Steakhouses and gluten free typically go hand in hand. For the most part, Liberty Prime Steakhouse in Jersey City is no exception. I’ve dined at some incredible steakhouses that we’re also extremely accommodating for a celiac. Some of those steakhouses include Mastro’s, Old Homestead, Ruth Chris, Capital Grille, Prime 112, etc etc. This review might come off a bit “snobby” but I’m not. I just enjoy a high quality steakhouse and am no rookie to them.
My girlfriend and I went here on Thursday night last week. I thought this was a waterfront location, which was kind of my selling point to her, but I was wrong. I guess I’m better at researching gluten free then looking at a map sometimes. Oops. It is located on Montgomery St in Paulus Hook which is not the hood of JC so that is a big plus. If you know JC you know what I’m talking about it.
The atmosphere was nice and upscale but nothing to write home about. The best part about this was the fact that most two top tables around us were secluded by walls. You know what this means. No having to listen to someone’s awkward first date where the guy is sweating over every cringe worthy remark he makes while his new lady forcefully laughs because she doesn’t know what else to do. Is that entertaining, absolutely. Have I been there before, too many times to count. Is that what I pay for at a nice steakhouse? Maybe in some NYC steakhouses, but not on this side of the river.
Onto the juicy food review…
The Food (7.1)
The food here was very good. However, in terms of an upscale steakhouse, I would consider this place to be in the middle tier that encroaches the upper tier in a few ways.
We shared a lobster cocktail for appetizer which was really good. It came with real big chunks of lobster, especially the claws which I like. This is a must have. Unfortunately, us celiac people can’t enjoy the cocktail sauce as there are hints of wheat in it. No problem for me, lobster is amazing anyway by itself. My girlfriend would rate it even higher then me since she loves lobster but can’t stand when it comes out looking like one. I guess that makes sense?
Can’t remember what she had but I couldn’t try it anyway. I went with the 18oz bone-in-filet. I always go with a steak that is bone-in. Much much more flavorful. This steak was really good but wasn’t par for an upscale steakhouse. I order mine medium and usually they come charred on the outside and pink on the inside. This wasn’t consistently cooked on the inside (more medium on the edges and then rare closer to the center) and was very soft on the outside. I wasn’t complaining though. It was still mouthwatering.
We decided we wanted to share a side as well. We ordered the loaded baked potato which usually comes out fully buttered with cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream on top. I made sure the bacon was not deep fried in a shared fryer so it was safe. I hate sour cream so I wanted that on the side. However, I guess the server took this as I wanted everything on the side. Not a fan of do it yourself unless I’m at chipotle or a buffet so I didn’t like this part. It was still really good but nothing to write home about.
We are NOT a dessert couple and I am NOT a dessert guy. However, we made an exception here. She had the fried cookie dough which looked ridiculously good, something straight out of instragram. And I had the flourless chocolate cake with vanilla gelato. The cake was hot and soft and the ice cream cold and think (that is NOT what she said). Delicious.
The drinks here were outstanding but I must note, I’m always a sucker for moscow mules that are served in a copper mug. You’d be surprised that a lot of steakhouses don’t carry copper mugs for some reason, even though it is standard for this particular drink. It really makes a difference. They had one here and I ordered it with Tito’s Vodka, my go-to gluten free liquor. My girlfriend had a dirty martini with Tito’s. She isn’t gluten free but likes that vodka better then others.
After our first drinks we wanted a bottle of wine. Before celiac, whiskey and beer were my beloveds. Now, it is Tito’s vodka and wine. I’m not a wine snob by any means but my girlfriend has introduced me to how good it can be. Plus almost all wines are safe, except for the very random few that are stored in barrels with wheat paste before bottling. We ordered a bottle of pinot grigio called Keissler, I think, and it was amazing. Very much like the popular Santa Margharita but better. No gut reaction here. I’ll be looking for this one in the liquor store aisles.
The waiter we had was outstanding and very knowledgeable about celiacs disease. He told us he was a chef for most of his career for a prominent restaurant in NYC. Apparently he had friends who were celiac and cooked for them often. Very knowledgeable and experienced. He knew what to do with my order and oversaw all preparations. The only reason I docked a point was because I couldn’t tell if training at Liberty Prime had anything to do with how good he was or if he was just personally very experienced. I assume the latter but after all, this is a Liberty Prime review.
Menu Honesty (N/A)
They didn’t have a gluten free menu and didn’t label anything on the menu as gluten free. No disclaimers, notations, nothing. This is pretty standard at steakhouses now-a-days so I was surprised. The server definitely made up for it though, but will all the servers be as good as the one we had?
Did I Get Sick (NO)
My gut and my taste buds were best friends after this meal. No internal fighting, riots or picketing. I did feel like I was pregnant leaving the place but otherwise complete harmony inside.
Overall I recommend this place. The food was good, although other similar upscale steakhouses are a bit better. The drinks were fantastic and we had a great server.
With that said, I couldn’t justify giving it a higher rating for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that it didn’t have a gluten free menu or any labeling on the main menu. Although the service was fantastic, the gluten free experience was entirely dependent on this one server. I don’t know if they train other servers or if the chefs can handle gluten free without someone hovering over them. So my next experience might be totally different.
Remember, good food, drinks and service weigh heavy on these scores, but the overall gluten free experience is what ultimately determines the final score. These reviews are based mostly on my experience but partly to setup the expectation for your future experience here as well. If they had a gluten free menu, labeling or obvious gluten free training then the rating would be higher.