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Primehouse Steak & Sushi review: Ambitious Garden City steakhouse earns 3 stars

Primehouse chef-owner Arthur Gustafson showed off on Aug. 24 some of the Garden City restaurant's popular features, such as the roaming prime rib carving station and the reserve knife program. (Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)

Primehouse Steak & Sushi

910 Franklin Ave., Garden City

516-416-4264; primehousegardencity.com

COST: $$$-$$$$

SERVICE: Friendly, experienced, accommodating

AMBIENCE: Streamlined Vegas

ESSENTIALS: Open for lunch Monday to Saturday and for Sunday brunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and for dinner, Monday to Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Weekend reservations recommended. Major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.

Long Island's high-steaks restaurant show has just added a headliner.

Primehouse beefs up dining out in Garden City and islandwide. It's a big-time production number, an appetizing entertainment aimed at a broad audience.

The chef-owner is Arthur Gustafson, whose current restaurants include Chadwicks and Salsa Mexicana in Rockville Centre. He also operated the departed Tony Colombos in the village. This is his most ambitious venture, one that sharply heightens the local competition in beefworld.

In full, it's Primehouse Steak & Sushi, a name that immediately separates the restaurant from the nearest beeferies. Those being Ruth's Chris Steak House and The Capital Grille, national chains each with a link at Roosevelt Field.

But Primehouse also differs from them in style. Ruth's Chris, which modestly announces itself with sizzling beef, on a 500-degree plate, can be businesslike and clubby; The Capital Grille, a bit brighter in look, is just as achingly upscale. The two offer excellent beef to challenge your cholesterol level and prices to cause hypertension.

Primehouse is more relaxed, less uniform. The staff is especially friendly, welcoming and gracious. The appointments and vibe, from glittery chandeliers to buoyant mood, evoke a compact, savvy snapshot of Vegas.

Gustafson enjoys visual effects. They're immediately displayed in the "filet mignon duo" starter, a painterly plate of outstanding red-and-white carpaccio surrounding a savory puck of glistening, velvety steak tartare, finished with a scattering of truffled popcorn and micro cilantro.

It's almost rivaled by a delectably decadent strip of English-cut bacon, atop vanilla-accented sweet potato puree, completed with maple-sweet pecans, rounds of house pickle and dots of Thai-style peanut sauce.

Madeira-poached lobster stars in a refined tart-in-a-pan, under a lid of puff pastry, with mushrooms, and tomatoes. Generous, coral-hued lobster bisque gives you plenty of meat afloat in the serious, full-flavored soup.

You could contentedly go the traditional steakhouse route with a fine shrimp cocktail or east and west coast oysters mignonette. The nigiri sushi is about what you'd find in a satisfying Japanese eatery; the sushi rolls, colorful and made with flair. The "California delight' mildly pairs lump crab meat and mango. Spicy tuna nachos: elevated bar food.

Primehouse sends out a high-rise, jaw-stretching Brandt Beef cheeseburger, elevated with applewood-smoked bacon, Cheddar, heirloom tomato and pickle, with good herbed fries on the side.

Then, there are the steaks. The standouts are a tender, expertly pan-roasted filet mignon, the ample, juicy porterhouse steak for one; and a hefty, deftly charred 38-day, dry-aged tomahawk rib-eye for two,

The true Primehouse showstopper, however, is served on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: prime rib, to be carved to order tableside from its silver trolley. You may not be reminded of Simpson's in the Strand or outtakes from "Downton Abbey." Yorkshire pudding, no. So, just debate Brexit. And request more horseradish sauce.

Gustafson's steaks really don't need sauces. Still, marchand de vin, the Gallic red-wine reduction; near-creamy green peppercorn number; and vibrant chimichurri could convert purists.

Hash browns are tasty company, along with a column of crunchy onion rings, and the sweet potato puree. Skippables: dull creamed spinach, hard Brussels sprouts, timid patatas bravas. Ask for butter to save the mashed spuds. The sweet potato mash also complements the autumn-is-here center-cut Cheshire Pork chop, accented with an apple-and-prune gastrique.

Seaside, pan-roasted black sea bass benefits from a macadamia-nut crust, tamarind glaze, coconut rice, and roasted pineapple. Mango chutney, marcona almonds, basmati-cardamom rice and tomato curry boost crisp pan-roasted shrimp.

Desserts are whimsical, striking affairs, from the Key lime tower and chocolate cake to sticky toffee pudding and a cheesecake threesome.

The wine list is solid, as are the cocktails, Ports and single-malt Scotches. Sip away.

Primehouse earns its curtain call.

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