For those of us who have trouble making up our minds, especially when it comes to your basic restaurant menu, the House of Prime Rib (1906 Van Ness Ave., 885-4605) is a godsend. The only decision you have to make when you sit down at one of the establishment's plush banquettes is: baked potato or mashed potatoes, and the smallish prime rib, the medium-sized prime rib or the big old bone-in prime rib. After that all you have to do is sit back, sip your cocktail and let the evening unfold.
First there's the house salad, a tableside extravaganza in which the bowl of greens and chopped beets is spun on a bed of ice while a spiky-creamy dressing is poured on top. It comes with a loaf of warm, slightly sour bread that you slice yourself. Next up is the baked potato, split and filled by your waiter with sour cream and nice smoky bacon bits. The spud arrives at your place setting simultaneous with the prime rib, a thick, luscious, tender and buttery example of carnivore-friendly protein, roasted in rock salt to seal in the juices and carved just before serving at shiny wheeled carts situated throughout the dining room. Verdant creamed spinach and a big Dutch pancake-y version of Yorkshire pudding fill out the platter nicely.
One of the best things about the House of Prime Rib is that if you clean your plate like a good boy or girl, the waiter will ask you if you'd like seconds. It would be rude to say no. —Matthew Stafford