Food & Drink

This new Clovis steak house says it has the ingredients to join the upscale scene

13 Prime Steak wows customers with ambiance, food and cocktails

13 Prime Steak bar manager demonstrates the makings of La Cuenta, a cocktail offered at the restaurant’s full bar.
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13 Prime Steak bar manager demonstrates the makings of La Cuenta, a cocktail offered at the restaurant’s full bar.

If you like juicy steaks, creative cocktails and an atmosphere that’s hip and cool, then 13 Prime Steak in Clovis is worth a visit.

More than a decade in the making, the area’s newest steak house promises to leave an impression. Owners John and Falina Marihart are big on details from the handmade steampunk artwork anchored behind the bar to the massive, hand-cut, 40-ounce Tomahawk steak on the menu.

The restaurant is located on the northeast corner of Willow and Nees in the Parkway Trails Shopping Center.

“When we say prime around here we are talking about more than just the grade and quality of our meat,” Falina Marihart said. “We are talking about surrounding our customers with people who who have unique specialties, including our chefs, bartenders and service staff. We want you to have a prime experience.”

Executive chef Tommy Chavez’s skill and love of a good steak takes center stage on 13 Prime’s menu. He’s honed his mastery of meat at several restaurants, including Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant, The Tachi Palace Casino and Ruth’s Chris Steak House where he served as executive chef.

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The black coffee rubbed ribeye steak, served at 13 Prime Steak, photographed Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 in Clovis ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

Meat lovers will have an array to choose from on Chavez’s menu. There’s the black coffee rubbed rib eye with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and black coffee barbecue sauce.

“It really has some amazing flavors,” Chavez said. “Our coffee rub has espresso, chile pepper and paprika and it gives the meat a nice smoky taste.”

Also starring on the menu is the Colorado Rack of Lamb served with a bourbon glaze, Creole-spiced white beans, spiced pecans and a seasonal vegetable.

All of 13 Prime’s steaks are certified Angus beef and wet-aged a minimum of 28 days. They are seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and cooked at high temperatures, up to 1,500 degrees. in a specially designed broiler.

“You get this really nice crust on the outside and the meat remains juicy on the inside,” said Jason Quigley, the restaurant’s general manager.

Other steaks offered include an 8-ounce filet mignon, 16-ounce New York strip, 16-ounce rib eye, 20-ounce bone in New York strip and 20-ounce bone in rib eye. And for a real meaty experience, there is the 40-ounce Tomahawk steak that can feed up to four people.

Prices for the steaks range from $38 to $120.

The Mariharts know that their prices may give some diners sticker shock, but they are also confident that they can make the experience worth every penny. They say people in Fresno and Clovis are eager for more local upscale restaurants, like Annex Kitchen, arguably the hottest restaurant in Fresno right now.

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Owners John Marihart and Falinia Marihart, left, stand with executive chef Tommy Chavez, center, sous chef James Gunn, second from right, and Jason Quigley, right, at 13 Prime Steak, a new steakhouse, photographed Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 in Clovis. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

And what goes better with a juicy steak than a craft cocktail? Heading the bar is Ryan Metcalf, formerly of the Annex Kitchen.

Metcalf, who is always eager to talk about drinks, has been given free reign to develop signature cocktails for the restaurant. One of the more unique ones is called the Tomahawk Manhattan. It’s Metcalf’s ode to cooks and bartenders and includes bourbon, carpano antica vermouth, bitters and tallow. Yes, tallow. The beef fat is rendered, and infused into Four Roses bourbon. It’s triple strained and then poured into a bottle for later use.

As you drink it, the rich flavor of fat mixes with the smoothness of the bourbon.

“It’s something very different than the usual earthy, spicy or herbal drinks you find,” Metcalf said. “But people are ready to try new flavors — they don’t shy away from it. People are more prone to ask what are the ingredients in this drink, and we love that. “

And if a beef tallow cocktail is not your thing, Metcalf has plenty other options. The bar menu includes 13 craft cocktails, along with several craft beer options, including The Lost Abbey Farmhouse Lager, Barrelhouse Brewing Sweet Wild of Mine and Flying Dog Gonzo.

The bar begins serving food at 4 p.m. with a special menu while the main dining room opens at 5 p.m.

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Subdued lighting for dinner is featured at 13 Prime Steak, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018 in Clovis. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fresnobee.com

Not to be overshadowed by all the beef, Chavez also wants to tempt you with the dessert menu. On it is his version of warm bread pudding topped with praline syrup and house whipped cream. There is also bananas foster french toast, chocolate espresso cake and vanilla bean creme brulee.

The Mariharts spent hours working with designers and scouring Pinterest for ideas on what they wanted the 4,000-square foot space to look like. What they came up with is a sophisticated urban look with splashes of steampunk, a style that mixes fantasy, science fiction and industrial design.

Local artist Mike Genito created a steampunk art piece that hangs behind the bar. There are also elements of the style throughout the restaurant from the bar to the wine rack.

The look of the elegant dining room is the work of Jon Acosta. Falina Marihart collaborated with him on the muted colors of the wall.

Facing the open kitchen is a chef’s table that seats six and is available for reservations. Still in the works is a 28-seat banquet room and private patio.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday. For more information call 559-216-1313 or visit, www.13primesteak.com.

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