There is a prolific genre of Miami restaurant that we call The Big Sexy Steakhouse. And although these medium rare VIP sections differ in their approach, they’re all trying to accomplish the same thing: to give you the kind of big night out that’ll make you feel like you just hit the winning shot in game seven of the NBA finals.
But try as they might with edible gold-wrapped ribeyes and excessive use of animal print, none of them do it better than the city’s original Big Sexy Steakhouse: Prime 112. And this South Beach institution is still one of the best places to dress up and spend too much money on steak and martinis.
Not much has changed inside Prime 112 since it opened in 2004, and we mean that as a compliment. Nostalgia is hard to come by in a city as young and ever-changing as Miami Beach. Instead of a punishing untz-untz soundtrack, the sound of human conversations and clanking from the open kitchen dominates the space. Goblets of complimentary bacon line the bar and martinis are served in those dangerously spillable triangular ‘90s glasses. And yet, there is still no restaurant in Miami where you are more likely to be waiting behind an NBA player in line for the bathroom.
But even if you couldn’t care less about the power forward sitting 15 feet away, you will be excited about the perfectly cooked ribeye in the center of the table, surrounded by salads and steakhouse staples served in hilariously large portions that ensure your bag of leftovers will take up an entire seat in the car ride home. The food here is not an afterthought. The steaks are still some of Miami’s best, and Prime 112 is responsible for the most impressive selection of potato dishes in town.
Since we are still in The Big Sexy Steakhouse universe, there are some things you should know before you call to make a reservation (yes, you still have to call on the phone to make one). It’s not cheap, it can be a tad touristy during peak snowbird season, and even with a reservation, you might have to wait at the bar for 20 minutes until your table is ready. But this has always been true about Prime 112. And we’ll still happily put up with it all in exchange for a dinner that makes us feel like we just sunk a three with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.
Truffled Lobster Mac N Cheese
Unlike a lot of truffled macs we’ve tried, the truffle flavor isn’t overwhelming here. And despite the fancy ingredients, it’s still a pretty straightforward mac and cheese, with a top baked to a satisfying crisp.
Potato Pancake With Sour Cream And Apple Compote
This is essentially a latke the size of a dinner plate, and it’s our favorite thing from the glorious “Potaotes” section of Prime 112’s menu. The potato pancake is really crispy, especially around the edges, and the apple compote balances so well with the salty potatoes.
Jumbo Fried Shrimp
When Prime 112 says jumbo, they really mean it. These massive, butterflied shrimp are too big to just pop in your mouth. You’ve got to eat them with a knife and fork. They're just a touch overcooked, but still make for a fun surf and turf combination if you pair them with a steak. It’ll be a lot cheaper than getting a lobster on the table.
You're getting steak at Prime 112, because that's why you come here. And if you want to ball out with the $195 48-ounce porterhouse for two, we won’t stop you. But we like the ribeye. It's delicious, a tad cheaper, and you should request it sliced. It makes for an easier eating experience and just looks cool presented alongside the bone. Get the béarnaise sauce as well. It’ll be the best $3 you've spent this year.
Dessert is a pretty essential part of the Prime 112 experience. The problem is, we’re usually too full to partake in one of the intimidatingly large cake options. That’s why we normally finish with the fried Oreos, which are exactly what they sound like and also pair better with a dirty martini than you’d expect.