Summer 2003

Frank Talk

Richard N. Frank gives an in depth explanation of what exactly a prime rib is and why Lawry’s The Prime Rib is the finest restaurant for dining on quality beef.

In a behind-the-scenes look at how Lawry's prepares prime rib, a chef loads prime rib into our ovens. In a behind-the-scenes look at how Lawry's prepares prime rib, a chef loads prime rib into our ovens.

Every so often someone rather sheepishly admits to me that they don’t really know what prime rib is. Actually, it’s a very good question. Most people don’t know much about Lawry’s prime rib beyond the fact that they love the way it tastes. That’s great for us, of course, but we’d like you to know how special our prime rib is, and why we take such pride in serv­ing it.

All prime rib is not created equal

To start with, “prime rib” is a misnomer. The correct name for the cut of meat commonly known as prime rib is standing rib roast or rib roast. What you see, when the Lawry’s carver raises the lid on one of our “silver” carts, is a seven-bone standing rib roast. It is a specific, extremely desirable, cut of beef. It comes from one of the most tender, flavorful parts of the animal, the rib section between the loin and the chuck.

The correct name for the cut of meat commonly known as prime rib is standing rib roast or rib roast.

Part of the confusion about prime rib involves the USDA grading system for meat, and its top grade, Prime. All prime rib is not created equal, and only a fraction qualifies to be certi­fied as USDA Prime. In fact, the prime rib served by most restaurants is from the lower-qual­ity USDA grades: Choice and Select. Most restaurants won’t tell you they’re serving a lower ­quality grade, but you’ll be able to tell from the taste, tenderness, and price. Whenever you see prime rib touted at “the best price in town,” you can be pretty sure it’s not USDA Prime.

Only three to five percent of all of the beef raised in the United States qualifies for the highest USDA grade. To be certified USDA Prime, beef must be the finest. The combination of cut (the place within the steer from which it comes), supreme quality and excellent propor­tion and distribution of fat to muscle is what makes USDA Prime graded prime rib so highly prized.

It is meltingly tender and juicy, with a rich, uniquely satisfying flavor. That’s the only kind of beef we serve at Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurants and the Five Crowns – USDA Prime graded – the best that money can buy. At the Tam O’Shanter Inn and Lawry’s Carvery, we serve Certified Black Angus beef. It, too, is exceptionally fine quality and produced in very limited quantity.

When you dine on our beef, you are getting something very special and different: extraordinary quality, superbly prepared.

Because it is so desirable and rare, you’ll almost never find USDA Prime graded or Certified Black Angus prime rib in a supermarket. Instead, sellers reserve it for the finest restaurants, like Lawry’s. When you dine on our beef, you are getting something very special and different: extraordinary quality, superbly prepared.

The next time you get a hankering for Lawry’s prime rib, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve got a taste for the best.

From the desk of Richard N. Frank

Illustration of two women clinking wine glasses together

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