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Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Capital One - Coca Cola Backyard BBQ Presented By National Beef And Pat LaFrieda Meats Hosted By Bill Durney And Pat LaFrieda
Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Alabama QB and transfer prospect Jalen Hurts took three recruiting trips over the past couple of days: To Maryland on Friday, where his former offensive coordinator Mike Locksley now has the head coaching job, then to Oklahoma, where Lincoln Riley would surely like to make him the third OU QB to win a Heisman after transferring to Norman; To Miami, where his QB coach Dan Enos just took the offensive coordinator gig under new head coach Manny Diaz.

In Miami, Hurts was treated to a dinner at Prime 112, a steakhouse described on Google Maps as “a chophouse with flashy scene.”

Translated: Steakhouses can be fine, but for the most part they are entry-level money dining for people with big corporate expense account cannons and no clue where to point them. The steaks will by and large be fine, and probably overpriced.

There will be sides you cannot order individually, arriving at the table in portion sizes of no less than a gallon or snow shovelful. The wine list will be 700 pages long, and no one at the table will know what 95% of it even means. The sommelier will pour the wine for your inspection anyway, and laugh as you sniff a corked Amarone while saying “ooh, that seems fine!”

Someone will pay $28 for soup. Pray it is not you.

There will only be so many of these, Jalen Hurts. Amateur athletics gives athletes next to nothing, so it is imperative that when the corporate AMEX comes out that it gets hit as hard as a wide receiver hung out to dry over the middle.

As a veteran of various corporate steakhouse junkets, let’s guide you through what you need to know here should you decide to hit a program up for another trip to the local flashy chophouse.

PROTEINS PROTEINS PROTEINS. To maximize your own dollar here, hit the fleshy options and keep hitting them until the waist clasps of your slacks start warping under the pressure. A steakhouse is just a slow-motion buffet with handlers. Treat it as such, and follow the same rules one would follow at a fixed-price buffet anywhere by getting someone else’s money’s worth with meats.

Your stomach is your game clock. It’s not finite, so throw deep and score fast while there’s still room to play. Is that real Kobe steak? No, but a good half of the people at the restaurant don’t know it isn’t named after the fifth-greatest Laker of all time, either, so take it.

ORDER IT WELL-DONE. It makes everyone else at the table wait, which is a real power play. They’ll be crushing bread and fifteen dollar onion rings. You’ll be laughing on the inside while someone in the kitchen sighs, places everyone else’s medium-rare steaks under the heat lamps for fifteen minutes, and climbs onto the grill to stand on your fifty-dollar porterhouse until it’s so charred it hits the plate with an audible clank.

Take two bites of it when it arrives, ask for a to-go box, and then take it home to your ecstatic dog. If we’re all going to come up on a new transfer, then everyone’s got to come up — including the dog.

IF IT SWIMS, IT’S IN. With the exception of brand-name beef, nothing is more expensive than seafood. And since you’re not paying for it, that’s getting ordered first.

Do you sort of suspect lobster is overrated, and maybe just an overpriced crawfish with less flavor and class status? TOO BAD. ORDER IT. Do you have no clue what to do with a crab claw when it arrives, much less what to eat or not eat in the mysterious body of the crab, which in news to you is actually edible? YOU ARE TWENTY YEARS OLD AND AT A DINNER WHERE SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING. GET IT BECAUSE YOU CAN AND WORK OUT THE REST LIVE.

Most places charge an insane markup for shit like cognac butter on the lobster. At Prime 112 it is twenty bucks extra. These are not your bucks. Get it and be blessed.

GET STUFF “FOR THE TABLE”. The expense account dinner’s best tactic is “ordering things for the table,” code for “I want this, but do not want to appear like I’m spending profligately on an individual basis.” Great candidates for these? Appetizers, especially ones with ingredients you do not recognize and/or have no idea how to cook at home. Order five or six of them just to be sure.

YOU’RE GETTING WINE. They won’t ask for ID, even if it’s publicly known you’re under 21. The coaches and administrators will not care either, because they badly need you to come to your school because there are at any given time only fifteen people who can play quarterback in the United States.

Tell the sommelier to “bring you something that goes with the meal, price is irrelevant.” They will return with a bottle of red wine stolen by British soldiers from Edwin Rommel’s North African field headquarters in 1942. Do not even think about how much it costs, or how it really doesn’t taste that different than Barefoot Cabernet to anyone at the table.

ESPECIALLY GET FEATURED STUFF “FOR THE TABLE” If it’s “featured”, it is either a.) something the kitchen got thrown in along with the regular shipments, or b.) about to expire, and badly in need of sale. In either case, it will cost more, and likely feature way, way too much frippery and saucing to justify the price.

Prime 112’s current menu lists “PAN SEARED DIVER SCALLOPS W/ SLOW BRAISED WAGYU SHORT RIB, TRUFFLE MASH & PINOT NOIR SAUCE” for $36 a serving. Order no less than one of these for every two diners “for the table.”

DESSERT IS SEVERAL COURSES. Don’t be afraid to order multiples, and be sure to embrace the cheese course. Why are they serving cheese and port after you just ate an entire meal? Because long ago, getting gout was the ultimate status symbol, and piling fermented milk solids atop a pile of expensive meats in your gut was a career move.

And you do care about your career, don’t you? Of course you do. After all, if you didn’t want to be a successful quarterback at the next level, well, you would have stayed at Alabama, right?

Eat the cheese. Drink whatever port is. Watch the steaming scroll of a bill — no less than a respectable mortgage payment at this point — slide into someone else’s hands. Lean back, pants unbuttoned, and prepare to sleep the sleep of a champion.

On your side, Jalen, because laying any other way, for lack of a better word...hurts.