At the height of summer, it’s prime steak season. People are visiting steakhouses in greater numbers, and throwing more of their own steaks on the grill. Backyards across the country are filling up with the sizzle and savory aroma of steaks. But as guests at a Jersey Shore B&B with no option to cook or grill, we made reservations on a Saturday night at Prime 13 in Point Pleasant, lauded as New Jersey’s #1 steakhouse and seafood restaurant.
Both the owner of Prime 13, Gerard Tortora and the executive chef, Jeremy Karp have over 40 years of culinary experience. In addition, both hail from Kearny, New Jersey and are New York Restaurant school graduates. Arguably, when you add the Jersey Shore’s most talented grill man, Alberto Argudo and their highly-skilled and knowledgeable staff, the dining experience is a well-orchestrated frenzy.
The protein-laden menu draws equally from land and sea, featuring house-cured bacon and char-grilled pork chops alongside wild-caught Brazilian lobster tails and a chef’s selection of oysters that changes daily. In the dining room, the chefs also serve as the entertainment. In addition to peeking into the open kitchen to check on their steaks, diners can watch the grill’s action on flat-screen televisions. Recessed lighting illuminates saturated walls, which hold rustic touches such as chalkboards and wrought-iron shutters.
Seated in the center of the small, very blue dining room, we were relieved that we had sense enough to reserve a table days in advance because the waiting line (outside in the pouring rain) was a long one. For the BYO portion of our meal, we toted along a Meiomi Pinot Noir given to me as a retirement gift from coworker Jim, which we enjoyed while scrutinizing the foodie-friendly American comfort cuisine menu.
For starters, we each ordered the Baby Wedge Salad, a deconstructed version with the typical wedge of iceberg, a few large rounds of pickled red onion, a large chunk of blue cheese, about 6 grape tomato halves, squares of crunchy bacon cubes and a side of blue cheese dressing. Brought to the table prior to our salads was a basket of two pretzel-like rolls with a grainy mustard dipping sauce. We started thinking maybe this tradition of pretzel bread rolls was a Jersey Shore phenomenon (although we liked the ones at Blend better.)
Our mission that night was medium-rare steak, so we concentrated on that portion of the menu. All steaks are wood fire grilled, and my prime NY Strip came in two sizes, 10-ounce and 14-ounce, so I went with the smaller size which was accompanied by sautéed mushrooms. Russ got the manly “as close to perfect as could be” Cedar River Farms, all natural 18-ounce Delmonico “Cowboy” rib-eye. And as mushroom aficionados, we shared a side of the Wild Mushroom Medley.
Both steaks were cooked perfectly. In the end, I had to once again doggie-bag half of my dinner. Thank goodness when packing for the trip, I had the foresight to load a cooler and ice packs for just this very reason. Now it was time to take the puddle-ridden walk to the rear of the parking lot and make our way back to Spring Lake. Stay tuned for evening number four…