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Worst high dollar steak house experience

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Robert M Jun 19, 2006 10:42 AM

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.

  1. p
    Pappy Jun 19, 2006 12:38 PM

    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
      t
      Taco Moose Jun 19, 2006 02:57 PM

      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. r
      RL Jun 19, 2006 01:22 PM

      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. t
        Tujague Jun 19, 2006 02:04 PM

        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
          d
          DanielK Jun 20, 2006 12:23 PM

          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
            k
            keithdcil Apr 4, 2008 02:12 PM

            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
            d
            DanielK Jun 20, 2006 12:24 PM

            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. e
            Ellen Jun 19, 2006 03:42 PM

            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. d
              Derek Jun 19, 2006 10:37 PM

              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
                d
                DC Gal Jun 20, 2006 10:46 AM

                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
                  f
                  flavrmeistr Jun 20, 2006 01:20 PM

                  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
                    d
                    DC Gal Jun 20, 2006 05:59 PM

                    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
                      c
                      CK Jun 21, 2006 12:18 AM

                      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
                        f
                        flavrmeistr Jun 23, 2006 02:23 PM

                        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
                    d
                    Derek Jun 20, 2006 10:41 PM

                    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.

                2. d
                  daeglo Jun 20, 2006 01:33 PM

                  Ruth's Chris in Owings Mills off of 695.

                  Can't get a steak done properly to save my life.

                  They burn steaks at that location.

                  Been twice both times were horrible.

                  On the other hand, Fleming's downtown was awesome.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: daeglo
                    d
                    dineoutgirl Apr 4, 2008 01:36 PM

                    I have dined at several Maryland Ruth's Chris Steak House locations, and never had a burnt steak. The Pikesville location (you mentioned it as Owings Mills) happens to be my personal favorite. The food is always excellent, and the service is superb. I suppose you can get that at most fine dining establishments, but what really keeps me coming back was the fantastic recommendations of wine from the manager. Each time I dine at that location, the manager personally recommends a wine to accompany my meal, it’s a fine touch to the already fantastic dining experience. .

                  2. p
                    Pam Jun 20, 2006 05:11 PM

                    Ruths Chris in Fairfax. Both times I got the Ribeye both times ordered medium rare. The first time more like medium well and an off taste and I tried the mashed and scalloped potatoes and they both tasted off--I chalked it up to bad potatoes, others at the table agreed. Second time my Ribeye was cooked to the right temperature got the mashed potatoes again hoping for an improvement but nope same result-- weird plasticky taste, I wasn't the only one at my table to feel that the taste was really off. So I had a Ribeye for dinner and no sides-sucks you need a little something to have a full meal. Honestly I didn't think you could ruin mashed potatoes when you are paying that much for them, so as far as sides be wary and as for steak temperature good luck you might get what you ask and you might not.

                    1. r
                      Robert M Jun 22, 2006 09:00 PM

                      Ladies & Gents!!
                      Thanks for the feedback.

                      I've done almost all of em mentioned, except the Palm.

                      The best has been Ray's both for quality and price for great steak. Yeah, but sometimes you just cant get in when you get that feeling.

                      Other than that - buy USDA prime dry aged beef [NY strip or Delmonico]. [Eastern Market in DC / Wegman's / Other local butcher shops ] [Whole foods is not worth the trip / But Giant Eagle is great! ]

                      And using a webber, or other wood fired, or real charcoal grill to first sear then finish off the meat to the desired done ness.

                      [I've heard this is what Ray's cooks do too?]

                      Anybody been to Shula's? Sometimes i dont want to cook either!!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Robert M
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                        flavrmeistr Jun 24, 2006 05:43 AM

                        Amen, brother Bob. With a relatively modest investment in the right equipment and groceries, a really good steak is easier to make than a fried egg. I put expensive steak houses in the same category as nude dancing establishments--kind of fun, but you never seem to get your money's worth.

                        1. re: Robert M
                          c
                          Chownut Jun 25, 2006 04:18 AM

                          Been to Shula's once, in B'more. The porterhouse was decent, but nothing that b'more can serve is really up to par with what DC can serve with regard to red meat. Shula's also has a hall of fame type of board where if you can polish off a 64oz porterhouse, you can get your name on there.

                          On a side note, Costco, although not prime, does sell thick cut ribeye steaks. I've seen some at 1.5 - 2 inches thick, at the same price as the thinner ribeyes.

                          1. re: Robert M
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                            FoodieGrrl Apr 5, 2008 05:10 PM

                            I took my bf to Shula's for his birthday and we had a wonderful time. He's a big football fan and from Florida, so I thought it would be kind of a kick for him.

                            The food was decent, not quite as good as Capital Grille, but pretty good overall, and I have to say I got a kick out of the menus painted on the footballs. There was a presentation of what was available that day, like some steakhouses have, with a cart of the different cuts and a lobster of the size that they had to offer. It was a little weird to have a live lobster squirming around on the cart there in front of us, but it was a little weirder that the waiter kept picking it up and waving it around, making it squirm around even more.

                            Then, what was really odd was that the waiter who gave us the presentation never appeared again. Which was fine, since we had a wonderful young woman wait on us for the rest of the evening. She was sweet and charming, anticipating just about everything we could have thought of.

                            It was also the day before I was scheduled for some surgery that laid me up for several weeks, so in addition to celebrating the bf's birthday, we were going out for what would be the last time for a while. I had noted this on my reservation on OpenTable, and our waitress really took this to heart and took special care of us. She was really terrific, and I wish I could remember her name, because she was one of the best servers I've ever had anywhere. Given our other waiter's disappearance, I'm not sure that all the servers are/were that good, but she was really something special.

                            Oh, and the portions are massive. I think the baked potato was the size of my forearm.

                          2. d
                            Denise Jun 23, 2006 06:05 PM

                            I went to Shula's once. Nothing wrong with the food as I recall, but the obscenely large portions make it a place I don't want to go back to. Yeh, I know it is their thing, but would it really be so bad to have one or two items on the menu for people with normal appetites?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Denise
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                              elegantelliot Apr 4, 2008 01:46 PM

                              CP, i have had a few good experiences and then one HORRIBLE experience and i havent been back since.

                              1. re: Denise
                                w
                                WestIndianArchie Apr 5, 2008 08:01 AM

                                "the obscenely large portions make it a place"
                                Oh really?

                                *rushes to Shula's*

                              2. n
                                NYDCTransplant Apr 4, 2008 07:29 PM

                                For me the worst has been Capital Grille. My steak was totally charred and my sides were tasteless.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: NYDCTransplant
                                  d
                                  DCDOLL Apr 6, 2008 05:29 AM

                                  We loved Capital Grille! AND we were there on Xmas eve, a night when even the finest restaurants often don't have their A game on.

                                  Our worst was Sam & Harry's in Tyson's. i ordered the ribeye with the bone ( i wanted the small filet, but was almost ordered to get the bone in ribeye, more 'flavorful'). So i thought, they, this person knows steak, so WTH. Well, i told him i wanted it PINK. I said, whatever you call that, is how i want it. He said "between medium & medium well". I said ok, i'm not much of a beef eater but i do NOT like it red. So, you can guess what happens next...it comes out MMMMMOOOOOOOING. I was like, oh my, i can't eat this. I called over another server, because ours was MIA, and explained how i ordered it and asked if it could be cooked more, and he was like "Well, you KNOW if you get this steak, you can't order it more than medium rare". ????????? I said "i was told i could have it between med/med well, pink inside, yada yada. Well to sum it up, they took it back and supposedly fixed it, but the side near the bone was still mooing and the other half was burnt. It's been years so i don't remember exactly what was done but i think my steak was comped. Which really was small comfort since i didn't eat it anyway. Never again! And that goes for the S&H in town too. Never been, never will.
                                  Good experiences have been at C.Grille, Ruth's on CT, and ok at Bobby Van and Palm. Ray's the steaks had good food but a 'food barn' atmosphere which i just don't enjoy. Have yet to try the Prime Rib or CP.

                                  1. re: NYDCTransplant
                                    o
                                    observor Apr 6, 2008 12:36 PM

                                    I find that pretty surprising...I've heard nothing but excellent things about it.

                                  2. ktmoomau Apr 6, 2008 12:23 PM

                                    Worst was definitely Bobby Vann's. Best was Ray's.

                                    I have had nothing but really good meals at CP, though I haven't been there in some months now.

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