Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meat--the Only Way to Celebrate: Lawry's the Prime Rib

Lawry's Cut

Lawry's the Prime Rib
(310) 652-2827
100 N La Cienega Blvd,
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
$37 for prime rib and spinning salad

Caught up in the fervor of graduation from UCLA, it didn't even occur to me that my graduation dinner would be legitimate blogging material. This explains the embarrassingly poor picture to showcase Lawry's famous prime rib. Seeing as how it was a graduation dinner of fifteen relatives, there were plenty of people with much better digital cameras who could've snapped me a picture. I guess dealing with the commencement ceremony and a throng of relatives just left me a little fried.

The price of $37 includes a 10 oz. prime rib and their famous spinning salad and mashed potatoes. A waitress in a pale brown maid's uniform comes table-side to prepare the salad, which is just a mixture of greens, beets and other miscellanea mixed with a French dressing. The spinning is in the preparation, which creates a stainless steel centrifuge to spin the leafy bits. It did not suit me. As I expected, the salad was overdressed for the occasion; it came suit and tie when I would've liked biz cas instead. As for the maid costumes, my boss T pointed out in the office that they could be hot if they were on the right waitresses. Unfortunately, sex appeal is not Lawry's strong suit; that is assuming you don't count meat as sexy, something I certainly do. But that is not to say that the wait staff was incompetent. On the contrary, they were polite and professional.

One person out of my fourteen guests opted out of the red meat and had a salmon entree instead. Seeing as how this is not Lawry's the Salmon, I will also opt out of reviewing their fish. People, please come here for their namesake. The prime rib is carted out to the table like the salad and a special carver cuts the specific portions and doneness that you request. I had the Lawry's cut, at 10 ounces, plenty of meat ordered medium-rare. In general, always order meat at a doneness below what you think you would enjoy. It can always be sent back to be cooked longer, but it can't be uncooked. The exception would be medium-rare, asking for a rare steak usually results in asking for it to be taken back as well. If you're ordering it well-done, you shouldn't be eating steak.

(Beef Digression)
Prime rib has taken on many meanings nowadays, but it supposed to refer to a standing rib roast of prime USDA quality. In the US, grading is actually voluntary by the breeder, but most tend to do it to sell their beef for higher prices. The grade is based on the amount and distribution of marbling (the presence of veins of white fats). Choice is the grade most common in supermarkets, select is the lowest retail grade. Anything lower than select is ground up and made into processed meats such as hot dogs and dog food. At the top of the ranking is the prime grade, only about 2% of beef receive this rating.
(/Beef Digression)

My beef indeed had the strong flavor of a dry-aged rib roast. It went best with Lawry's freshly made horseradish. Personally, I have grown to love the tast of horseradish on rare beef, but even those who haven't developed that taste enjoyed the creamy horseradish that was much milder in flavor. I would've forgotten completely about the mashed potatoes if it weren't for my sad photo; they were that unmemorable. The creamed corn was unbearably sweet and did not go well with the rest of the plate. I tried some of the creamed spinach too, but neither was very good to me. The beef also came with Yorkshire pudding, a fluffy treat made from the pan drippings of the roasting prime rib. Okay, maybe knowing how it was baked makes it slightly less appetizing. I had a piece of my cousin's strawberry trifle resembling a shortcake that was light and fruity.

I came out of Lawry's actually a little disappointed. I wasn't sure why; after all, it was exactly what I expected--solid prime rib, decent sides and dessert. Most of all, the high-backed chairs and aged decor made me feel like a king. Also, I'm pretty sure kings always ate large quantities of meat. When I got home, I realized what bothered me about the dinner was the name of the restaurant. What makes this Lawry's the Prime Rib? That makes it sound like this is the best prime rib available. And although I enjoyed my dinner, if this is as good as beef gets, I think I just lost faith in a carnivore lifestyle.

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