As you read this Huffington, thousands of subscribers to my monthly Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter will be receiving their August issue in the mail, with its cover story about Lawry's The Prime Rib celebrating its 75th anniversary, elaborating upon an article which first appeared on Huffington a few weeks ago. After this issue went to press we discovered that a major announcement would be forthcoming this week from that esteemed restaurant. Yes, for the first time in more than twenty years (when fish was added), Lawry's is adding a new entrée to its menu....The Lawry's Ribeye, a welcome addition to a venerable dining experience. On Tuesday, I visited the restaurant (100 N. LaCienega Blvd., Bev. Hills (310) 652-2827) to learn more particulars and, of course, to taste the beef. My addiction to the prime rib there is well-known, and I can make a meal (or several) just gnawing on their beef bones. At Saturday night's Concern Cancer benefit, Lawry's booth was probably the most popular at the annual charity event. So I was pleased to learn that two cuts of rib-eye steak would be added to the Lawry's menu...a 12 ounce boneless ribeye for $46 and a 23 ounce bone-in ribeye for $54. Of course, I will never order the former and always order the latter.....that's the nature of the beast (me). Actually, the big one is more than enough for two normal people, especially with their succulent side dishes..
Richard Frank is the President and CEO of Lawry's
The steak will not be served from those magnificent silver carts....they are still reserved for the haunches of prime rib. The ribeye steaks will be grilled in the kitchen to order (medium rare is the obvious suggestion, well-done is heresy) and brought to the table with scalloped potatoes and fried onions. But this is after you enjoy the famous Spinning Bowl Salad included in the cost of the meal. Chilled forks are offered to all, then the salad bowl is placed atop a bed of ice and spun several times to chill the greens. The server takes a boat of dressing (Lawry's vintage sherry) and then, from an astonishing height, pours it over the spinning romaine and iceberg lettuce mixed with chopped egg, baby spinach, shoestring beets and sourdough croutons.
Ryan Wilson is Corporate Exec Chef of the chain and fourth generation of the founding family.
I asked the obvious question: what makes the ribeye cut of steak different from the prime rib and was told it was the same basic beef, just prepared differently. "We're very proud of our 75 years tradition of serving the finest in prime rib," said Richard Frank, president and CEO of Lawry's Restaurant, Inc. "We know beef best, and with our experience we can now bring guests our version of an American classic we call The Lawry's Ribeye." The haunches of beef are brought in from their Midwestern supplier after 28 days of aging, then get a few more days in the restaurant before preparation. I was intrigued by the fact that the large joints of beef are cut to order for steaks with precision by a specially-designed $5,000. band saw. I went into the kitchen and saw how the whole standing rib roast was slow-cooked in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour or two until very rare, to set the meat, in the English style over a bed of rock salt. After the cuts of bone-in and boneless rib steaks were precisely portioned and cut to 1½ inches with that band saw, they are seasoned with a special combination of herbs and spices (Montreal seasoning, including Lawry's Seasoned Salt, black pepper, dried garlic, onion, chili flakes.) Then, the beef is grilled to order as the customer desires. A dab of compound butter is added at the end to gave a glossy finish (the butter is sweet, mixed with beef fat, au jus and Worchester sauce.) I must say, the result is spectacular...great looking and great tasting. It is uniquely seared, with its caramelized texture and savory flavor which can only come from charbroiling to 750 degrees on the special Imperial grill. I happen to like my steaks charred on the outside and rare on the inside, a tough order, and they got it perfectly.
This is the $5,000 special band-saw used to precisely cut the steaks frm the huge joint.
The chef's new wife, Nikki, cuts into her bone-in steak. She didn't share..and finished the whole steak.
I interviewed Ryan Wilson, the Corporate Executive Chef and a fourth generation family member, who developed the ribeye cooking technique. We had first met when he was cooking at their Tam O'Shanter and I attended its 90th anniversary. "It's very exciting to be part of this historic event," he said. I was too busy chewing on a juicy piece of rib eye to respond, but I questioned him about the choice of scalloped potatoes and fried onions to go with the steak. "
We looked at many different potatoes choices to go with the steak and decided that the scalloped spuds were the ideal choice. They are russet potatoes which are sliced and then cooked with Parmesan cheese, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. The fried onions are sliced thin yellows which are mixed with flour and spices, then deep-fried in peanut oil.
I am loath to call anything 'the best of....' but I feel compelled to note that I have never enjoyed a grilled ribeye steak quite as much as I did my first (certainly not my last) Lawry's Rib Eye. It is a unique dish which could even covert a vegetarian back to meat.