Date Night: Bourbon Steak Lounge

Steak Tartare.

Raw beef finely chopped and mixed with capers, onion, Dijon, parsley and other delicious elements. While family and friends often find it weird–and even disgusting (in theory at least, they haven’t tried it)–I managed to get my fiance, Thomas, in to it as well.  It wasn’t very hard; if you can get a person past the whole “raw meat” issue, they quickly realize how delicious steak tartare really is.

With that in mind, Thomas took me to the Bourbon Steak Lounge in Georgetown to try their steak tartare, which he fell in love with while on a business trip in Scottsdale, AZ (he likes it so much he even orders it when I’m not there!). And so, this past weekend we finally made it out there for a “last supper” of  sorts before Hurricane Sandy came crashing in.

Your eyes have to adjust a bit when you walk into the restaurant; the dim lighting and dark color palette of the space directly contrasts the bright, white and almost ascetic lobby of The Four Seasons.  The decor is classic steakhouse: dark wood, leather and silver accents.  Not the most creative, perhaps, but comforting and pleasing. Since we didn’t want to spend upwards of $70 on a steak, we opted to have a “Mad Men” style date and have cocktails and hor d’ouevres in the lounge.

The bartender was knowledgeable and friendly, but not overly so.  He was around when needed, but left us to our own conversation otherwise. I began by ordering a classic steakhouse cocktail: the martini. I ordered the BSDC Dirty Martini which features Chopin Vodka and a truffle brine. The menu describes it as “stirred” and the fact that they made the effort to specify shaken vs stirred in the menu made me think this was something important to them, like it is to James Bond. So I was a bit surprised when the bartender poured the mixture into a cocktail shaker and vigorously shook it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the only incongruity between the menu and what was received. The menu states that house cocktails are only $7-8 each, which sounded like an incredible bargain.

When we got the bill, the actual price varied but averaged around $10 each.  Perhaps it’s time to update the menu.

The cocktail was very good, the truffle brine imparted a heady earthiness when I brought the glass to my nose.  The flavor was cool and clean, a great compliment to the rich flavors of the food.

The martini and the delicious mixture of warm pretzels, pistachio, cashew and peanuts that is served when you arrive

We ordered the steak tartare (called “steak frites”), the truffle mac & cheese and the Pork Cupcake. Executive Chef Adam Sobel seems to have a sense of humor about his food.  The steak tartare is a play on the classic French dish Steak Frites.  It comes with a small amount of french fries and a ketchup/mustard aioli.  The tartare itself has a mess of crispy onions and bread crisps on top.  Presentation wise, I think the kitchen could do better. The tartare is chopped a bit less finely than I usually see at restaurants but I enjoyed the hearty texture of the beef.  For the tartare novice, this might be a turn-off however.

When first biting into the tartare, the salty capers hit my palate immediately and then gave way to the clean, pure flavor of the filet.  It is good, but I found myself longing for crisp slices of toast to pile the tartare onto and the greasy fries seem an odd accompaniment. While the steak frites idea is clever, I feel that it falls flat in reality.

Steak Frites

A pet project of Sobel’s is the pulled pork cupcake and I was excited to try it. It is a play on Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay biscuit–only fresher and less greasy. The biscuit was fluffy and very tasty. In the center of the cupcake shaped biscuit is a bit of pulled pork mixed with a sweet and slightly vinegary barbecue sauce. It was a little too sweet for my tastes, but I am someone who usually refuses desert so I would imagine the majority of the public wouldn’t find it too sweet

Pulled pork cupcake. You have to remove the wrapper first and then dig in.

Finally, we tasted the truffle mac and cheese.  Delicate is not a word typically used to describe a dish like this, but that’s exactly what it was. The cheese sauce was luxurious and lightly infused with truffles. On top were a few bright green sprigs of perfectly cooked broccoli, which Thomas and I fought over.

Truffle Mac & Cheese

As we finished our second round of cocktails, Thomas and I were feeling satisfied, relaxed and full. The lounge at Bourbon Steak is a fun place to go for a relaxed date night without having to splurge on the expensive steak in the dining room.

Another example of Bourbon Steak’s sense of humor, the back of the coasters have cheesy pick up lines and a place to write a phone number. While the restaurant is decidedly upscale, little touches like this keep it down to earth.

À votre santé,

Laura

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Categories: DC, Review

Author:apointgourmet

A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.

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