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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Prime Rib at the Grill: Definitely a Cut Above

November 19, 1998|S. IRENE VIRBILA | TIMES RESTAURANT CRITIC

For weeks, if not months, I'd been wanting to go to the Grill for prime rib on Sunday night. First it was too hot; then I was cooking at home or I was away. I finally made there, and it was worth the wait.

Worried that they might run out of prime rib before I ever sat down for my reservation, I'd called ahead to reserve two orders. When we arrived, the young maitre d' told us he'd checked with the kitchen to make sure they'd saved two orders of prime rib for us. "But," he added, "don't feel you have to order it if something else catches your eye." That thoughtfulness is just one sign of the Grill's reliable professionalism. The waiters too are, hands down, the best in town.

Settled into one of the cozy green booths, we started with a cool, crisp Caesar salad. For our main courses, I stuck with the prime rib, but my companion let himself be tempted by the double cut lamb chops. The prime rib is a humongous chop, about three fingers high, weighing in at 24 ounces. "This one, actually, looks a little bigger," the waitress admits. It's as good a piece of beef as I've ever had, served in its juices, with a little bowl of very rich creamed spinach laced with nutmeg, and one of the larger baked potatoes I've encountered in a restaurant. The prime rib also comes with an individual Yorkshire pudding that's a big cut above the usual; irresistible, really. Oh, there's also a little crock of horseradish cream. All in all, a feast.

But those lamb chops are pretty tempting, too, and the spinach is perfectly steamed. We make a brave attempt but can't quite manage to finish the entire platter of the divine fried onions and potatoes we'd ordered as a side dish.

I don't know, but this could turn out to be a Sunday night tradition.

BE THERE

The Grill on the Alley, 9560 Dayton Way, Beverly Hills; (310) 276-0615. Prime rib, Sunday nights only. (The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.) Valet parking. Prime rib, $29.50; other main courses, $16 to $32.

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