The name Ken Oringer has been synonymous with success since the famed chef opened his first restaurant, Clio, here in 1997. Since then he has several other restaurants
to his credit, including Uni, KO Prime, La Verdad and Toro as well as a coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast. From a sashimi bar and a Spanish tapas restaurant to a Mexican cantina and modern steakhouse, Oringer's menus include quality beef, pork and lamb, as well as an impressive seafood selection.
We visited clubby KO Prime headed up by Oringer's Executive Chef Josh Buehler one recent weekday evening and the beautifully decorated restaurant was filled to near capacity. Located on the second floor inside the Nine Zero Hotel on Tremont Street and across the street from the Boston Common, the steakhouse focuses on generous portions served up in an intimate setting. The upscale cocktail lounge is always packed with an after-work crowd snacking on the bar menu's affordable snacks and famous KO cheeseburger, one of the city's best, topped with Grafton cheddar and a secret sauce.
We started off with a sampling of the shrimp cocktail prepared ceviche style chilled and served with a side of lime and fried plantains, which, along with the fresh bread basket, were exceptionally good for dipping and savoring the extra ceviche. Our server suggested we place our remaining order once the shrimp arrived and advised there can be a lengthy wait between dishes if we did not. We took her suggestion and once our orders were placed, the chef sent out a goose egg with lamb belly bacon, which was delightfully rich. Don't miss the enormous Caesar salad platter here. All of the salad greens are grown on the restaurant's rooftop while all of the fresh vegetables come from small area farms.
There is also a good selection of seafood on the menu here, including oysters and escargot for appetizers. A unique offering was the roasted bone marrow with beef tongue marmalade while the less adventurous can steer towards the daily assortment of charcuterie.
Steaks here are the focal point served a la cart but the sides are large enough to share for the entire table. We sampled the bone-in rib chop, a juicy cut of tender beef seared to a medium rare perfection. The New York strip steak was equally good with an ideal amount of savory marbling. An absolute must here is the rich and creamy short rib macaroni and cheese while the mixed mushrooms provided the perfect complement to our steaks.
Unfortunately, we were too incredibly full for dessert but the selection included pumpkin cake with mascarpone cream, pineapple sorbet, and a roasted apple tart. The dark chocolate marquise with buttery popcorn ice cream and caramel sauce sounded intriguing. Insider's Note: All-you-can-eat prime rib dinners are available weekly on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for just $29.95 per person. KO Prime is located at 90 Tremont Street, Boston. For reservations or more information, visit www.koprimeboston.com.