Prime 25 may be the new kitchen on the block, but it's likely to be a culinary favorite in the community.
The emphasis is on steaks, all prime, aged cuts, but the overall vision is more inclusive: seafood, pork, and lobster macaroni and cheese, among other offerings.
I started with a Basil and Maple ($9). This may sound like an intersection in a pastoral village, but it's a refreshing, albeit potent, cocktail. It combines muddled basil, lemon and maple with whiskey distilled at Axe and the Oak in the Ivywild School - across the street from Prime 25. It's a creative, enjoyable combination. I was less impressed with the (short) wine pour for the by-the-glass options. Still, the wine list is impressive.
Our server, Josh, was friendly, well-informed, attentive without hovering and offered suggestions. At the onset, Josh said that he's worked at other restaurants, but he is most proud of his job at Prime 25. Even though he didn't reveal where else he'd worked, it's easy to understand his sense of pride.
Several tempting appetizers, including roasted bone marrow ($14), escargot ($18) and pear with Stilton ($14) made it difficult to choose. Ultimately, we selected the crabcake ($14). It's singular on the menu, but two were served with citrus aioli. They're thick with crab meat not filler.
The grilled honey gem wedge salad ($10) caught my eye. Grilling lettuce is something I like. It adds a subtle smokiness to the salad. Heirloom grape tomatoes, diced pancetta and blue cheese deliver texture while balancing flavors with the house-made creamy dill dressing. We also had a Caesar salad ($9). Both could easily have been shared.
One minor issue was timing: the salads were brought to the table before we had finished the crabcakes. It's a picky thing, but at a restaurant of this caliber it's a faux pas. The wait between the salads and entrees was just right.
I ordered the short rib ($28). Josh wasn't sure how long it had been braised, but it soon became evident that the sturdy knife added to my place setting was superfluous. The meat was fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth rich. It was also remarkably well-trimmed. The peppercorn demi-glace enhanced the already-flavorful meat. (The menu indicated plural short ribs, but the single serving on my plate was more than plenty.) The sides included a twice-baked sweet potato and grilled broccolini.
The filet mignon was another winner. Prime 25 is a steakhouse, after all. The filet was cooked to a perfect medium rare, with a seared exterior encasing the just-right-shade of pink inside. The supple meat was like butter and not just because of the dollop of herb butter that had melted over the top and down the sides.
The two-story restaurant features two full bars. The decor incorporates wood, copper and sculpture-like hanging lamps. With the exception of the private dining rooms, the upstairs is less formal with TVs and access to the large deck overlooking Tejon Street and views west. Two fire pits help take the nip out of the night air.
Given the size of the dining room I expected the noise level to be an issue. It wasn't. I was aware of sounds from the open kitchen and conversations at nearby tables, but none of it infringed on my husband's and my ability to hear each other. In fact, I caught snippets from those sitting near us, which include "fabulous" and "delicious" when talking about the food.
I was happy to add my voice to the dinner buzz: wonderful!