Newly opened 13 Prime Steak now holds bragging rights to being Clovis’ only locally owned and operated steakhouse. Valley residents will revel in the elegant, upscale dining experience that the ladies of Shake+Stir’s ninth edition had the pleasure of savoring. Hosted by CVLUX’s Donna Ensom, Janine Stephenson, Jody Hudson, Miranda Jones, and Kim Bryant sampled an array of five cocktails, six menu items, and three unplanned desserts…because everyone was having just too much fun to leave after dinner. Once you check out 13 Prime Steak, you’ll surely be coming back, and staying longer, for dessert and one more drink, too.
Named for being 13 years in the making, owners John and Falina Marihart told themselves they’d open a restaurant when their son turned that age. So when the perfect opportunity presented itself at just that time, the Mariharts teamed up with friend and Executive Chef Tommy Chavez to create a place that features American Regional cuisine. 13 Prime Steak calls their restaurant “Chef driven,” and indeed, Chef Tommy’s food is well-known and admired in the Central Valley. Only the finest quality ingredients are used in every freshly prepared, house-made dish.
Located on the northeast corner of Willow and Nees in Clovis, 13 Prime Steak boasts a cool toned, steampunk-inspired décor. The 16-seat bar and contemporary dining room emits an intimate sense, though the facility is, in fact, 4,000 square feet. A shiny display kitchen even allows patrons to get a peek of the chefs in action. If a private banquet room is more appropriate for your occasion, theirs can seat up to 30 guests. Just be mindful that the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The bar opens at 4 o’clock every day, while dinner is served from 5 o’clock to 9:30 from Tuesday through Thursday, then until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday nights.
As the ladies took their seats, they couldn’t help but admire the gorgeous, moody bouquets adorning the table, created by Stems at the Palatine. The arrangements notably featured blue hydrangeas, burgundy eucalypti, and green sunflowers, their dark colors perfectly acknowledging the arrival of cold-weather florals.
The first cocktail was already waiting at everyone’s place setting. “Oh, that’s a good one. It really sets the palate,” mused Jody as she sipped the West Side Joe—an instant crowd favorite. The vodka base is mixed with lime juice, mint syrup, and cucumber, and is refreshing any time of the year.
Then came the Root Beer Glazed Bacon. “Hand that one to me!” Editor in Chief David Manning eagerly exclaimed. “I’ve never had bacon like this…” and that’s coming from a bacon-lover. You’ve never had bacon like this, either—the slab is a good half-inch thick. The unfamiliar yet delectable root beer glazing enhances the meat’s natural flavor, and is accompanied by a fennel and radish salad.
The heavenly scent of the Crispy Lobster preceded its arrival. “I’m tempted, but I’m allergic,” Janine sadly revealed. But the ladies said they’d try it for her, and judging by the lack of Crispy Lobster left, know it won’t disappoint. The tender, bite-size morsels have a crunch, are coated in house-made pepper jelly, then served with a spicy aioli.
Arguably the most festive of the evening’s cocktails, the Turkey Trott is garnished with a skewered marshmallow doused in its namesake Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon before being toasted. “It’s a nice touch,” Miranda observed. The drink was crafted with candied yams in mind, utilizing Corbin Cash Sweet Potato Vodka, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice, house-made Tahitian vanilla syrup, and holiday syrup to create a liquid version of a holiday favorite.
Chef Tommy’s Escargot was the next hit—the use of anise makes 13 Prime’s especially unique. Janine and Donna agreed it was their favorite dish of the evening. “I love that spice, and I’ve never had it like that; so unusual,” raved Donna. Imported from France, the escargot are marinated in Pernod butter, garlic, fresh herbs, and served with French baguette.
13 Prime’s bartenders are eager to craft cocktails on the fly, especially if you’re in the mood for something not on their Premier Cocktail Program—the StaceKace is a perfect example of that willingness. Creator Stacey Voss served it herself and called it “rum-forward” for its use of light and aged rums, Aperol, lime juice, house-made Tahitian vanilla syrup, and holiday syrup.
Fried Grits—think fancy fries with ketchup, but better. And we recommend you eat these with a fork. Bars of grits are crisped and served with an incredible smoked tomato butter sauce. Jody loved the authenticity, and shared that this modern take on grits took her right back to the South.
What makes the Thank You Please cocktail so interesting is its process. Strawberry cream cheese is strained after soaking in gin for two days. Mixed with navy-strength gin, sloe gin, Aperol, lemon juice, agave, and mint, it’s surprisingly “sweet and well-rounded,” Janine remarked of the perfect pinkness.
The New Orleans BBQ Shrimp is seasoned with house-made Creole barbeque and served with a sweet potato biscuit that’s equal parts darling and delicious. “I can’t wait to come back and order this again,” said Kim—the flavors are quite complex.
The final cocktail is considered an ode to grilling gentlemen. The Tomahawk Manhattan is a concoction of bourbon, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, bitters, and, interesting enough, tallow. From the coupe glass to the lingering finish, “I loved it all!” proclaimed Miranda.
The star of the night’s show was finally presented: the 42-ounce, hand-cut, bone-in Tomahawk Ribeye. Beautifully marbled, Miranda described it best. “Amazing!” Seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked to preference, it’s served with steak butter. All of 13 Prime’s Certified Angus Beef originates in Omaha and ages at least 28 days.
By the end of the menu tasting, everyone was so deep in conversation about holiday traditions, Christmas movies, careers, and funny stories about husbands, kids, and pets that no one seemed interested in leaving. So they decided to order dessert (actually, make that three desserts) just as owner Falina came to check on the party. The Bananas Foster French Toast, Chef Tommy’s Warm Bread Pudding, and the Chocolate Espresso Cake befittingly paralleled the sweet new friendships that were forged. With this much fun being had on a weekday night, just think of the memories that await at 13 Prime Steak as the holiday season commences.