Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Jan 2, 2013 09:05 AM

dress code at DC steakhouses?

just found the "not about food" category so i thought i'd take advantage! the new boyfriend is taking me to BLT steak for my birthday and i'm not sure what to wear. nothing in DC seems overly dressy, so i think i have to keep the little black dress in the closet... but i am pretty certain the jeans/dressy top combo that works almost everywhere else isn't completely appropriate, either.

help! what is good for DC steakhouses? i'm a girl, but also curious with respect to guys.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In my personal opinion I think women are given a little more leeway then men when it comes to wardrobe. I know many women who have their $100+ jeans that are their "dress up" clothes.

    Anyway I wouldn't over think only true words of advice are if the plans change for any reason do not let him take you to the DC Ruth Chris (Near the Ronald Reagan Airport). One of the worst steakhouse dining experiences of my life!

    3 Replies
    1. re: jrvedivici

      I concur re: Ruth's Chris, but my dreadful experience was at the Bethesda branch. They should be ashamed at the horrible food and terrible service (not the waitress - she was fine and not responsible for the 75-minute wait for the mains). We called to ask them about dress code and they told us jacket-tie for men. We walk in and see two men wearing flannel shirts, one wearing a jacket and no tie, and another wearing a sweater.

      Downtown tends to be a little dressier than the burbs, maybe because people often go out right after work, or on work-related meals. The DC branch of BLT is "bistro-like" and more cozy and casual than are many steakhouses.

      The BLT entry on OpenTable says business casual.

      1. re: jrvedivici

        Wow...that's really surprising. Although Ruth's Chris steakhouses are not by a longshot, the best steakhouses I've been to, I've generally had satisfactory dinners at the 4 or 5 I've been to. Not outstanding, but pretty good food and service overall. I actually had a really excellent dinner at one in southern CA (Irvine) about 2 weeks ago. Having been to various RC's at least 15-20 times, it's hard to imagine hem serving a truly dreadful meal. Thanks for the heads up re the DC venue!

        1. re: josephnl

          I am very similar to yourself and while I agree not the best I've ever been to it has been a reliable name to look for when traveling. That ended with the DC location!

      2. I think Prime Rib is the only steakhouse that still requires jackets for men. Everywhere else it's business casual, which in DC means as long as you're wearing pants and a wallet, you're good.

        1. If you want to wear the little black dress, wear it. If anyone thinks you're overdressed, just let them assume you are on your way somewhere amazing.

          4 Replies
            1. re: mpjmph

              Agree...always better to be overdressed than under!!!!

                1. re: MGZ

                  For normal people not looking for an argument

            2. Have you called BLT and inquired as to what they expect and would be appropriate? That is what I would probably do if I were unfamiliar with the dress code.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Fowler

                That isn't always a good solution. You have to assume that the person who answers the phone actually KNOWS. I did just that with Ruth's Chris and was told that yes, gentlemen are required to wear jacket/tie. My husband will never let me forget that he was one of two men wearing a jacket and the only one with a jacket and tie. Apparently, by jacket and tie, they meant "anything in the closet." Because it included flannel shirts and sweaters. I questioned the hostess when we arrived about one hour later and she claimed not to have been the one who answered the phone, and then said "it is business casual."

                1. re: Just Visiting

                  Hi Just Visiting,

                  Did the men that wore flannel shirts and sweaters call and ask the restaurant Manager what would be appropriate attire or did they propose the question on an internet board for advice?

                  I tend to trust what a restaurant Manager will advise regarding appropriate attire.

                  1. re: Fowler

                    I don't know. I didn't conduct a poll. It would seem that either they didn't ask anyone or if they did, they got bad info or they got good info and ignored it.

                    You can't always be sure of getting a manager on the phone. Not to mention that anyone calling himself or herself manager at Ruth's Chris Bethesda should fire himself or herself for serving such terrible food and for the horrible service.

                    You apparently didn't notice that I mentioned that the restaurant itself stated "business casual" on its OpenTable page. I would think that would be the equivalent of trusting the manager.

              2. One is always treated a little better if dressing more up than down. I am also more comfortable, personally. For men, that means a blazer without a tie, but dressed nicely. I hate to go to upscale steakhouses (and I frequent many) and see men come in in shorts and t shirts, etc. I am not sure what this translates to for the ladies, but my wife always looks great.

                3 Replies
                1. re: steakman55

                  I am with you.

                  While we dine in DC often, we do not often do "steakhouses." Still, I have a blazer and often a tie. Wife has a black dress and jacket, usually with some "glitter." Just our style, and we never look back.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Agree completely. Not only do we enjoy dressing up a bit when we go out, I'm sure that we're treated better when we do so...nicer table, better service, etc.

                    I realize that I shouldn't let it bother me, but when we go to a nice restaurant and are nicely dressed, I hate it when we are seated next to someone wearing shorts, flip flops and a baseball cap!

                    1. re: josephnl

                      Anyone that wears their hat in the restaurant needs to be flogged anyway!!!!!