Taichungers sometimes forget what many outsiders–including Taipei visitors–love about this city: Its many world-class dining experiences for very reasonable prices. I was reminded of this when revisiting The Prime – Grill & Lounge on the top floor of Millennium Hotel Taichung.
The upscale, soothing ambiance is wonderful day or night, with a high curving wooden ceiling and glass wall providing great views of the surrounding high-rises. I was seated in an especially private corner which, Chef Eric Ho informed me, is a favorite spot for wedding proposals. Fridays and Saturdays (7-9:45 p.m.) there’s also some pleasant live music.
From among six daily business lunch sets, I opted for the 6-ounce USDA Prime Flat Iron Steak (NT$980). Other tempting options include American SRF Pork Tenderloin (NT$980), Canada Live Boston Lobster (NT$1,680) and USDA Prime Beef Tenderloin (NT$1,680). The meal (including bread and coffee/tea) started with a Caesar salad topped by tasty strips of steak, prepared sous-vide style for extra tenderness, followed by a Butter Squash Portage soup filled with a mix of seafood, from crab conchiglie to tiny dried shrimp. The juicy, flavorful main-course steak, prepared at a recommended medium-rare, was beautifully presented with vegetables, a pear slice, dab of aged black-garlic paste, dried garlic slices, and dash of beetroot sauce. It’s served with three salts–sea, red wine, and black–and a choice of truffle, mustard, or red wine sauces on the side. This filling, exquisite meal ended with a chocolate-coated walnut mousse cake surrounded by fruit.
The Prime’s regular lunch/dinner menu has 10 main courses (NT$980-2,780 a la carte; NT$1,680-3,780 set) with a focus on top-grade dry and wet aged beef (plus pork, salmon, lobster, lamb). Chef Ho notes that all US beef is USDA Prime Angus, and there’s AA9 Australian and A5 Japanese Wagyu beef. With 26 years of experience and lots of Mediterranean culinary influences, he prides himself on healthy cuisine, fresh-made with quality ingredients, noting that similar offerings in Taipei regularly sell in the NT$6-7,000 range.
Complementing the dining experience here is a sizable bar with cocktails and other drinks and well-stocked wine cellar. There are also private rooms (10-30 people) for special occasions.
Do not drink and drive
The Prime – Grill & Lounge 極炙牛排館
77, ShiZheng Rd, 24F, Xitun Dist (Millennium Hotel Taichung)
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm (last order 2 pm), 6-11 pm (last dining order 9 pm; bar open to 11 pm)
10% service charge. Credit cards accepted.