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Steak house in DC to rival (nearly) those in NYC

My boyfriend's brother, who lives in NYC, is coming into town this weekend to catch an exhibit at the Portrait Gallery. He's passionate about a good steak and - having lived previously in Chicago - has arguably been around and in some of the better steakhouses. We're trying to figure out a place to go in DC that doesn't necessarily need to "wow" but will leave him happily sated. Is BLT Steak here any good? Other ideas for a sublime steak dinner?

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  1. Ray's the Steaks in Arlington is my favorite. Getting a table could be a problem. When I used to work a couple of blocks away, I would walk over in the afternoon to put my name on the list.

    1. I second Ray's. What will amaze your boyfriend's brother is how a great steak can come reasonably priced, unlike the overpriced steakhouses of NY and Chicago.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rappel75

        Definitely Ray's. Arrive by 5 p.m. hungry.

      2. Get to Rays about 415pm. Put your name in, and then eat at 5pm, early. If you don't care about ambiance you'll love it. If you do, don't go there, go to the Capital Grille across from the capital!

        1 Reply
        1. re: stever500

          5th Rays and don't think it is rushed or rundown, just busy and minimalist, if he wants exquisite pampering not for him, if he wants the best steak in DC is for him, and happens to be in a stripmall with some awesome eats, not just a stripmall.

        2. If cheap, loud, crowded and rushed in a rundown Arlington, VA strip mall is what you are looking for, then Rays the Steak is perfect.

          If civilized dining is more to your liking, I recommend The Prime Rib for ambiance, and Capital Grill at 6th and Penn for food and Capital Hill proximity. Neither are as good as New York's best, but your guest will be very content.

          BLT, Charlie Palmer and Bobby Van's are all terrible.

          1. Rays is the place for a good steak, no frills. For a fancy steakhouse I would choose (in order) The Prime Rib, The Palm, Capital Grille & Charlie Palmer over BLT. Men need a jacket and tie at The Prime Rib. Even tho NYC has two Palms and a Capital Grill, the DC branches have a uniquely DC vibe.

            1. How is BLT downtown. The menu looks good.

              1. am i the last person on earth to have Ruth Chris in her top 5?? We even saw Emeril happily dining at the one in Fairfax last weekend, so i KNOW it can't be that bad! :) Their service is fantastic, beautiful dining area, nice wine menu... yes it's pricey but that's why we only go once or twice a year.

                I still need to get to RTS b/c i do hear that their steaks ARE superior, and i am as much about the meat as I am the atmosphere, and would certainly sacrifice the latter if the former is as fantastic as everyone says RTS is.

                12 Replies
                1. re: Aphioni

                  If you go on a nice day, buy a bottle of wine and wait in the patio outside before dinner. Makes the dinner wait fun.

                  And yes, it is just a hall with some tables but the food is amazing. I highly recommend getting the scallops appetizer. We had the Chateaubriand last time and it was excellent.

                  1. re: Aphioni

                    Q: "am i the last person on earth to have Ruth Chris in her top 5??"

                    A: Yes.

                    1. re: Pappy

                      why why why??! what am i missing? ok i will make the prime rib and RTS priorities- any other places out there- referably in NoVa that will knock Ruth Chris off their pedestal in my palate...? :)

                      1. re: Aphioni

                        I think Ruth is excellent (not as good as Ray's though). Perhaps it loses its appeal to some due to the fact it is a chain.

                        1. re: Aphioni

                          There are 10 steakhouses just in Tysons (listed in link). You should try them all (exceptt maybe JR Stockyard and Chima) and decide for yourself whether they're good or not. Ruth's Chris is good but I still prefer Rays.


                      2. re: Aphioni

                        You probably really like the butter... I don't like it for that reason, but if you like the butter than I can see how it would be up there, I mean butter is good.

                        1. re: ktmoomau

                          you are right- i DO like the butter. i'm a nebraskan: beef, butter, cheese and potatoes- i should be from Wiscinsin! lol but i love the flavor, and the fork tender cuts we can count on there. i am into the atmosphere as well, but will clear a midweek night for RTS in the very near future...

                          1. re: Aphioni

                            Hahahha well you really should try Ray's but if you like the butter than Ruth Chris is your place. As a southern girl I should like butter on and in anything really, but I grew up on a beef farm learning good beef didn't need anything, except maybe cooked, just a lil. I have weened myself off so much butter in stuff, plus after growing up eating real homemade butter it is easier not to eat the stuff around here.

                            If you like the butter maybe try the Ray's steak with one of the sauces, I forget the ones name that I really like, but it is a cream sauce with cognac or brandy I think. It is all about what you enjoy so if butter is what you prefer hey go for it, more room at Rays for me ;) ;)

                            1. re: ktmoomau

                              i don't know that i PREFER it so much as enjoy it. i can appreciate a good piece of beef with no frills or sauce as well- i guess i just haven't HAD that yet in this area. but soon...soon! i do enjoy the sauce you are talking about- likely au poivre made with brandy...? but i will try a naked steak to see if it meets/exceeds the Omaha standards on goood beef! :)

                              1. re: Aphioni

                                I can't wait for your report, you have to report back here. Rays is my favorite steak, and my Fiance thinks that is a big deal coming from a beef farm girl, but we never got to keep the good cuts of meat, I got those when we went out, and since I had so much beef at home, I often didn't get it out. I haven't eaten it at some of the really big name places, so I don't think I have the most credible opinion on beef, but he seems to think so, which is sweet. But let me know how it compares to Omaha standards. Yeah I think it is an au poivre made with brandy, it's good. All this talk is making me hungry for steak...

                                1. re: Aphioni

                                  You're not alone. Washingtonian readers rated:

                                  Best Steakhouse

                                  1. Ray’s the Steaks, Arlington. There’s a line outside this bare-bones dining room for a reason. Two words: hanger steak.

                                  2. Tie: Ruth’s Chris Steak House (three area locations) and Morton’s (six). Both chains offer manly portions and professional service.

                                  3. Charlie Palmer Steak, Capitol Hill. A lobbyist favorite that’s popular for more than just Angus and Wagyu.

                                  1. re: Aphioni

                                    i like R.C. ok. I'm not a huge red meat fan as i said below but have found their filets to be quite tasty. i like the salads, sides & wine too.

                          2. One place that hasn't been mentioned yet is Fogo de Chao. It's a high-quality churrascaria and it's very good. I guarantee your friend will leave sated.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jaydreb

                              true but they're not unique to DC and the food isn't comparable to high end steakhouses.

                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                True, but a lot of the other places being mentioned (Palm, BLT, Capital Grille, Ruth's Chris) aren't unique to DC either.

                                1. re: jaydreb

                                  cause we're wondering off the original topic. :)

                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                    Yep. If the criteria is strictly (1) unique to DC and (2) top steakhouse quality food, then I think the only answer is Rays. (Perhaps Cap Grille as well since it's kind of a DC institution.)

                            2. i like Capital Grill for the trifecta -- really good food, service, & atmosphere. Valet parking too. Although i'm not a 'real' red meat afficionado, hubby is and he loved it.