PM Prime: Highwood’s New Red Meat Palace

In its day, Gabriel’s was a haven of civility and fine dining. PM Prime, which now occupies that space, aspires to the same, and they are well on their way.

The restaurant is dark and clubby, with spotless white table linens, substantial silverware and serious stemware alerting you that they mean business here, both literally and figuratively. The room is rimmed with historical black-and-white aviation photos; the main chandelier recalls a constellation, or perhaps Elroy Jetson’s nightlight. The room is primed to take flight.

Also sky-high are the prices, which easily equal—and in some cases surpass—downtown red meat palaces like Del Frisco’s and Mastro’s. In their defense, the steak we ordered, a 20-ounce, bone-in, dry-aged Ribeye ($69), was exquisite, perfectly charred in their 1,600-degree infrared broiler, a marvel of juicy meatiness. But charging $3 extra for the (admittedly delicious, homemade) PM Steak Sauce, or any of the other sauces on offer, is an insult at that cost. If I had ordered the Porterhouse for two ($111) and had to pay extra for sauce, I would be supremely cheesed off. Wouldn’t you? But that’s an easy enough fix.

Now that I’ve gotten that rant off my chest, I’ll get back to the meal. We started off with fresh Oysters and Littleneck Clams ($3 per piece), presented on a bed of ice with lemon wedges, sweet and sour mustard and sprightly mignonette sauces, and a wee bottle of Tabasco. Pristinely fresh, they tasted sweetly briny.


I commend Chef Dominic Zumpano for attempting to remake the Caesar salad with something other than the ubiquitous (and tired) kale. He opted for a Tat Soi “Caesar” ($11) with white anchovy crisps, brioche croutons and a batonette of roasted garlic custard. While I enjoyed the dark green tatsoi, the brioche croutons had an unappealing sweetness that added nothing to the dish; the garlic custard would’ve been better served in a different form that highlighted its texture, and there wasn’t enough of the garlic element.

Squash Blossoms ($17) come stuffed with an airy crab and whitefish mousseline. The visually arresting presentation includes an emerald green, basil-accented puree, two plump deep-fried zucchini flowers, sweet corn kernels and a variety of summer squash preparations. And though I didn’t understand the bright red line of “fried chicken spices” down one side of the plate, it was gorgeous.

We loved the Shrimp Scampi ($19), with two ginormous shrimp atop light and lovely sautéed gnocchi tossed with snipped snap peas and pea shoots on a bed of garlic cream. House-made barbecue sauce, an unbilled player, also makes an appearance and works surprisingly well in the dish. Ask Sommelier and General Manager Robert Bansberg for perfect pairing; the 2013 Chateau Revelette Rosé ($10) was just right.

Speaking of adult beverages, don’t miss the specialty cocktails, made with great care and a bit off the beaten path. In keeping with the flight theme, the Langley’s Aviation ($11), made with Langley’s Gin, Alpine Violet Liqueur, Luxardo, lemon juice and sparkling wine, was the color of an airplane wing at dusk, tinged lightly with purple but silvery in hue. Even the maraschino cherries are made in house.

The Wild Alaska Coho Salmon ($35), vadouvan-spiced and paired with heirloom carrot puree, chanterelle mushrooms and horseradish foam, was a substantial and beautifully seasoned dish, but again, pricy. Sides range from the impossibly creamy (but under seasoned) Potato Puree ($8) to the just-spicy-enough Asparagus Succotash ($12) made of chopped poblano peppers, okra, corn, asparagus and red peppers. The house-made IPA-infused rolls are calorie worthy, especially slathered with the creamy Dutch butter on offer.

Desserts were a very pleasant surprise; Chef Zumpano shows real range with his skill as a pastry chef. The Goat Cheesecake ($10) was tangy and creamy, three petite cakelets served with butterscotch and toffee streusel. Spumoni ($10) was another winning dish, a deconstruction of the chocolate/cherry/pistachio flavor trilogy: a pistachio financier was accompanied by cherry-pistachio granola, chocolate cremeux and a pistachio “shell” over more chocolate goodness.


Other than the sticker shock, it was a very enjoyable evening. PM Prime is clearly catering to a specific clientele, but even the very wealthy can recognize—and appreciate—good value. Please pass the sauce!

4 out of 5 stars (A-)


PM Prime
310 Green Bay Road

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