We are way out west in Miami-Dade County on the 800-acre grounds of what's now known as Trump National Doral. For more than 50 years, the PGA Tour has stopped here, and that rich history can be seen in the framed black-and-white photos of master golfers throughout the lobby.
And what a lobby it is! I'm not sure if Donald Trump's recent $250 million renovation included the addition of decorative wrought iron, but gold tipped railings are everywhere. So are acres and acres of polished marble and gilt mirrors at every turn.
And then there's BLT Prime. Once you get beyond the wrought iron gate separating lobby from restaurant, it's as if someone ran out of decorating money. The carpet is bunched. I understand clean lines, but the walls are bare.
BLT's signature complimentary Gruyere popovers come to table, not hot from the oven, but cool to the touch with creamy butter and an oversized shaker of salt.
I've ordered bacon appetizers in other steakhouses and received thick slices of crispy pork. Here, the soggy bacon ($10 for 3 slices) is topped with parsley, garlic and sherry vinaigrette.
Salads are quite good. Caesar ($13) gets the ratio of garlic to cheese just right. Lobster salad Cobb-style ($23) is a new-fashioned Cobb with bacon-red wine vinaigrette and the addition of half of a 1 3/4-pound lobster.
When our entrees arrive, I realize that on this night, there's an amateur at work in the kitchen.
A 20-ounce prime Kansas City bone-in strip ($57) is so cold that the pat of herb butter on top doesn't melt. A 10-ounce cut of American Kobe skirt steak ($48) arrives sliced with the grain instead of against the grain. The result is tough, and the chimichurri I'd ordered is invisible.
Among the side dishes we ordered was cold creamed spinach ($11) overdone with nutmeg. Potato gratin ($10) contained perhaps one very small thinly sliced potato.
The best part of the meal may have been desserts ($10 each).
Carrot cake has a nice old-fashioned spicy flavor and I loved the combination eggy crepe/soufflé topped with passion fruit sauce.
Along with better cooks, BLT Prime needs a personality, someone to orchestrate what should be a spectacular dining experience.
4400 NW 87th Ave., Trump National Doral, Doral
Cost: Very expensive
Hours: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
Credit cards: All major
Bar: Full service
Sound level: Moderate
Outside smoking: No
For kids: High chairs, menu
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Parking: $5 valet