Because the new Prhyme Downtown Steakhouse offers three types of beef steaks — American grass-fed, prime 21-day wet-aged and prime 40-day bone-in dry-aged — my wife and I decided to order a similar cut from two categories and check the difference.
I had a 21-day wet-aged New York strip ($43.95), and she had the 40-day bone-in dry-aged strip ($52.95), both ordered medium-rare with an emphasis toward rare.
In a nutshell, wet-aged beef is aged in vacuum bags, and dry-aged beef is suspended or placed on a rack. The latter loses much more water and weight, which accounts for its higher price. Both of our steaks were USDA prime, which represents about 1 percent of beef sold in the United States.
Surprisingly, the wet-aged, in this case, was more tender, juicy and flavorful than the dry-aged, leading me to think we should have ordered the dry-aged very rare.
Other reports around our table were glowing. Most ordered the wet-aged filet (12 ounces, $43.50) and wound up with thick, fork-tender cuts of beef. A couple asked for Bearnaise sauce and peppercorn cream sauce on the side and enjoyed those additions.
One person opted for the 14-day, dry-aged, bone-in pork chop ($33.50), and this dish was so flavorful I was almost envious.
Sides are extra — a lot extra but large enough for two to share — so a dinner here can get pretty pricey. The one I enjoyed the most was Kristin’s 7-minute asparagus with fried egg and Gruyere cheese ($9.95), which delivered a delightful combination of flavors.
Also memorable were the roasted Yukon potatoes ($7.95) and the bacon-butter Brussels sprouts ($9.50). The Brussels sprouts, for the most part, had a yummy flavor, but some had been over-scorched and tasted burned.
A couple of salads were interesting. The restaurant’s take on a Caesar salad ($9.50) included roasted garlic and whole-grain mustard dressing, rye croutons and, instead of anchovy paste, thin strips of white anchovies that had a mellow fishy flavor.
The butter lettuce salad ($8.50) included roasted corn, sweet potato, red bell peppers, black pepper honey and roasted almonds in a sherry vinaigrette, and it was delicious.
A bourbon vanilla bean crème brulee with Maker’s Mark macerated berries ($8.95) was the perfect ending to the dinner.
Although the emphasis is on beef, Prhyme also offers entrees such as roasted Cornish hen, maple-glazed duck breast, seared salmon filet, brown butter scallops, blue crab ravioli and lobster “bisque,” and a variety of appetizers, soups, salads and sides. Entrees start at $27.95.
The restaurant has a 22-page wine book with wines separated by varietals and regions, including about 25 offered by the glass. A plus at Prhyme is having beverage director and sommelier Joe Breaux on hand to help guide diners through the wine and cocktail selections.
Our server, Cameron, dressed in coat and tie, was professional, courteous and efficient.
The restaurant has a modern, sleek ambience and an attractive bar area with sofas, five tables and nine places at the bar. Prhyme seats about 58, so reservations are highly recommended, especially on weekends.
Chef-proprietor Justin Thompson, who also owns Juniper, another standout downtown restaurant, said he was drawn to open Prhyme for several reasons.
“Back in March or April there was a good buzz about the Brady District, and this seemed like a great opportunity to fill a niche in downtown dining,” Thompson said. “Juniper started as fine dining, but it turned into a more casual fine dining. I love that, but I also wanted to try doing something really nice.
“Opening Prhyme was a big challenge, and we know there is not much room for error.”
PRHYME DOWNTOWN STEAKHOUSE
111 N. Main St.
4-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 4-9 p.m. Sunday; accepts all major credit cards.