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Worst high dollar steak house experience

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What have been your most disapointing steak shops in the local area.
Meaning those white table cloth "we are special" high dollar spots.

We all have our moments on the great steak hunt.
Times when we are all set to savor, then end up surviving and paying through the nose.

My vote goes to Charlie Palmer.
Great location.
Great views and decor.
Ample service, almost non stop.

Two 18 ounce rib eye's - 6 ounces of which are bone.
Medium well was charcoal, and medium was rare.
Bok choy - cooked to slime.
Fiendly staff, great views & decor, mad men in the kitchen on fathers day.

The bill was fit for a king non the less.

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  1. I've never had a good meal at CP, and have heard of scant others that have.

    This place exists merely because of it's location on Cap Hill, and that it is an extremely convenient place for lobyists to host "receptions." Many of the other steak houses do not have the interior spaces to accomodate such gatherings.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pappy

      My advice for Charlie Palmer: Try and stay away from the steak. The foie gras apple tart tatin is awesome, with a huge slab of the good stuff. The Creme Brulee was great too.

      As for my steak, I ordered a NY strip that was slightly overcooked (more of a medium rare than rare) but was lacking in flavor. I don't care for the trio of gourmet mustards that they serve with the steaks, either.

      I wouldn't put it at the top of my worst WTC (White Table Cloth) steak experieces. Just not as good as the apps and dessert.

    2. Worse: Bobby Van's

      I don't know how this place stays in business or what's the hype about. Ordered a porterhouse medium rare and it came out burnt, with a burnt (not charred) taste to it.

      1. I've had very good meals at CP, the worst problem being tepid temperatures of the food. I'd nominate the gone but not lamented Old Homestead Steakhouse in Bethesda, which had all the pricey-ness but none of the pluses of its competition. Good riddance!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Tujague

          I second Tujague. The recently closed Old Homestead in Bethesda was not only the worst food I've ever had in a steakhouse, but the worst service too.

          I've had some fabulous meals at CP - Bryan Voltaggio is definitely a talent, and while steaks are great there, branching out can really improve your experience. I've had nothing other than first class service, and I think it's the most attractive steakhouse in the city.

          But Ray's is still my favorite.

          1. re: DanielK

            I wasn't sad to see old homestead close, either. FYI- Bice which took over that space is pretty good and approprately priced.

          2. re: Tujague

            I second Tujague. The recently closed Old Homestead in Bethesda was not only the worst food I've ever had in a steakhouse, but the worst service too.

            I've had some fabulous meals at CP - Bryan Voltaggio is definitely a talent, and while steaks are great there, branching out can really improve your experience. I've had nothing other than first class service, and I think it's the most attractive steakhouse in the city.

            But Ray's is still my favorite.

          3. I actually had an outstanding three course prix fix lunch at CP last week which included a salad, hangar steak, and fancy dessert for $20.06. My steak was cooked perfectly, service was excellent, and with a good salad and dessert was quite a deal.

            1. I second the anti-Bobby Van's vote. I've been there twice; after both meals, I found myself wishing I'd gone to the frickin' McDonalds next door instead. That's bad.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Derek

                Are you sure you're thinking of Bobby Vann's? I don't think there is a McDonalds next door to them. I'm not saying they're great, but just want to make sure you're not giving the bad report to them if you have them confused with another steakhouse in town.

                For me, I'd still say the Palm is over priced for the atmosphere. The food is on par with other places - no better than Smith and Wollensky or Morton's. But, at those places, at least you can move your elbows without bumping in to the person sitting at the next table over. I cannot stand the Palm for how close there tables ar to each other. If I'm paying that much for a meal, I'd like a little bit of privacy.

                Honestly, for the high dollar steak dinner - I like Ruth's Chris.

                1. re: DC Gal

                  Ruth's has always put out a mighty fine steak. I use their basic process at home and it never fails. However, their service can be every bit as lame as any place else. A waitress at the North Palm Beach location dumped a $50 glass of Bordeaux on one of my guests, muttered "oh, shit!" under her breath and ran away. We cleaned her up as best we could. The manager came over about twenty minutes later and mumbled an apology, never offering to comp the wine that was spilled, desert--nothing. That was it for me.

                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                    How do you go about preparing a steak Ruth's Chris style at home? Other than drowning it in butter (not a bad thing), I'd be curious to know your technique!

                    1. re: DC Gal

                      Butter is optional at Ruth's BTW. For the homeowner, they'll need a searing type of grill or oven. Probably salt and pepper on the steak, sear the steak and grill at lower temp until desired wellness. Put butter on a hot serving plate, put steak in plate, and then hear and enjoy the sizzle.

                      1. re: CK

                        I pick out some nice thick ribeyes or strips, an inch and a half or so. Coat each side w/ Paul Prudhomme's redfish seasoning (not the steak kind) and a pat of butter for each steak. Get an iron skillet good and hot on your 150,000 btu outdoor burner. An indoor stove is only a tenth this hot and you wouldn't want to do this in your house anyway. About two and a half minutes per side and they're perfect. Pull them out and throw in a pile of mushrooms with a splash of wine and cognac to deglaze. They'll cook down in about 3 minutes. You'll never go out for steak again.

                  2. re: DC Gal

                    The McDonalds is actually down the street a bit, not right next door. The restaurant was definitely Bobby Vans, though; it's right across from my office.