Southern Prime Steakhouse
06 Aug 2022
Succulent steaks with carefully chosen wines capture our passions
By RAY LINVILLE » Photos by G. FRANK HART
The premier steakhouse in the Sandhills is Southern Prime because it consistently demonstrates a superior commitment to excellent food and impeccable service. After opening 12 years ago in downtown Southern Pines, the restaurant quickly established itself as an elite dining choice by superbly preparing succulent steaks and pairing them with carefully chosen wines. It offers an atmosphere of relaxed elegance where steak is the specialty.
Where else can you enjoy premium steaks aged for 28 days that are carefully seasoned and prepared in a state-of-the-art 1,400-degree chargrill? First, however, be tempted by delectable appetizers such as lobster rangoons, bruschetta, slow-braised beef ribs, and herb-crusted calamari fries.
The amazing choices of steaks include an eight-ounce sirloin and an eight-ounce (or a smaller six-ounce) center-cut filet mignon. Larger appetites will appreciate the 12-ounce New York strip and the 14-ounce ribeye. Toppers include hollandaise, bearnaise, sauce bordelaise, au poivre, wild mushroom demi, and gorgonzola crust.
All steaks can “surf.” Consider adding grilled shrimp, crab cake Oscar, lobster Oscar, or a 10-ounce lobster tail. Each steak also is served with a choice of baked or mashed potato, cheesy stoneground grits, or the market vegetable.
Although the menu clearly centers around steaks, it also features fresh and delicious seafood such as the ten-ounce lobster tail and crispy polenta Scottish salmon. The cast iron seared sea scallops are served with a wild leek and potato puree and a tomato and fennel salad. Land and sea that combines a six-ounce beef tenderloin with a half lobster tail is served with cipollini risotto, lobster glaze, and shaved black truffles.
Signature side dishes, ample enough for two, include creamed fresh spinach, braised Brussels sprouts, lobster smoked-gouda mac and cheese, garlic-sauteed wild mushrooms, and grilled asparagus.
The menu also includes soups, several choices of sandwiches, a variety of salads, and several other enticing options. For example, the blackened crab cake sandwich with lemon garlic aioli, red pepper jelly, and baby arugula on brioche bread is amazing.
The wine list features choices from around the world from the familiar to the adventurous and the mild to the bold. Let the staff at Southern Prime pair an entrée with a wine specifically selected to bring out the flavor and texture of the meal. More than 200 extraordinary wines in the cellar offer the perfect choice to pair with the distinctly different fare that you order. “The temperature of all the wines is controlled to 65 degrees,” says Michael Smith, owner and manager.
The restaurant’s large wine room has a one-of-a-kind cooling system and can hold 4,500 bottles of wine. “It’s my favorite space because it has such great ambiance. It’s a great place to have dinner. It’s so popular that reservations about two weeks out are needed to hold a table,” Smith adds.
The way that Southern Prime expertly pairs steaks and wine sets it apart from other restaurants. In fact, the restaurant is the winner for the best wine list in this magazine’s Best of the Best contest (see related article page 42).
Sweet endings at Southern Prime are the way to cap excellent meals. The flourless chocolate torte and vanilla bean crème brulee are both served with fresh berries.
Fresh berries, four varieties in fact — strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry —with crème anglaise make the berries and cream fantastic.
A true Southerner will appreciate the seasonal cobbler served with vanilla ice cream and pecans.
The cocktail menu features superbly prepared signature creations, and after-dinner drinks are also perfect ways to complete an enjoyable evening. Chocolate rasptini, pumpkin spice martini, and cafe amaretto are three refined selections.
Sunday brunch, which begins at 11:30 a.m., is always a special occasion at Southern Prime. Start with a classic or lemonade mimosa while perusing the menu.
Consider the asparagus frittata stuffed with tomato, sausage, and cheddar. Another popular choice is crab eggs Benedict with lump crab, tasso ham, sauteed spinach, and hollandaise sauce on grilled French bread.
Meat lovers will want the four-ounce petite filet mignon served with two eggs any style and home fries, while the sweet tooth will be tempted by the French toast that is cooked in chocolate custard and topped with a caramel sauce and fresh berries.
The culinary team at Southern Prime have been together for a long time. “We have very little turnover. It’s a great group who have developed a culture of dignity, integrity, and honesty. We really have respect for each other and others,” Smith says.
In addition to the bar area and the main dining room, Southern Prime has a private dining area. It can accommodate groups up to 60 or be divided into smaller settings, such as for 25 or 35,” Smith says. The restaurant also includes an outdoor dining area. All areas are decorated with fresh flowers that add a special touch. “Carol Dowd from Botanicals brings in the most unique and creative floral designs, particularly for wedding receptions,” Smith says.
Opening for dinner daily at 5 p.m., Southern Prime makes each visit memorable with friends or a special celebration. Its handsome and charming ambiance is a delightful setting for any occasion, and its to-go menu also remains a popular choice.