Prime, Stamford’s newest restaurant on the harbor, has been living up to its name with delicious food, flawless service, designer décor, an entertaining vibe and a serene view of the harbor.
Yes, you read right. It’s got it all, and then some. Just imagine dining in a lovely restaurant on the shore, no matter the time of the year. Here, its wall of windows overlooking Mill River and lively Harbor Point across the bay sets the scene. Add to that vision a décor that is soft and lovely, white-on-white with gray and stripe accents, Plantation shutters lining the bar base, huge globe lamps scattered throughout, and exposed duct work painted a soft white for an upscale beachy atmosphere. The chairs and banquettes are comfy—good news since the service is not rushed; if you want, you can sit for hours. And yes, it’s bustling and noisy but kudos to the architects for acoustics that let us clearly hear our dining companions.
Although we had heard rave reviews about Prime from friends, we harbored some doubts that a restaurant could pull off sushi, steak and chops. But they do, and very well.
Right away you’ll notice that meals arrive on serving carts covered in white linen, which adds welcome charm, elegance and grace to the experience. We approve.
With our drinks came a warm French baguette, baked in a leaf pattern that easily pulls apart—a stunning presentation of spectacular bread, crusty on the outside and chewy inside, as it should be. The accompanying sweet butter sprinkled with salt and served at room temperature was perfection. Honestly, we could have made a meal of the bread with a bowl of lobster bisque.
Ah, the lobster bisque…a sight to behold that was ceremoniously served at the table: A healthy amount of lobster meat was gently placed in the bowl, which was followed by a pouring of the creamy soup and a topping of crème fraîche and leeks. It tasted even better than it looked. We also enjoyed the light and fluffy gnocchi, dressed in a Parmesan white truffle sauce with a subtle lingering essence of nutmeg, along with a Prime salad, served with Applewood crispy smoked bacon that added crunch to bright, fresh greens. And that was just the Primers on the menu.
Next up was the sushi, offered in such unusual—and beautiful—combinations that we decided then to return for a sushi-only meal. On this night we sampled the Triple Spicy Roll, wrapped spicy yellowtail, salmon, tuna and jalapeño topped with added tuna, yellowtail and salmon. It was a large mouthful, no doubt, but it produced just the right flavor and zesty heat. No surprise there; the sushi chefs, who you pass on the way into the dining room, are artists trained in the art of preparing, cutting and presenting fresh fish.
From Surf, we chose the branzino, a filet that was crispy on the outside and flaky and moist on the inside. It was served on a bed of spinach, and brightened with a touch of citrus vinaigrette. The seared yellowfin tuna, cooked as we like it—rare—was accompanied by heirloom tomatoes, watercress and olive tapenade. A jalapeño beurre blanc gave this dish a subtle kick and contrasted nicely with the savory vegetables.
From Steak and Chops, we selected the American bison rib eye… and would order it again. It was perfectly cooked to our specifications, and simply seasoned with salt and black pepper, which added just a bit of heat. We paired these with two sides—earthy wild mushrooms and onions, and asparagus steamed to provide the appropriate crunchy bite. Our party was divided on the flat iron steak from the Turf section. It was crispy on the outside with just a touch of tooth on the inside. Some thought the steak needed to be cut thinner to make it more tender. But we are really splitting hairs here. It was all lovely.
Rounding out the feast was dessert, and we’ll make that easy for you: Order the S’mores Sundae for Two, which can be easily shared. A warm, dark chocolate brownie is topped with a cinnamon graham cracker, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and vanilla bean gelato. It was well worth every calorie.
Will we be back? Certainly. At least to sample its Wednesday prix-fixe, three-course, dinners. There’s more to explore at this culinary gem by the water.
Photographs: Julie Bidwell
14 Southfield Ave.
Mon.–Thu. Noon–3 p.m.; 5–10 p.m.
Fri.–Sat. Noon–3 p.m.; 5–11 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; 3–9 p.m.