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Another Steak Post - Recs for downtown DC?

  • z

Hi there! I need a nice steak place to take an out-of-town friend - he's on an expense account and likes good wine. I've narrowed it down to these places, but I've never been to any of them! Are any of these personal favorites for anyone?

Smith and Wollensky
Ruth's Chris
The Prime Rib

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    1. Did you omit The Palm, Capital Grille and Charlie Palmer's for a reason?

      1. The Prime Rib would be my recommendation as well. Another to consider is the Caucus Room.

        1. Perhaps Ray's The Steaks in friendly Rosslyn would be a better choice. It is local and not part of a national chain, so it offers something that is only done in this area. Of the chains, I prefer The Palm because out-of-towners might be enthralled by the political portraits that line the walls.

          1. The Prime Rib is easily the best steak house in DC for food, service, wine list and ambiance.

            The Capital Grill and the Caucus Room are good, but "also rans" in my opinion. The Palm does get a good share of pols and newsmakers, but they treat everyone else like crap. Morton's is like eating in a hotel lobby. Smith and Wollensky is a glorified beer bar. Ruth Chris is a small step above Outback. The Chophouse is a Verizon Arena concession stand. Charlie Palmer is a lobbyist cafateria. And despite a few rabid fans, and its unique place in the DC dining community, Rays the Steak is simply not in the same league as most of the DC steak houses

            1. How about Sam & Harry's? It's a local chain and I've found it extremely consistent.

              1. "Rays the Steak is simply not in the same league as most of the DC steak houses." That's for sure. It's much, much better than the rest -- and at a lower price point. Your money is spent on what goes on the plate.

                Having said that, I should caution that I frequent steak houses much less often than Pappy, in part because -- with the exception of Ray's -- I virtually never come away thinking that my money wouldn't be better spent elsewhere.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MartyL

                  Sorry...I would agree that Ray's offers the best value, but it is absolutely, positively not as good as the Prime Rib. Also, if you are looking for a classic "steak house experience," Ray's isn't going to give it to you...which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I would choose Ray's over many of the leading steak options in this area, but when money is no object, it's Prime Rib and then everybody else as far as I'm concerned.

                  If you want an excellent steak at a bargain price in a casual, somewhat cramped and noisy atmosphere, go to Ray's. If you want a steak that your friend will go home talking about and money is no object, go to Prime Rib. Just be advised, jacket is required for men...its that kind of place.

                  1. re: Lowbar

                    Agree 100% with Lowbar's post. The only thing I'll add is that unless things have changed, a jacket AND tie is required at the DC location for dinner. Dress code link below. It says business casual before 5 pm and the DC Prime Rib NEVER had that in the past, so maybe the tie policy is changed as well. Their Yellow Pages ad always said "Jacket and Tie, of course"




                2. If you're on an expense account, go try BLT Steak. just opened recently on H St. (or I St.) average price seems to be around $40 an entree.

                  1. Thanks everyone! It looks like the Prime Rib would be the safest way to go, consistency-wise (I omitted The Palm, Capital Grille and Charlie Palmer's only because I forgot about them). I've always wanted to try Charlie Palmer's, but I'm not sure I want to risk bad service - the group I'm going with doesn't exactly look like power players if you know what I mean. I think I'll try Prime Rib, and then if they don't have a reservation I'll go down the other ones you suggested.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: zaf12

                      I'm not a power player and I have never had bad service at Charlie Palmer's, just the opposite, it has always been very friendly and professional.

                    2. Prime Rib is one of the very best, but you will be required to wear a jacket and tie to get in.

                      Charlie Palmer's is very good, and has a great view of the Capitol. Very good wine list too.

                      BLT Steak, which I have not been to, is getting a lot of buzz and so far is being very well reviewed.

                      Ray's is not a place to go for an expense account dinner, they will expect you to be out in an hour and a half, it is geared toward the neithborhood and families, and while the steaks are great, it is not exactly "the steakhouse experience." It has it's loyal and rabid fans, but I'm not one of them. I prefer a more upscale place when I have steak. Besides, it isn't in DC. If you have to go to Ray's, go to Ray's the Classic in Silver Spring.

                      Personally, I do not like Bobby Van's, Morton's, Ruth Chris, or Smith and whoever. The Caucus Room is ok, but it can be inconsistent.