It’s been a busy few months for the team at Prime Grill Hospitality. In addition to revamping meat restaurant Solo into Solo Dairy Italian Kitchen and moving the flagship Prime Grill from East 49th Street to new digs on West 56th Street, the group has also been putting the finishing touches on “The Prime Grill Cookbook,” due out in mid-September.
The timing seemed just right for a book, said David Kolotkin, the restaurant’s executive chef. “People have been asking us to do it for about five or six years, and with all the new changes it seemed like as good a time as any.”
The book is penned by Kolotkin and Prime Hospitality owner Joey Allaham. It includes behind-the-scenes photos from the restaurant as well as a history of Prime Grill, which has been around for over a decade. In addition to descriptions of how the kitchen works, the book shares recipes for some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes including over a dozen meat entrees like the Delmonico steak with peppercorn sauce (available only on Tuesdays at Prime Grill), barbecued braised short ribs, marinated steak for two with fennel puree and Helene’s Holiday Brisket with Carrot and Onion Gravy (which comes from Kolotkin’s mother) and seems perfect for the high holidays. There are also over 10 recipes for side dishes, such as rosemary potato chips and dairy-free creamed spinach. (While the spinach’s secret ingredient is a bit of parve cream cheese, Kolotkin says the trick is using fresh spinach, saving some of the blanching liquid and mixing it in later.)
Each section begins with an anecdote from the restaurant — like how Kolotkin came up with his seafood quenelle with five-herb aioli after Seder customers requested a spin on gefilte fish and how the chef came to Prime Grill with his grandmother’s chicken soup recipe in hand and figured out how to make it more sophisticated (spoiler alert: he added sherry wine and implemented a slow cooking process).
The end of the book includes recipes for “cooking foundations” — things like stocks, aiolis, meat rubs and the chef’s signature barbeque sauce, which includes jalapenos, liquid smoke, molasses and 11 other ingredients.
Noticeably absent from the book is a recipe for duck spring rolls, Prime Grill’s most popular appetizer. “I can’t put that in. Too big a secret,” Kolotkin said with a laugh. “But honestly they’re just not approachable for the home cook,” a quality he was looking for with all of the recipes in the book.
But what the book lacks in duck coverage, it makes up for in its guide to making a good steak. We asked Kolotkin to share some tips for amateur cooks making steak at home, and he pointed to three tenets: “Make sure you dry the meat off before it goes on a grill or into a sauté pan, because it allows for much better caramelization. Second, let meat rest after cooking so that all the juices incorporate and stay in the meat. A good steak should never be served hot.” And, finally, he said, “know which way to slice it — which is against the grain.”