Having recently been to some of the area’s best steak houses, a friend recommended that I try The Prime Rib at the Live! Casino and Hotel, located at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover.
I learned that getting there can be tricky, unless you know that they validate the valet parking, and all you have to do is drive right up to the front door. Just make sure to be clear that you have a reservation, because when it gets busy they can stop valet service for everyone but guests of the restaurant, and the high rollers of course.
The restaurant is right inside the main entrance to the casino. Just past the hostess station was a live piano player, a happnin’ lounge and a glass wine cellar area that takes up the entire middle of the restaurant. Resisting the urge to make a beeline for the bar, we were shown to our seats on the other side of that floor-to-ceiling wine cellar that I could now see holds some exclusive seats nestled in the middle.
Everything was immaculate, with dark mahogany walls and classic casino cheetah-patterned carpets. Although there is a dress code, none of the wait staff seemed stuffy or pretentious. Everyone was smiling, professional and courteous. Typically, fine dining is all about small quality portions with a large impact of flavor. I quickly gathered that The Prime Rib is all about large quality portions with that same impact.
That being said, we decided to skip the starters and go straight into the main meal. This was a good move as the bread basket they brought us was an excellent way to start our meal. Served with a pat of butter drizzled with olive oil and lava rock salt, each piece of bread in the basket was unique. There was onion poppy seed, olive bread, a Ciabatta roll, sesame bread and a seeded cracker. Each tasted freshly baked, and all were very delightful.
The wine list was extensive, with bottled wines starting at $62. Not seeing a bottle that we both could agree on, we each chose our favorite glasses of wine. Chandra had the La Follette 2014 Pinot Noir ($15), which she said was very nice. I had the Mer Soleil 2014 Reserve Chardonnay ($16), which was buttery and delicious.
With each main, we chose a different side to share. Like other steak houses, the sides are separate, and in shareable portions. I’m not the biggest fan of this menu style because sharing limits your options. However, if you and your partner can agree on what to get, it works out nicely. I also feel that that prices for the sides are a bit high, but I get they are supposed to be shareable portions.
We chose the Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon ($10) and Potatoes Au Gratin ($10). The Brussels Sprouts were smoky and tangy, with a wonderful bacon flavor throughout the dish and sharp balsamic glaze in the background. The Au Gratin was rich and cheesy, with perfectly cooked sliced potatoes. Chandra was sure that the flavor had to be illegal it was so good.
For mains, Chandra chose the Rockfish ($42), which was nicely presented with micro greens and a single candied pansy, which I thought was interesting. The fish itself was tender and nicely cooked, with large chunks of crab meat. The flavors were well developed, and there was a good sear on the skin.
I had chosen the 8 oz. dry-aged Filet Mignon, which was tender and savory, with an even-sear and great seasoning. Even at medium rare (my wife insisted) this steak melted in my mouth. The dry aging makes such a difference to the depth of flavor and quality of texture in a steak.
Having shared everything, we both were extremely happy. The food was excellent, and the wine complemented everything. Before we had a chance to order dessert, however, one of the managers appeared with a plate of chocolate truffles in celebration of Chandra’s birthday. These all had the same creamy and rich Grand Mariner bittersweet filling, with a variety of toppings. These were very nice, and almost satiated our desire for something sweet… almost.
For dessert, Chandra chose the Crème Brûlée. This was done very well, with a hard caramel topping and a cool soft pudding underneath. There could have been a little more flavor to the custard, but I was so happy that they cooked it properly that I barely noticed. So many pastry chefs overcook this classic custard.
I chose the Bananas Foster with hand-churned lavender ice cream. Although this was not the table-side version, it was quite delicious. The bananas were caramelized in the same way that the brûlée was, and the lavender ice cream perfectly complemented the caramel sauce in an interesting and surprising way. I really liked this dessert.
Dining at The Prime Rib was a fun and enjoyable. All throughout the meal different managers and maître d’s were checking-in on all of the guests to ensure that everyone was taken care of.
The service could not have been better, and the food was spot-on.
The Prime Rib at Live! Casino and Hotel
WHERE: 7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover
PHONE: 443-445-2970 WEBSITE: https://www.marylandlivecasino.com/locations/prime-rib
HOURS: Sunday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
HEAD CHEF: Eric Littlejohn
DINNER: $24 to $85
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
Day Boat Seafood Menu features an entire second menu of fresh seafood dishes
Lounge: open Sunday – Thursday 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
David R. Ludwig is the Assistant Director of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute at Anne Arundel Community College.