Astoria restaurant caters to steak lovers

Joel Reiss is the chef at new Astoria/Long Island City steakhouse S Prime. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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As the chef for S Prime, a new steakhouse in the Dutch Kills area of Astoria/Long Island City, Joel Reiss said he strives to maintain a restaurant that serves high-quality food while being intimate and customer-friendly.

“It’s a steakhouse, but they feel they’re home as well,” Reiss said of the customers. “We try to give them the ‘wow’ factor without having to cross the bridge.”

S Prime, at 35-16 36th St., opened in August. Owners Larry Cerullo and Steve Tallides are part of the S Hospitality Group, which owns the popular sports bar and event space Studio Square on the same block and the Greek restaurant Cavo in Astoria.

“The owners felt there was a need for a restaurant of this caliber,” Reiss said.

The Whitestone-born Reiss started working in restaurants on Bayside’s Bell Boulevard at the age of 14, and graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island’s College of Culinary Arts. Since then, he has cooked in multiple restaurants on the East Coast but has worked in Manhattan for most of his life, including a long stint working for famous restaurateur and one-time “Iron Chef” contestant David Burke.

S Prime lured him back to his home borough, however.

“I met the owners here,” Reiss said of his hiring at S Prime. “I walked in the restaurant and I fell in love with this place.”

S Prime seats 93 downstairs at its restaurant and bar, but also has private dining a la carte rooms upstairs. The menu focuses on steaks, which are organic and dry-aged on the premises, but also serves a wide selection of seafood. Appetizers cost about $13 to $16 and entrees start at $28 and can go up to $60.

Reiss said he buys local whenever possible and plans to purchase vegetables from the Long Island City rooftop farm called Brooklyn Grange come the warmer months.

“I try to buy great ingredients and let them speak for themselves,” Reiss said.

S Prime also serves craft beers, specialty cocktails and 220 different wine bottles. Drinks start at $14. Bottles of wine can range in price from $42 to $3,000.

Reiss said he is also willing to acquire items for customers not on the menu.

“If I had a customer who wanted something and they gave me a day’s notice, I’d get it for them,” he said.

In addition to the regular offerings, S Prime offers a specialty dinner once a month. The restaurant will host a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner in February prix fixe for $125 per person.

“It’s a fun, great spot,” Reiss said. “It’s new, intimate.”

For more information visit

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 9:02 pm, January 31, 2013
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