Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Prime Rib from Gulliver's - Irvine

Given a choice of a rib eye steak or prime rib, I'll always go for the steak--except when I'm at Gulliver's. Then it has to be the prime rib.

Gulliver's serves, in my humble opinion, the finest prime rib in OC. It's always a glorious shade of pink, a perfect medium rare, so soft, so pure, an unadulterated taste of the beast. That it lacks the crusty sear of a steak matters little when the meat is this perfect—as good as a slab of roasted cow can get.

And then there are the sides: a hollow cocoon of Yorkshire pudding, creamed spinach, and creamed corned slopped onto your plare by the waitress from a big skillet. The latter two contain as much cream as it does vegetable. The richness basically double-downs on the fact that the meal is already an over-the-top indulgence. So what's a few more calories and fat?

You pour the au jus from a miniature tea kettle. It's a little weak on flavor and the horseradish isn't very strong. But it speaks to the quality of the cut that the prime rib shines regardless.

I’ve concluded that the appetizers here are unnecessary. The pork belly cubes are plated with unattractive glops of an unidentified substance that muddies and muffles the crispy pork.

The crab-stuffed mushrooms swim in a superfluous cream sauce and a gob of sour cream. It all seems like overkill until you realize it's probably how they served those dishes when the place opened in 1970.

Look around and nothing seems to have been updated since then. Gulliver’s is an old school relic cut from the same cloth as Steak and Ale and Cask N' Cleaver, a place your Baby Boomer parents went to spend their first paycheck.

The dining rooms are darkly lit, and full of booths and fireplaces. The waitresses are dressed like wenches. It's kitschy. It's unhip. It’s a shame they don’t make places like this anymore, which is exactly why I think it is a treasure in a city like Irvine.

Gulliver's Prime Ribs of Beef
18482 MacArthur Boulevard
Irvine, CA 92612

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