By Lauren R. Giannini
At The Prime Steakhouse, you might find yourself tempted to request one of everything on the menu — beef, lobster, seafood, and side dishes, including onion rings, several kinds of potatoes, sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus, and Lobster Macaroni & Cheese (see recipe).
“The Prime is one of the finest dining experiences one can enjoy while living in Aiken — exceptional beef, like a New York steakhouse,” said Boyd Martin, an international level High Performance eventing rider. “The restaurant has amazing atmosphere and the owner-operator, Randy Stamm, is a big music fan. You walk in and on TV screens there might be the Rolling Stones, Guns & Roses or AC-DC. My wife, Silva, and I have eaten there a number of times. It’s great!”
Good beef is a passion for Chef Randy. He cut his teeth growing up in a family of New York City restaurateurs, and started working in steakhouses run by his father and grandfather when he was 16. The third generation to be involved in the cattle ranch his family owns in Wyoming, he gets his beef delivered whole, then he custom-butchers. He’s quite particular about dry-aged beef and prime beef, chicken and sea bass — in fact, whatever he puts on the menu. He keeps a lobster tank on the premises, stocked with 3- and 5-pound lobsters.
“I’m running the quintessential big-city steakhouse in Aiken,” said Chef Randy. “My motto’s always been: If I can’t produce it like I like it, I make it myself.”
Nearest and dearest to this Chef’s heart is a bone-in filet. “You need the loin bone in to get 10 times the flavor and tenderness,” he explained. “It’s a unique item on a menu. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you ruin it. I’m a butcher; I cut meat every day, and I dry-age all my own beef right here.”
Chef Randy has referred to The Prime Steakhouse as his retirement restaurant, but he’s about to launch a new project. “At one time, I owned 38 steakhouses from New York City to Las Vegas,” he said. “I was retired for about eight years, but I got back into it with The Prime, and I guess we do 150 covers most nights. But I’m very excited about my new restaurant, Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, which I’m opening early this summer about 20 minutes away in Edgefield.”
Nonna’s will feature family-style meals, accompanied by handmade pastas from imported durum semolina with handmade gluten-free pasta also on the menu. Entrees will be priced moderately ($14–18) and will include salad and pasta.
“The Prime’s open seven nights a week for dinner and we stay very busy,” said Chef Randy. “I’m looking forward to opening Nonna’s. I’m not the only one who loves good Italian. For relaxation, I cook lunch for my friends. Many of them ride — they support me and I want to support them. I don’t know anything else and I’m a people-pleaser.”
The Prime Steakhouse: casual, including horse, golf and polo attire.
Lobster Macaroni & Cheese
16 ounces elbow macaroni
1 quart heavy cream
½ pound goat cheese
½ pound cheddar
4 cups shredded mixed cheeses
2 cups parmesan cheese
1 pound diced lobster meat
Boil elbow macaroni & drain. Set aside.
Combine all other ingredients in pan and simmer until cooked to silky consistency.
Add macaroni to mixture and let cool.
Put in glass or ceramic ovenproof cookware and sprinkle Panko bread crumbs on top.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until top is crispy-browned.