A year ago I wouldn’t have described myself as a nostalgic person or someone who craves annual holiday celebrations. But since the beginning of December I’ve had the feeling that something is missing. Yes, like many people, I celebrate the holidays without the usual cast of loved ones. However, it also lacks some of the traditions that make this time of year special. One of those rituals that touches both my heart and appetite at this time of year is prime rib.
Growing up, I was lucky enough that the holidays signaled a decadent prime rib dinner, either at home or at an old school steakhouse. If we were lucky enough, we would make our way to one of the most iconic restaurants in San Francisco, the House of Prime Rib, which opened its doors in 1949. With wood-paneled walls, a rug that seems as old as the restaurant, and a fireplace in the dining room, the restaurant has always been the perfect setting for a Christmas dinner. And because these were the 90s, my Christmas outfits, often a crushed velvet dress, happily matched the velor details throughout the restaurant.
Servers transported the prime rib to the table in a steel cart like a personal sputnik and then carved the meat table. For additional flair, the house salad would be turned and prepared at your table in a dressing that is simply described as « unique » on the menu. ”
I’m not alone when it comes to this vacation and the warm thoughts of prime rib. Even if many restaurants are closed and steakhouses are doing their best to stay afloat, there are still ways to enjoy the tradition this year.
The best prime rib doesn’t require a long list of steps or ingredients. Since there’s not much prep other than planning ahead, let the dish speak for itself by sourcing high quality meats available from a local butcher. When that isn’t available, prime rib cuts are often available from warehouse distributors like Costco. The combination of slow roasting and generous marbling results in a juicy and aromatic cut. The ideal sides are just as simple as the main attraction, think of mashed potatoes or creamy greens. To celebrate at home, try the salt and pepper prime rib with crushed peas and the spicy crème fraîche recipe pictured above.
Standing ribs, San Francisco, ribs, Christmas dinner
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