Note: Dylan Prime closed for most of 2013 due to a tax deficiency. It re-opened after re-modeling in late 2013 with new chef Michael Bernardino, and Kerry Heffernan consulting on the menu. This review is of the original Dylan Prime.
Dylan Prime is an haute steakhouse in Northwest TriBeCa. To an extent, it’s built on the standard model, with steaks à la carte and side dishes that plump up the bill. It departs from that model by offering the alternative of fully composed plates that are a bit more creative. The setting is also much more elegant and refined than the standard-issue NYC steakhouse.
I’ve dined at Dylan Prime a few times, always ordering standard steakhouse dishes. I always found them competently done, if not spectacular. To me, the restaurant’s primary virtue was its proximity to the office (just two blocks). It’s also a reasonable choice if you want to bring guests to an elegant steakhouse that doesn’t play to stereotypes.
Last night, I wanted to try one of the chef’s compositions, the Carpetbagger Steak ($41). The chef must consider this his signature item, as the website offers a video of how it is prepared—an honor bestowed on no other dish. An 11 oz. Filet Mignon is sliced open and stuffed with Blue Point Oysters, and it’s served on a bed of spinach and baked potatoes.
The video shows the oysters being added before the filet is cooked. From the taste, I would have guessed they were added afterwards, as they weren’t as warm as the inside of the steak. My reaction was that neither ingredient benefited from the presence of the other. The menu promised a Guiness and Brown Sugar Sauce, and this too is shown on the video. My dish was served dry, however. Obviously someone in the kitchen screwed up, and I only noticed the omission when I got home and rechecked the website.
Side dishes are $8. Winter squash risotto with parmesan and honey was an amazing deal, considering that an order of french fries would have been the same price. That risotto was also the best thing I tasted. Like most steakhouse side dishes, it’s not a realistic portion for a solo diner on top of an entrée, unless you have an extraordinary appetite. I left half of it behind—not for lack of enthusiasm—and hadn’t even ordered an appetizer.
The dessert menu offers a number of cocktails called “Pie-tinis” and “Cake-tinis,” named for well known flavors of pies and cakes. Examples include Apple Pie à la Mode, Keylime Pie, German Chocolate Cake, or Strawberry Cheescake. I tried the Amaretto Cheesecake martini ($12). Sure enough, it tasted exactly like a liquefied spiked cheesecake, with a gingerbread crust on the edge of the glass, and crushed almonds floating on top.
I had wondered whether Wolfgang’s TriBeCa, which opened last spring just a few blocks south, would leech business away from Dylan Prime. But the restaurant was nearly full on a Wednesday night. Wolfgang’s, of course, is nearly always full too, demonstrating that the steakhouse format remains almost indestructible, despite the high check size.
As a pure steakhouse, Dylan Prime is not as good as Wolfgang’s, but the space is far more attractive and serene. Notwithstanding the snafu with the Carpetbagger Steak, in general I have found that Dylan’s does everything competently. Service is a tad slow, but friendly.
Dylan Prime (62 Laight Street at Greenwich Street, TriBeCa)