Blogger Spotlight: Johnny Prime’s Steakhouse Reviews

Meet Johnny Prime, the mastermind behind NYC premier steakhouse review blog

From New York City, New York, blogger Johnny Prime aims to be the definitive source for NYC steakhouse reviews and all things pertaining to meat and meat education on his blog Johnny Prime’s Steakhouse Reviews.

John Prime’s site is comprehensive and detailed— so much so that he has developed a 100-point rating system to review restaurants. His writings are witty and his humor is dry and just a tad crude— which really just makes this blog awesome and fun to read.

So let’s “meat” Johnny Prime and find out the story behind Johnny Prime Steakhouse Reviews:

The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?  

Johnny Prime: To be the definitive source for steakhouse reviews in NYC, and to be a fun and useful source of information about all things meat-related.

How’d you get started?

I’ve always loved the steakhouse dining experience. There’s something about it that exudes masculinity at a primal cave-man level. As a kid, if my parents went to a steak joint, I was always excited to tag along. As I grew older, I longed for those steakhouse experiences, but when I was out on my own, budget was an issue. I was in law school in NYC when I started keeping a hand written list of places in my wallet that I wanted to try when I had the means.

When I was finally able to afford steakhouse meals more regularly, I began ticking off all the joints on my list and kept notes. Then, one day, I took those notes and put them into lengthy, thorough and organized reviews and posted them online. That’s when Johnny Prime was born. After that, writing about meat was a very logical next step.

What are some foods you can’t live without?

Cheeseburgers, pizza, ramen.

Are there any foods you can’t stand?

Not really! I have a few items that I don’t like very much, like eggplant, but when done right it can still be delicious.

What is your proudest post?

Probably either Meat 201, or my guide to Regional American BBQ Styles. I’ve had butchers and meat purveyors ask if they can use my Meat 201 post in their presentations to clients, and I feel that my take on BBQ offers something new in the discussion of BBQ, relating to my analysis of NYC BBQ, and particularly in my review of Hometown BBQ.

What is your biggest blog blunder?

It has to be spelling. Generally I’m pretty good with grammar and spelling, but no matter how many times I self-edit, something always slips through the cracks, even after using spell-check. My wife, The Cake Dealer, is awesome at catching these blunders. If she wasn’t an avid reader of my blog, it would be riddled with spelling errors.

Do you have a memorable comment from a reader?

YES! An argument, actually. One person was upset when I relayed how I asked a waiter if one of us could order from the restaurant week menu and if the other could take advantage of a savored reservation discount and order from the regular menu. The waiter said we could not, which was their loss because we would have spent more money and I would have been able to provide a more thorough review, but it didn’t bother me much. The commenter, however, took this very personally and called me a “d-bag” as well as making some other nasty comments. Given the tone and language used in my blog on a regular basis (vulgar, no nonsense, funny), you can imagine that my response was meant to “see” his language and “raise him” to a point where he could no longer play with the Ace of Steaks.

What’s on your cooking playlist?

I don’t really listen to music when I cook. I’d like to wax poetic and say that I listen to the pan and the food, as they orchestrate up into a symphony of flavor, but that sounds like a load of bullshit. If I had to choose something though, it would be hits from the 80s or metal music, my two favorite genres.

What are some other blogs you love?

I enjoy The Dishelin Guide. A friend of mine writes it, and I like how he discusses and rates specific dishes on their own as opposed to restaurant reviews. For cooking type blogs, I like The Restaurant Fairy’s recipe blog. She cooks a lot of great Indian food that without her recipe guidance I would never be able to figure out on my own.

What are some food apps you love?

It’s not meant to be a food app, but the food-lover community on Instagram is amazing. I’ve met a lot of great people on there who have become good friends. Food truly brings people together.

What is the best thing about blogging?

Being recognized for offering something to people that, had they not read my website, they otherwise might not have been exposed to. I also like when I get random emails asking for recommendations about where to eat, or how to cook or age a steak. That means people actually give a shit about what I’m saying, and it feels good.

The worst thing?

It is a big time commitment. I’m also a novelist and photographer. I do those as hobbies and side jobs, but I’ve noticed that the deeper I get into my food website, the less time I have to dedicate to those passions. I’m actually trying to marry the three into one project, a book I’m writing about meat, which would include my own photography as well.

Is there a recipe you’re currently obsessed with?

It’s not so much a recipe as it is a process: dry aging steaks. I’ve been testing out a few methods of dry aging beef at home for cooking at home. I was really apprehensive at first, wondering if I’d ruin a big, expensive hunk of beef, or if I’d end up making myself sick from rancid beef… But so far, so good! I have a few posts up about these experiments as well. I’ve tried aging bags, and an aging box. My next initiative, if I can make some space in my small apartment, is to rig up a small separate fridge to be my own dedicated “aging room.”

What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?

When I was a kid, I used to prefer eating strip steak cooked to WELL DONE. Same with burgers – I used to cook them and press them so much that they ended up like hockey pucks between the buns. Now, I like the rib eye for a steak, medium rare – and burgers medium rare to medium. I still like a burnt hot dog though, for some reason, and beer boiled are the best.

What are five of your all-time favorite posts:

Meat 201

Guide to Ramen Styles

Guide to Regional American BBQ Styles — and this goes along nicely with my review of Hometown BBQ

The Johnny Prime Burger

Guide to Aged Beef  – okay that’s six.

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