We had roughly our fourth meal last night at BLT and, with a few service exceptions, the place is performing at a quality level that puts it one notch above some of the more traditional steak places in town i.e Caucus Room, 701, Prime Rib, etc - let alone the middling chains of Ruth Chris and Morton's.
While the staff can seem overwhelmed at times and the atmosphere very hustle-bustle (in keeping with NYC roots), the service last night was the best of our four visits. While it took a little too long to get our sommelier's attention, the service smoothed out quickly from there. Our server was quick, professional, and had reasonable knowledge of the menu. While on the subject of the sommelier, I will mention one complaint that while a fantastic and varied wine list - the choices below the $100/btl range are minimal.
As for the food, the delicious pate and popovers are reason enough to either skip or consolidate on the appetizers. This is especially worthwhile as I have found many of the appetizers to be underwhelming. The beet salad and ceaser are decent, but my wife's raw fish starter (can't remember exactly what fish) was terrible - this, despite the chef d'cuisine apparently having come from BLT Fish...? The beefsteak tomato salad looked and tasted wonderful.
The steaks, on the other hand have been uniformly of great quality and very well prepared. Aside from one fiasco evening with over-cooked meat for two of our friends, the kitchen hits well in its wheel house. The sides are not ambitious, but the stalwart dishes of creamed spinach, fries, mashed potatoes, and wonderful potato skins are quite good.
All in all, BLT has become one of our most enjoyable and dependable spots for a (admittedly, not cheap) meal downtown. Enjoy.
I'm having a hard time understanding why you place BLT above the more traditional places in town. Or any of dozens of places.
You had a "fiasco of a meal with overcooked steaks" (at those prices!) for your dining partners on one occasion. The staff "can seem overwhelmed at times." Last night there were still a "few service exceptions" but your server lived up to your limited expectation that he have a "reasonable knowledge of the menu." You forgive them the "hustle-bustle" atmosphere because they're from out of town. Your complaint about the wine list's prices is a very common one in town - along with complaints about BLT's prices in general.
Thank goodness you like the free paté and popover because you aren't impressed with the "underwhelming" appetizers" and the beet and caesar salads are only "decent." Your poor wife's raw fish starter was "terrible." The "sides are not ambitious," but that's OK - what steakhouse rocks the world with those?
This is your "most enjoyable and dependable spot for a meal downtown"? Tell me again. Why?
I tend to agree with some of the negative post on BLT, but many folks descriptions of "Steak" quality are all over the place. And I think they just want to jump in and "participate". Class seems to be in session here at Chow Hound U.
Seasoned DC area Chow hounds have grown to be very clear on what they mean by "good steak diner". Newer hounds and others may savor other quality.
Some of us favor the old line joints, the arena or show place steak house, others the minimalist but great food joint [ Ray's vs. Morton's/Cap Grill/Palm type thing]. But we all can agree on quality of the steak offered. Service & sides being considered part of the meal experience. And yeah, some folks think Logans / Outback / Longhorn is great. The total experience folks want it all to be working, and I agree, great cost should include everything. That is one part of the chow hound thing, the other is the CBG crummy place but great food item. BLT is a hell of a smug promise that is not delivered place, which seem to be popping up all over the area. Many will be sucked into the vortex and like many innocent folks at a carny believe they have been blessed to have found it. Then they pop up here to report. The Cheesecake Factory / Rain forest cafe / Olive Garden / Red Lobster / fill in the blank razzle dazzle places do make a lot of money and people do like them. So as usual we have the choice of ignoring their raves, informing them of different more distinctive chow joints, or informing them of their innocent chow ignorance. No matter which method they will search for those that are like minded, as do we. But some will, as I and many of you, venture out to see what in the hell makes this place so much better....Some will agree others will bemoan and wail out loud. That is what chow hound is all about. Still a free country. Again, BLT is a rip off.
"Many will be sucked into the vortex and like many innocent folks at a carny believe they have been blessed to have found it. Then they pop up here to report."
An interesting perspective, and probably more true than we'd like to believe on a review-format forum. I can't help but think that sometimes the between-the-lines meaning is "I can afford to have a $150/person meal and [choose one] enjoy it/complain about it." I read the reviews of the high ticket restaurants with some curiosity, but knowing that I'll never eat there. I'm still watching out for the good $5 lunch within 5 miles from home.
Does anyone have any info regarding the aging or quality of the steaks at BLT? Specifically, do they serve dry-aged beef? It sounds like the service and atmosphere strikes different people different ways, so I'd be much more inclined to give it a try if they serve dry-aged, prime steaks.
I cannot agree less. Service, ambiance, and food at BLT Steak are some of the worst in DC.
Frankly, I'd rather eat at Outback than BLT Steak. It is not in the same class as Prime RIb, Charlie Palmer Steak, .... It is not even as good as The Caucus Room and similar places. [PS: I wouldn't call 701 a steak place].
i couldnt agree more, i have been there a handful of times and it always very good. Its becoming one of my favorite places for steak in the city! Its definitely A LOT of food though. I always leave there bursting at the seems. The popovers and pate alone will fill you up. My wife and i like to order dessert every where we go and in the 4 or 5 times we have been to BLT we have never gotten dessert because we are so full!! ( and those little brownies they bring with the check are the perfect ending :)
Point noted about 701 not being "a steak joint" in as strict a sense as the other places listed. Less sure about your preference for Outback over BLT, but knock yourself out.
As for the beef quality, I am not 100% sure on the extant (if at all) of the dry aging at BLT, but I do know the steaks are Prime.
Here's the thing regarding the outback comment, for the price and value of this list, I can think of about 30 other places to eat who are doing steak as well. The coolest thing on this menu is the fact that they are carrying actual Kobe as well as Wagyu (and it's nice of them to not be trying to pass of Wagyu as Kobe). The prices are exorbitantly high though.