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Palm vs Sam & Harry's

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My wife and I will be traveling to DC in April 2001. We're looking for good food (of course), a good wine list, and a classy atmosphere that is very Washington.
Wife also likes VERY chocolate deserts, so a great desert menu would be a plus.

I have read a few posts about The Palm and Sam & Harry's. Of these two which would you consider the best of the best! I suppose I can't go wrong with either of these choices.

Youe help is appreciated.

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  1. I've never been to the Palm, but I can vouch for and recommend Sam and Harry's. Top notch steaks and good service. You might alternatively consider Nick and Stef's Steakhouse at 601 F Street, NW, in the MCI Center. The Washington Post reviewed this one yesterday and really liked it. (The review is posted on the Post's website.) Ruth's Chris and Morton's are other possibilities. I would avoid Smith and Wollensky's (a DC Branch of a well known NYC place); their meat quality is simply not up to the level of the other steak palaces in town. (At least that was the case last summer when I ate there.) Greg

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    1. re: Greg

      Dear out of towner: this ville is filled with steak chains, from the Capitol Grill[e] (Providence), to Smith and Wollenskys (NY), Mortons (Chi), the Palm (NY, agin), and Nik and Stef's (ElLay). The only home-grown I know of is Sam and Harry's. Should you eat there? Sure. The steaks are dry-aged, appropriately massive, and cooked to order; the caesers are lemony and eggy; the potato/onion combo is potatoey and onioney. Delicious, and pricey. The Palm? Not unless you want to ruin your meal by spotting Carvel, Rosty, or other felons now pardoned. For a great steak, try the nabe jernt; for an expensed meal, any of the above; if you must, go local. And tell Mike Sternberg I say cheers.

    2. If a $38 steak is what you're looking for, I would definitely recommend S&H over the Palm. I find non-regulars at the Palm are given the worst tables and the worst service. S&H is much more civilized. But if steak is not a requirement, I hope you would consider trying one of our better, and more unique restaurants. For a real sense of Washington, the Occidental Grill has good food in a very politico setting. One of our best local chefs runs DC Coast, a large bustling place with a varied menu. Debatably our finest seafood restaurant is Kinkade's. And if you're looking for someplace a little more subtle, try 1789 in Georgetown.

      1. The Prime Rib (2020 K Street) has a clubby Washington feel to it. It's elegant and has great Prime Rib. They have other steaks but I've never tried them.

        1. Recently hit Sam & Harry's (last week), and enjoyed it. However, it was expensive, at US$30+ for a steak. Atmosphere was 'clubby.' Palm is a bit cheaper and more modern in some ways. If you are coming to D.C., I'd recommend other fine places such as Occidental Grill, Sequoia on the Patomac River, etc.