Power-dine at the District’s top restaurants for choice cuts—and deal-making.
The dining room at Charlie Palmer Steak, a favorite among members of Congress.
In DC, more deals go down in steakhouses than on Capitol Hill. Whether beefing up an in-party allegiance or carving out a compromise with a colleague from across the aisle, these five prime spots are perfect for conducting serious business over some seriously good food.
Surf & Turf Perfection
Executive Chef Joe Palma presides over a menu at Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-944-2026) that balances tradition and trailblazing. “If you want a wedge salad, steak, baked potato, and chocolate cake, you can do it,” he says. Or you can sidestep the classics by indulging in an epic two-tier shellfish tower, a quartet of caviars, and artful appetizers, such as hamachi crudo brightened with grapefruit-cured golden beets. Regardless of the route you take, your meal at this popular Georgetown institution ends with a breathtaking barrage of almost-too-pretty-to-eat petit fours—almost.
Sharing the Aisle
When Congress is in session, Hill luminaries go to Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW, 202-547-8100) to see and be seen. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are regulars, but plenty of their Republican counterparts go often as well. “We don’t cater to one party or the other,” says Executive Chef Jeffery Russell. “We just focus on hospitality.” Both parties rack up big bills. The steakhouse sells 1,000 pounds each of filet mignon and hand-cut fries during a busy week.
It’s an understatement to say Del Campo’s (777 I St. NW, 202-289-7377) chef-owner Victor Albisu loves grilling. Every item on his menu at his ambitious Latin steakhouse gets a fiery kiss—from an Old Fashioned cocktail featuring smoked cherries and a burrata Caprese salad riff with blackened tomatoes to a sprawling selection of steaks. Tender and flavorful, the popular Tomahawk cut arrives with a handlebar bone jutting from one side, almost begging you to it eat with your hands. Please demur. After all, you don’t want to leave with charred bits all over your clothes.
By Land & Sea
Miami import Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (750 15th St. NW, 202-489-0140) is best known for its head turning platters of crab claws, which are deserving of every diner’s attention. However, the steaks turned out by Café Saint-Ex vet Billy Klein are equally worthy of fandom. A delicious volcanic sear gives way to a ruby-red core on the medium-rare, bone-in rib eye. Make sure you save some room for sides—like deep-fried asparagus and sweet potatoes with a decadent maple-praline-pecan butter—and at least one slice of pie for dessert.
Rural Society’s Bife de Chorizo (rib eye) with chimichurri and salsa criolla is a highlight of chef Jose Garces’s Latin steakhouse cuisine.
Taking his cues from Buenos Aires—where the cuisines of Argentina and Italy intertwine—Iron Chef Jose Garces has created the cowboy-themed South American steakhouse Rural Society (1177 15th St. NW, 202-587-2617). Come hungry. The menu overf lows with wood-grilled meats, charcuterie galore, pastas, and thick-crusted pizza-like fugazzas. Stay refreshed with a wine list that favors Latin varietals and more than 75 kinds of whiskey. Following such serious indulgence, it’s time to saddle up the horses and ride off into the sunset.