Restaurants / Openings

Ben Berg’s New Steakhouse, Sushi & Korean Barbecue Restaurant Makes Timbergrove Sexy — Prime 131 Arrives With a Splash

A Former Warehouse Space Is Transformed Into a Spot Worthy of New York's Meatpacking District

BY // 03.26.24
photography Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com

Indefatigable restaurateur Ben Berg launched his latest entry into Houston’s upscale dining scene, his 13th restaurant in total, with a sizzling 1990s themed bash at the new Prime 131. This steakhouse and sushi bar is tucked into a former warehouse space at the Docks at Timbergrove.

How buzzy was it? While the party start-time was 6 pm, the bar was still rocking at 11pm on this weeknight. And the buzzword for the scene was “sexy.”

Prime 1331 Grand Opening (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)
Wesley & Cassie Sinor, Leslie & John Giannukos at the grand opening of Ben Berg’s latest restaurant Prime 131, a live-fire and sushi restaurant (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)

The site of the live fire steakhouse and sushi bar was revamped into a rustic space reminiscent of Berg’s native New York’s Meatpacking District dating back to the 1990s. Thus, the ’90s theme for the launch. Polished concrete floors, repurposed wood planks, exposed vent work and open ceiling speak to this inspiration.

The party centered around Prime 131’s four central wood-fire grills and two Josper charcoal ovens stationed directly in front of diners in the main dining room.

Prime 1331 Grand Opening (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)
Shephard Ross, Jonathan Levine at the grand opening of Berg’s latest concept, Prime 131, a live-fire and sushi restaurant (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)

“This restaurant has been marinating in my mind for a long time and I’m excited to finally bring it to life,” Berg, CEO of Berg Hospitality, notes in a release. “Our first steak-centric concept since the success of B&B Butchers nine years ago, Prime 131 is a testament to our commitment to providing unforgettable moments and exceptional food for Houstonians.”

And moments there were on this night including the always-popular 360 photo booth. Adding to the 1990s ambience were the spins by DJ Boris, think grunge, hip hop and late century dance tunes. The sounds accompanied by a soulful saxophone. In addition, Berg tapped artist and pop culture muralist Donkeeboy, aka Alex Roman Jr., to create during the party a painting reminiscent of New York street art, with a Houston bent.

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Prime 1331 Grand Opening (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)
Matthew Medina, Danielle Dubois at the grand opening of Ben Berg’s latest concept, Prime 131, a live-fire and sushi restaurant (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)

For noshing, the kitchen delivered mini crab cakes, lobster toast and tuna tartar. At the live fire station, diners were able to sample small plates of Wagyu beef sliders; baby chicken with loaded mashed potatoes, raclette cheese and truffle jus; and New York strip taken straight from the live fire grills. The sushi bar offered signature rolls and a selection of sashimi and nigiri. Desserts were on display in one of the restaurant’s two private rooms.

Berg was once again in his element.

Prime 1331 Grand Opening (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)
Renata Garcia, Julie Martin, Holly Scheps, Nicole Goodwin at the grand opening of Berg’s latest concept, Prime 131, a live-fire and sushi restaurant (Photo by Michelle Watson, Catchlightgroup.com)

PC Seen: Dana Barton and Robert Clay, Stacey and Jason Johnson, Kristen and John Berger, Cindy and Allen Case, Disney and Max Harris, Leigh and Franck Savoy, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Meg Reynolds, Sarah Schriever, Renata Garcia, Julie Martin, Holly Scheps, Nicole Goodwin, Linda and Scott Irvine, and Shephard Ross.

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