Prime on 4th entered the downtown Huntington scene in 2014 with some excitement and great buzz. A year later, it’s fun to see that the excitement and buzz remains and that this restaurant is quickly becoming a dining powerhouse in the city core.
On the ground floor of the West Virginia building, Prime on 4th occupies the space most recently filled by Huntington Prime (no relation). The 48-seat restaurant is elegantly decorated by use of rich tones, dark woods, and a contemporary urban flair. It features a great bar area, nice, big windows in the front, and an open-fire oven tucked away in the back. Overall it’s intimate, romantic, and vibrant. And though most food bloggers don’t comment on restrooms, we’re not most bloggers and we’re going to comment, dang it – they’re really tastefully done!
Staff wise one is always welcomed with a very friendly and organized hostess and the servers are always knowledgeable and delightful – at least, that’s been the case in the, oh, 12-15 times we’ve been there. Also, bartenders have not only the skills, but creative concoctions as well – definitely worth some merry exploration on your end. On the management end it appears that this restaurant is in really good hands. Invested in the community, dedicated to the staff, and committed to quality – not much more could be asked for on that front.
Now, the main event. The food. Our first of the two trips came during Huntington’s inaugural Restaurant Week where restaurants offered three course meals, often with new specials.
Appetizer: Deviled Egg Trio – old-fashioned, anti-pasto, banana-peppered
For as popular of a food as deviled eggs are, they don’t tend to be regular menu items across restaurants. As is the case with a lot of their offerings, Prime likes to take the conventional and spritz it with a little extraordinary and it really pays off with their deviled eggs. Your eyes may skip right over them when deciding on an appetizer but i ask you to reconsider, they are unlike any deviled egg you’ve had! The fact that they flash deep fry them should pique you interest and for good reason, it’s quite tasty.
Kati’s Order: Prime Meatloaf –
buttermilk-chive mashed potatoes (subbed in cheddar-chive tater tots), wild mushrooms, crispy brussels, chili onion rings, BBQ gravy
Review: I know what you may be thinking– why would I ever go to a nicer restaurant and order a dish that grandma makes… Well, no offense to your grandma, but unless she grounds up filet, sirloin and short rib for her meatloaf, you may be pleasantly surprised at the quality of this entree! Wait, have I mentioned the BBQ gravy?? Not only does the meat fall apart in your mouth, the sauce is plentiful and packs a burst of flavor with each bite. The crunchy onions on top add to the texture experience of this dish as well. The brussel sprouts came standard with the dish, and that’s fine with me. They weren’t soggy and had just a bit of crispy edge to them. I did sub the mashed potatoes for one of the tastiest morsels in the world: cheddar-chive tator tots. Imagine the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever had in a small, deep fried bite size pieces of heaven. Each bite is a total explosion of awesomeness! Finally, as if you needed another reason to try this entree out, it is one of the best deals on the menu as far as portion is concerned. The meatloaf and onion rings themselves are hearty, but as it comes with two sides, chances are you’ll need a box!
Honestly, not much i would change about this dish. There was a small hiccup as the temperature of the meat came out more done than what i ordered, but that was addressed promptly and politely. Once i was able to dig in, i was greeted by a masterful coordination of flavors and pairings. The meat was delicate and nicely cooked, and the quail egg on top gave it some flair. The vegetables went very well with the rest of the dish but what brought everything together in harmony was the pancetta buerre rouge (red butter sauce) – it was the link between each bite and certainly intensified the dish. I thought the presentation was lovely as well. Only unfortunate part is that it is not regularly featured on the menu, so i hope that it will be one of the specials on one of my upcoming visits.
Dessert: Apple Buckle
Only try this if you have an interest in delicious desserts. It’s like taking a bite into your favorite aunt’s apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream. The caramel on top is a very nice touch.
Appetizer: Animal Fries – served with bacon, fried eggs, whole grain mustard, mozzarella cheese curd, gravy
This is easily one of our favorite things on the menu. Granted, might not be the healthiest option one could make, especially considering the portion, but sometimes it’s imperative to make these kinds of sacrifices. The hand cut fries would taste great by themselves but all the toppings make this one of the best appetizers in town!
Kati’s order: Pecan and Honey Fried Chicken – chicken breast with honey and apple butter,
rustic potatoes (hearth-fired mac and cheese)
When Prime on 4th first opened, I had chicken that was a bit dry. I don’t like to judge an entree by one experience, particularly if it is something I really think I would enjoy with a simple adjustment. I am so glad I gave it another shot! This time, the chicken was perfectly juicy with a crunchy outside. The sauce was ooey gooey and the right sweetness to match up with the crisp, fresh green beans this dish is paired with. I did make a substitution for the rustic potatoes, because it’s hard for me to say no to the mac & cheese here. So cheesy and with little bits of bacon (that I pick out and give to will) and apple, it’s a unique twist on a classically yummy dish.
Will’s order: Prime Angus Ribeye – 16 oz cut,
salt and vinegar frites (cheddar-chive tator tots), roasted local vegetables
I actually rarely order steak when going out because i’m usually rather disappointed when the flavors i anticipate or hope for never materialize enough to justify paying for one of the more expensive items on the menu. Prime hadn’t let me down before, it had earned my trust, so should i risk it? Indeed i did and the outcome? To put it simply: i didn’t want it to end. The ribeye at Prime is a win! Grilled to perfection, succulent, and tons of flavor. We had fries for an appetizer so that gave me the perfect excuse to sub in the cheddar-chive tator tots that have taken hold of my heart, and i was one very satisfied customer. Vegetables were fresh and let me just take the time to applaud the fact that they were locally sourced – any time a restaurant looks local first it does wonders for the economy and environment, so bravo.
A word from the Prime on 4th team:
What was your vision/goal when conceptualizing your restaurant?
Our restaurant is made up of many team members who have chosen to return to Huntington from around the country. We all returned to a resurgent Huntington, WV, and we want to contribute to that success. Our vision is to create a community-driven restaurant that strives to not only offer unique food offerings and superior service, but to weave into many facets of what downtown Huntington has to offer and help foster that growth.
What sets Prime on 4th apart?
Our combined experience and team atmosphere set us apart. Every single member of our team takes responsibility for each item of service we perform. We are all in Huntington because we see its greatness. And we are all at Prime on 4th because we want to contribute to and be part of that greatness.
WHEN TO GO: Anytime really. They just started offering lunch (which we’ve not checked out just yet); dinner is a must; Sunday brunch is worthy of your attention. Also, they now have catering available.
BEST PART: Animal Fries; cheddar-chive tater tots
WHAT SETS IT APART: “Tappalachian” portion of the menu has wonderfully creative spins to classic appetizers; go on your birthday for a neat treat (be sure to bring your ID); when the bill comes it’s a unique ending to your experience there, you’ll see what we mean.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: This restaurant is really doing so many things right. If we were to get really picky, we would like to see a little more creativity on their brunch menu.
HOW TO FIND IT: 910 4th Avenue, Huntington or http://www.primeon4th.com
OVERALL RATING (please visit our first post to see our scale, it’s different than most):
4 Tandems – Amazing!/Can i eat the other customers’ leftovers?
HINT FOR NEXT MONTH’S BLOG: This local favorite uses the slogan “where we do things differently.”