make their own sauce and have been around since 1931. I recommend the spitini.

petoskey, mi

I always enjoy The New York in Harbor Springs.

Would also recommend visiting Esperance in Charlevoix - a great wine and foodie shop.

Beers of Yesterday: We Were Only Freshmen ...

Natty Light was the beer of choice at my school. It was $42 for a half barrel or $7 a case (1994 prices). Occasionally we would get the Beast at $39 a keg and everyone would have a bad hangover and green poop.

By senior year we had graduated to Schlitz and Blatz as they had more flavor and alcohol content than Natty light.

Nov 26, 2008
willygreen in Features

Ann Arbor - An Updated Survey of the best it has to offer

Cafe Habana is part of a chain of restaurants that specialize in serving dishes comprised of Gordon Food Service and Sysco. Processed foods and prepared ingredients define these restaurants.

I try not to go to any of these restaurants as I am consistently disappointed.

Kalamazoo Brewing – Eccentric Day?

Here is a story on Eccentric Day this year. Sounds like it is going to change from years past.

Best barbecue in Detroit area

Yes. I agree. I showed up once a little too late - 8:30 or so and the meat had been reheated. It was way too hot, almost like it was microwaved or something

Best barbecue in Detroit area

Just visited Lazy Bones in Roseville . . . again.

I love being able to order meat by the pound; reminds me of being in Texas.

This is the best barbecue I have had in Michigan. The pork spareribs are the star here; you don't even need sauce.

The brisket was good, nice smoke ring but maybe a tad underseasoned. Needed some sauce to go along with it.

Also tried the Pig Fries, Fries with chili, cheese, tomato, jalapeno and pulled pork. So good . . .

This place is worth visiting. They have a few tables inside and a few outside but carry out is the way to go if you can.

Recs near Clark & Foster

Coming to Chicago for Northwestern graduation ceremonies next weekend. We are renting a place near Clark & Foster. . We do have plans to visit the Hopleaf since I love beer but need some help on other places.

Here are the recommendations I am hoping for:

1. A good grocery store

2. Mexican or middle eastern lunch spot

3. Breakfast diner

4. Restaurant for dinner that can handle a larger group - 10 people. Italian or steak would be cool. Moderate price level.

5. Neighborhood bar with good food.

We will have a car and can take taxies but would like to stay closer rather than spend too much time in the car.

Thanks everyone!

Jun 15, 2008
willygreen in Chicago Area

Traverse City Breakfast, Brunch, Cafes and Diners Please.

I live in TC and eat out quite a bit. Here are my picks for breakfast and lunch.

Amical is a great bistro with croissants, french toast, crepes and omelets.

Patisserie Amie has great french food. They are a little stuck up but the food is worth it.

Hanna is a good spot for lunch. You can get lunch there for $10 that would cost $25 at dinner.

Bayview Inn is my favorite diner spot--restaurant side, not the bar side. Great diner food. It is on 31 in Acme. Closed on Sunday's.

Green House Cafe downtown has my favorite breakfast.

IMO Omelette Shop is overpriced; I avoid this place.

Zaccaro's--good panini in Detroit

The owners are out of Traverse City. They opened up a store in downtown Charlevoix and then closed it 6 months later. It is tough to make it with a store like that in a small town. Hopefully there is enough of a market in Detroit to support a store like this.

Detroit (Southfield): Any good breakfast spot (The breakfast club or else)?

I agree. OPH sucks

Gas Versus Charcoal: Summer's Most Important Decision

I use a Weber Q propane grill for quick weekdays, tailgates and camping.

But when I really need to cook something I use my Weber kettle. Charcoal is the way to go when you need high heat.

I use kingsford charcoal with apple or cherry wood for flavor since I live in an area with lots of orchards.

May 14, 2008
willygreen in Features

Siren Hall - Elk Rapids, MI

Just dined here on Tuesday evening. Had the iceberg wedge (avocado, bacon and bleu cheese dressing). It tasted great but some of the avocado pieces were a little overripe and brown. Then I had a white pizza with wild mushrooms, italian sausage and gruyere. It was cooked perfectly and the mushrooms were fantastic.

Service was great. They even graciously accommodated some very loud fudgies that walked in at about 9:30 pm.

Our server told us that they are changing the menu for summer. I'm going to check it out again in a month or so.

Essential Kitchen for a College Grad?

Check out both TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I find great stuff there at inexpensive prices all the time.

Apr 23, 2008
willygreen in Cookware

I-75: Flint to Sault Ste. Marie, MI--chow wanted

I don't know of anything good in that stretch of road. You have to get over to the Lake Michigan shore to get good food in Northern Michigan.

Traverse vineyards/dinner recs please

Welcome to Traverse City. I have lived here for three years and love food. Here are my opinions on the area.

Whites are better than reds up here due to the growing conditions. With that being said, there are a few good reds. As a local who has spent a great deal of time working with the wineries, here are the ones I would visit.

Must visit for the wine

Visit for the view

All three restaurants you mentioned downtown are great. You might also want to consider Trattoria Stella, not downtown but great Italian with an impressive wine list and the best atmosphere. (

Easter Brunch in Detroit

La Dolce Vita in Detroit has a really good brunch but it has been 3 years since I was there.

Siren Hall - Elk Rapids, MI

I totally agree. Pearls and Red Mesa and the other Magnum restaurants are typical fast casual chain fare. They don't use good ingredients. I couldn't even get a side of fried okra at Pearls because they only had canned pickled okra in the kitchen. Try the guac at Red Mesa--it is hard to taste the avocado. They put something in there to stretch it out and it makes it terrible.

Lulus and Siren Hall make almost everything from scratch. You can tell when you eat there. Siren Hall is by far the best restaurant in Elk Rapids.

La Shish

Pita Cafe in Oak Park is better than La Shish. They also have a location in Birmingham.

Detroit and Michigan traditions?

It seems like many of the coneys are now owned by Lebanese people. I like to go to lunch and get a gyro, chili fries and baklava and wash it down with a Vernors.

Mar 07, 2008
willygreen in Great Lakes