What happens when a rich guy opens a bad restaurants and hires a bad PR company to try to sell it? Another Gab Group client is out of business.
When Prime opened, I thought about going in to check it out. But it just seemed uncomfortable. The gaudy interior decor and lack of customers kept me away time and time again. The prices didn't help; I didn't really want to pay $28 for a skirt steak at lunch. I was in Delray a lot on Sunday, and they didn't have TVs to watch the games. It just wasn't my kind of place.
As time went by, whatever buzz the place had virtually disappeared. It was completely off my list of places I wanted to try. Then I heard about their 10 for $10 lunch deal. Usually when places do stuff like this, they have some lame choices and often offer reduced portions. I took at look at their offerings and they had some interesting choices, so I decided to give them a try.
They serve lunch until 3pm; I got there at 2:30 and there was only one table outside that was occupied. I went inside and it was deserted; finally a waiter came out and asked me if I wanted to eat inside or out. I looked around inside and they don't have any booths; they have these big, fancy-looking chairs that didn't look all that comfortable. So I decided to eat outside.
Prime Delray Outdoor Dining View
Eating on the sidewalk in Delray is very "in", although I wouldn't exactly call it a beautiful people crowd. It's very casual in Delray. My server gave me a menu and asked if I wanted something to drink; I ordered a sparkling water. They have Sole here. The small size is only 8oz; barely 1 glass.
He came back and asked whether I had decided without offering to tell me about specials or the fish or omelet of the day. I ordered the Maccheroni Prime, which is Rigatoni with broccoli rabe and sausage, one of my favorite dishes when done correctly.
While I waited I was tortured by bad lounge music: Magpie, This is me and Blue Skies. I wondered why I didn't get any bread at a restaurant that serves $44 strip steaks. After about 10 minutes, my server emerged with my food.
Prime Delray Maccheroni Prime
The first thing I noticed is that it was a lot of food on a regular plate. This dish is almost always served in a big bowl. Part of the point is to be able to toss the pasta in the garlicky sauce. While the dish was dripping with cheese, they gave me some extra sawdust also? It was a bit tricky to eat. Usually with this dish you want to get some pasta, sausage and rabe on each bite. But the sausage was large cut and the large rigatoni didn't cooperate either. The rigatoni fell apart when I stuck a fork into it; a sign that it was overdone.
The broccoli rabe was woefully overdone as well; waterlogged really. The sauce wasn't very garlicky, there were tomatoes in the sauce, and the sausage wasn't very spicy. Waterlogged rabe is just a waste of time, particularly when it's lathered with cheese. There's really no excuse for ruining this dish with only 2 tables in the entire restaurant. The only explanation is that they just don't know how to make it properly. Maybe they have their B team on at lunch, but having an interesting menu without someone who can execute it doesn't result in anything worthwhile.
I left most of the pasta as it wasn't worth the calories. Visits by my server to his 2 tables seemed to be separated by an eternity; finally he came by and I asked for the check. $15. Great, a 250ml bottle of Sole water (about $1 retail) is $5. Perfect.
My impression of this place is that I wonder what they were thinking when they opened it. Between the decor, the lounge music and the ridiculous prices I just don't see where they thought their customers were going to be coming from. The kind of older folk with cash around here aren't looking for a lounge. I'm not a big fan of Cut 432, but at least it's a pretty cool place. This place is for older, rich people who like the kind of music that they play on the pool deck at the W hotel. How many of those are there in Delray Beach?