Finally!!! After 2 failed attempts over the past year, we finally made it and actually had dinner at HOPR! The first time, we got there but could not be seated until everyone arrived, Meep’s meeting ran late and did not get there more than 45 minutes later so we ended up eating dinner somewhere else while waiting for him. Second time around, BK & N decided to meet us in San Jose instead of us picking them up in SFO then head to HOPR. And now finally for Meep’s birthday, SK & A made reservations and we made it!
HOPR has been around since 1949 and has been constantly packed since then. Nothing much has changed in the place over the past decades, it still looks old school and FEELS old school. HOPR has not only garnered the votes of the locals but of Food TV as well; featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations & The Best Thing I Ever Ate (the grammatical error in the title bugs the crap out of me) on Food Network.
When you walk in, the foyer displays their extensive wine selection.
Then you get to the host stand. Only when the whole party arrives, will anyone be seated. There is a bar and lounge where patrons are directed to as they wait for a table.
Massive place, that doesn’t look big from the front but towards the rest room there is more dining space (about twice the size of the main area)
Menu is straightforward; the only thing they offer is Prime Rib & a Seasonal Fish dish. Does anyone really order fish here??
The wine list on the other hand was extensive! Over a dozen of choices for wine by the glass and even more by the bottle.
I love watching this guy who carts around the giant Zeppelin containing the hunks of meat. All he does is hang out with his cart and go table to table to carve meat. And until he gets to you, the table is served with side after side after side.
The meat is 21 day aged prime rib, crusted with salt and cooked in the oven for hours before being trimmed for the meat cart
After ordering, a slew of sides just kept coming.
Starting with Sour Dough
The bread was so good that we gladly obliged when offered a second roll. Came to the table piping hot, nice crusty exterior and dense but fluffy centre. Delicious!!
Isn’t this adorable? The corn bread is shaped in the form of a cob of corn. *grin* I loved the corn bread, it was served piping hot. Nice crusty and dense centre – sweet and savoury and fairly moist. I polished 2 of them so easily.
Salad w House Dressing
The salad is prepared at the table; where the server does thing spinning thing with the salad bowl set in a giant vat of ice. Served pretty darn cold, which we all appreciated along with cold forks~ A tad overdressed so our greens were getting quite limp but the dressing was so delicious we didn’t care. It was like a cross between Caesar, Thousand Island & Ranch dressing – sounds ridiculous but I am serious!
Creamy, rich, slightly cheesy and had a nice tang to it. It was romaine lettuce, beets and unidentifiable bits (all good though).
The sides offered with the meats were Creamed Spinach or Creamed Corn & Baked Potato or Mashed & Yorkshire Pudding.
City Cut w Mash & Creamed Corn $35.45
Requested rare and looks pretty rare to me~ Sitting in a pool of au jus with mash potatoes and gravy. The creamed corn is served on the side. The city cut is advertised as a small cut for the small appetite and that is pretty accurate. It is about half the size of all the other options; sliced thinner sans bone.
House of Prime Rib Cut w Mash & Creamed Spinach $37.85
Requested medium rare and got served pretty much medium rare, don’t ya think? About an inch thick and attached to the bone, about 2/3 the size of the largest Henry cut but still a very generous portion.
King Henry VIII Cut w Mash & Creamed Spinach $39.85
The Henry cut is amazing! Giant slab of about over 1/2 a pound of prime rib on a bone. We ordered it rare and it was pretty darn close to rare. Over an inch thick, and gave me a strange satisfaction when I was able to cut a large morsel of juicy beef and chew into it. The meaty natural juices were amazing; even without the jus the meat has great flavours (the benefits of being baked in a salt crust). The jus was intense and had well developed flavours.
The mash was delicious! Almost a cross between potato puree and mash, topped with thick gravy that was pretty much the au jus but thickened.
I didn’t care much for the spinach. It was a little strange, very creamy and buttery but had a distinct flavour that I could not decipher.
English Cut w Baked Potato & Creamed Corn $37.85
I enjoyed this cut of meat the most. I ordered it medium and it came pretty close to the way I like it. Pink yet not bloody. The thin cuts absorbed the jus and so packed more flavours than the other cuts. Probably not so much of the natural flavours follow through because of it. That being said, every bite was tender, juicy and darn tasty. There was just the right amount of fat to give it the extra flavour but not so much that it is just cut off and disposed. My favourite part was the outer crust which is a tad saltier and so much flavour from the rock salt that it was crusted with while cooking. I might just have to request for the end cuts next time!
I forgot to take a picture of the sides because I just started shoving meat in my mouth. The Idaho baked potato was delicious – loaded with an insane amount of sour cream, chives, salty bacon bits and butter. The toppings were all of great quality and fresh, while the potato was baked through perfectly. Delicious!!!
The creamed corn was meh… Not very good, pretty much reminiscent of canned cream corn. But that could be just me. Neither creamed sides appealed to me at all.
The Yorkshire pudding came to the table in a bronze pan, cut into two pieces and served on top of our beef. Used as a tool for soaking the delicious Au Jus but I was too busy with everything else to eat more than a bite. It was soft, egg-y with a slightly moist centre.
2 glasses Conundrum $7.50 each – Meh… Not great, tasted like the bottle has been opened for a while.
Cake Cutting Service $16 ($4 each)
(I did not know the cake cutting charge was that expensive, but we did not get charged for our coffees & teas so I guess it is all good~)
2 Coffees (Complimentary but typically $2.95 each) – Medium roast coffee, not bad..
1 Tea (Complimentary but typically $2.95 each)
Total Damage: $237 (including tax & tip)
Personal Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Very very good)
When we finished our slabs of meat and proceed towards a food coma; we were offered a second smaller serving but had to turn it down. With all the sides and generous portions, we were beyond stuffed! I think other than the city cut, they offered all the other cuts second servings.
The prime rib is excellent! Definitely the place to go to satisfy any beef craving – aged beautifully so the meat is so tender regardless of the cooked temperature. There is a cut for everyone and amazingly portioned according to the requested temperature.
Service was great! Our server was excellent; very personable without being overly chatty. He was friendly, attentive and goes the extra mile. Got our picture taken with the in-house point & shoot with a picture all printed in a “house of prime rib” card. Greatly appreciated since I forget to take non-food photos during dinners.
The moment we walked in with the birthday cake, the host offered to refrigerate it; and mentioned if we were too full to cut the cake, just let them know and they can just bring it out whole w/o cutting. We didn’t even have to remind them about the cake, when plates were cleared – our cake was brought out w candles and a birthday song (cheesy but sweet). Everything about this place is just so classic – the old English decor, servers’ uniforms, the tableside service, picture taking and of course the food!
Overall, it was a great night with good food and excellent service. What more can one ask for.
1906 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 885 4605