This Prime offers a trio of soups, a half-dozen salads, a lengthy raw bar, and $55 dishes of chopped raw fish in a variety of herbs and dressings. There are "fishwich" sliders, a dozen fully composed entrées, and another dozen fish choices that are served sautéed, grilled, broiled, or blackened. Shrimp and lobster can be purchased à la carte and prepared several ways. On top of it all are more than 30 side dishes.
"I have dreams of having a restaurant with a small menu and knowing everything is so spot on," Chefetz says. "[But] I think when I open a Prime restaurant, it's known for having a big menu, and that's what I have to have."
Marred by indecision, my guest and I had to shoo away our waiter at least three times before finally settling on a handful of choices.
A wide, deep bowl of fragrant, pink-orange lobster bisque arrived with enough meat to ensure no spoonful went without a tender knot of the well-cooked crustacean. At $26 a bowl, that's how it should be. A half lobster from the raw bar was superior. A mound of perfectly cooked meat was chopped, chilled, and tucked back into the shell for dramatic effect. It was also large enough to provide leftovers for a next-day lobster roll at home.
Oyster shooters were filled with overly aggressive pours of vodka and spicy cocktail sauce. The lone tiny oyster was lost in the mix. Jumbo shrimp ($9 apiece) were big enough to be passed off as langoustines but were far too chewy.
Chefetz likes to take credit for inventing the gourmet deviled egg. At Prime Fish, four hard-boiled egg white halves are filled with a creamy egg yolk mixture packing a powerful, earthy punch of white truffle. A small bit of lobster meat is tucked into the bottom of each cup, and the velvety tower of egg filling is crowned with a speckle of caviar. There could've been just a bit more caviar to cut the rich egg and lobster, but that might have boosted the $24 price past $30.
The restaurant's "fish on a plate" concept is vastly more successful than its composed dishes, which includes a wok-charred salmon with four-sprout salad and soy lime vinaigrette that was a favorite at Nemo. Prime Fish's deep-red portion of Hawaiian bigeye tuna dusted with dried seaweed flakes was the only highlight of a plate rounded out with a creamy, boring wasabi sauce that lacked almost all of the nasal-clearing root's punch. A baseball-size orb of ginger rice was fried arancini-style but was too dense and tasted solely of the pungent, spicy root.
The meat that fell off a whole Florida pompano was delicate and filling, a quality that's difficult to accomplish with such a light fish. The bronze-skinned fish was brightened with lemon and large enough to easily feed two (and is a relative steal at $32). From collar to tail, there was not a dry bite to be found. The locally caught fish will also please anyone dismayed by the menu's endangered Chilean sea bass and the tuna shipped cross-country from Hawaii.