Monday, May 22, 2017

Morgantown Edition: Bourbon Prime a welcome replacement for Regatta Bar & Grill

Bourbon PrimeWhen the Waterfront Place Hotel transitioned to a Marriott, the restaurant inside - Regatta Bar and Grille - also changed. This process has been going on for about a year now, but the Marriott sign is finally up and the new restaurant has finally opened.

Bourbon PrimeBourbon Prime, a bourbon-inspired steakhouse, had been open only a few days before my friend, doctor and childhood role model Kacie Kidd invited me to check it out.

Bourbon PrimeSome background: I grew up probably about a mile away from Kacie, who was a year older than me in school. She was always winning awards, and I remember looking up to her when I was younger. Flash-forward like 20 years and she's now my doctor. Pretty cool. Anyway, Kacie - and her husband - know a lot about bourbon, so they had their eye on this place and were ready to pounce once that (figurative) "OPEN" light turned on.

Bourbon Prime
Bourbon Prime was created in 2017. Our vision is to provide Morgantown, West Virginia with an lively bar & restaurant, one that tells a story of the Appalachian Spirit through bourbon and steak. 
Located inside the Marriott Morgantown, overlooking the Monongahela River, Bourbon Prime provides first class service and cuisine. Much of our menu pays homage to the great American steakhouse through the culinary team’s take on “West Virginia and the Appalachian mountains.” We consistently offer locally sourced menu items, such as grass fed beef, local trout, and wild ramps native to WV. 
It is our belief that food and drink is to be celebrated, and that the dining atmosphere is incredibly important to the restaurant experience. Our attention to detail isn’t limited to just the kitchen. We have created the ultimate bar of vintage spirits, inventive cocktails, choice craft beers, delectable wines, and of course, a bourbon menu that is sure to please even the most refined enthusiast. 
We invite you to experience the newly opened Bourbon Prime!
Bourbon Prime
So, I walked over after work, and I'm relieved the construction is finally finished and has given way to a really beautiful, modern entrance. If you walk to the right side, past the bar and to the hostess stand, you'll be right in the dining room. It's a bit separate from the lobby, but not much. The seating is a deep blue, there are some cool modern fixtures, a large chalkboard-esque corkscrew piece of art, a lovely pizza oven, and I loved the JQ Dickinson salt and pepper on each table - a nice WV touch.

Bourbon PrimeLet's start with drinks. The bourbon menu is large, and they do little flights too, which is neat. Just about two years ago, I did the Bourbon Trail with Vicki. It was really a lot of fun, a crazy busy adventure, and I learned a lot about bourbon and really developed an appreciation for it.

Bourbon PrimeOne of the really cool things about Bourbon Prime is that they have a special "Woodford Reserve Country Roads Blend" that is a private barrel selection made exclusively for the restaurant. Kacie ordered one of these neat (just plain), while I got a cocktail using it called "Almost Heaven."



Almost Heaven is made with that "Country Roads" blend, as well as cardamom bitters, simple syrup and it's served in a smoked decanter. This may be my new favorite drink ever. It's slightly sweet, it's smoky, and it comes with this giant hipster ice ball that slowly melts, giving the bourbon a nice sweeter taste for me. I'm super into it.

Bourbon PrimeThe voice you hear is our server, who was just absolutely phenomenal the entire evening. She was knowledgable, and when she didn't know, she'd go find out. Super personable and fun. She had just got done explaining why she swirls it around and how it aerates it and then finishes on the presentation (it's vertical because I put it on Snapchat and had no intention of using it here, but I thought yolo).

Bourbon PrimeOK - appetizers. Kacie got the "filet poutine," which came with filet tips, fresh-cut fries, pan gravy and white cheddar cheese curds. Not bad.

Bourbon PrimeWe were also surprised with this outstanding pizza - a nice crisp, delicious fresh cherry tomatoes halved, basil, fresh mozzarella and a perfect balsamic drizzle. Classic flavors, presented beautifully. Well done, Chef Meadows.

Bourbon PrimeAnd, we were also presented with this life-changing cornbread. I'm not joking when I say this may have been one of my favorite parts of the entire meal because my mind was just blown. There are like green chiles in it, and it almost gets creamy because of that. It came with these sort of spiced apples and a whipped butter thing that I will forever dream about. This. Is. Amazing.

Bourbon Prime

For my entree, I ordered a Petite Cut Filet, which is 6 oz. Steaks come in three kinds of quality grade: Prime (the best), Choice and Select. These are based on various carcass quality factors, like marbling (even fat distribution), maturity of the animal, meat color and a few other things.

Bourbon PrimeThe menu says they serve only USDA Choice or higher, so there's a possibility you could get a Prime steak, but I'm guessing they're more likely Choice - which is still a good steak. They are seasoned with a JQ Dickinson blend and grilled.

Bourbon PrimeMy steak was cooked perfectly medium (rare to see that - ha, get it?), and the light salt seasoning made it sing. It's a beautiful marriage of flavors. That dollop of chivey butter just sealed it. Very well-thought out flavor pairings. We tried the side of the bourbon glaze, which was good - if not a bit sweet. The steak was just so damn good on it's own, all it needed were my tastebuds.

Bourbon PrimeOn the side, I got the "pale ale mac & cheese" because of who I am as a person. If there's mac & cheese on the menu, there's going to be mac & cheese in my belly. This was a good version - just a nice little bit of browning, lots of creamy cheese at the bottom.

Bourbon PrimeMy dining partners in crime enjoy the steak and the pappardelle (above), respectively.

Bourbon PrimeAnd, because the drink, the three various appetizers, the main entree and a side weren't enough, we all went in for dessert.

Bourbon PrimeThe weirdest thing on the menu was the "Filthy Cherry Spoon Bread," which is spoon bread, almond brittle, "Country Roads" bourbon creme anglaise. It's apparently a take on a bread pudding (!!), which we all know is a weakness of mine. ICYMI: Bread pudding is a big thing in my family (because hello I'm super English - Nelson), so much so that there are bread pudding cook-offs at my family reunions.

Bourbon Prime
SO, this was good. It's hard to compete with nostalgia, but not bad. I got a scoop of vanilla gelato (from Tutto Gelato) to go with it, which was a nice bit of sweet and cool as contrast.

Bourbon PrimeThe creme brulee was good. I've had a lot of creme brulees in my life, so I unless it's something really weird or unusual, it doesn't stick out to me too much. But, this was a solid rendition.

Bourbon PrimeThe dessert winner, though, was the cheesecake. And, I love cheesecake, but sometimes cheesecake can go TOO sweet too fast and just feel far too artificial. This one, though, was not super super sweet, and the crust and bourbon flavors were divine. Very good.

Bourbon PrimeAll in all, this was a most excellent meal. While you may not immediately think a restaurant in a hotel is going to offer up a quality experience, think again. Everything from the service to the meal to the ambiance was top notch. You can even sit outside along the river if you're so inclined. On a cooler evening, I may just do that.

Bourbon PrimeIt's great to have another lunch option near work, too. Their lunch menu looks delish. I need that pepperoni roll in my life - and that Chef aAte's Chicken and Buckwheat Waffle Stack.

Bourbon PrimeKudos Chef Orr + others. Bourbon Prime is a welcome addition to town, and I'm already plotting my next meal.

Grade: A
Bourbon Prime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato